IC officials asking county to deny American Legion Road rezoning

IC officials asking county to deny American Legion Road rezoning
KCJJ Staff

Iowa City officials are hoping the county will work with them on a proposed rezoning which they say does not fit with current development practices.

Claude and Adam Greiner have asked the county to rezone a little more than 11 acres of land south of American Legion Road near Wapsi Avenue from agricultural to residential. They’re planning to then divide that land into seven single-family lots and one outlot, with each being roughly one acre in size.

The plot falls within the city’s two-mile Fringe Area Agreement, meaning the county solicits comment from the city before making a ruling, though the ultimate decision rests with the county. Iowa City’s Planning and Zoning Commission has unanimously recommended against approval of the rezoning, a recommendation councilor Rockne Cole says he strong agrees with.

“I don’t like developments like this, I think it’s way too low-density,” Cole said. “I understand that potentially we are just advising them and we don’t have the authority to say ‘no’ necessarily. But I’m opposed to this.

“I think if we’re serious about climate change and we’re serious about good land use planning, I think we need to promote non-car based and – to the extent that we can – higher density developments. And this particular concept, in my view, is really out of date. We don’t do this sort of development even, anymore.”

The rest of the council, as well as city staff, is in agreement with Cole. They unanimously agreed to send a letter to the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission asking the rezoning be denied, saying it does not fit the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

But the county’s current Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map designate the area as residential, creating a conflict between city and county documents.

Danielle Sitzman with Iowa City’s Neighborhood and Development Services Department says the city is willing to work with county staff to come to some compromise.

“While with this area, the Fringe Area doesn’t even contemplate (how to develop it), in other areas that we do we would want to see a denser development pattern than simply large-lot development,” Sitzman said. “Again, the reason we have a Fringe Area Agreement is we have not planned these areas, we have not studied these, we have not developed comprehensive plans that would indicate what kind of development we think is appropriate. This is more of a placeholder or interim development situation.”

The county’s Planning and Zoning Commission has its monthly public hearing meeting, as well as a work session, scheduled for Tuesday. Sitzman says if the county disagrees with the city, a consult between the two groups will at least be offered under the Fringe Area Agreement.