City receives more protests for rezoning amendments

BY KRISTEN EAST | APRIL 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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A slew of new rezoning petitions delivered to the city could once again delay the first vote on a set of highly debated rezoning amendments.

Iowa City city councilors will hold two public hearings April on two proposed zoning amendments. The first would establish the maximum number of bedrooms allowed in a multifamily housing unit in multifamily zones as three. The other would require at least one parking space per bedroom for multifamily housing units in the University Impact Area, where illegal parking has been a concern for the city.

City officials received more than 20 rezoning petitions for the multifamily housing amendment as of Thursday evening and roughly 50 petitions for the parking amendment.

City Clerk Marian Karr said councilors certainly have the option to delay the first consideration of each amendment.

"Petitions can come in until the public hearing closes Tuesday," she said. "The council always has the right to defer action. [Though] I don't know at this point — that would be a staff and council decision."

The city received more than 80 protests against another rezoning amendment that was voted on for first consideration at the last City Council meeting, April 3.

The first consideration of a rezoning amendment — changing the definition of "household" in the City Code — was delayed March 20 after city officials needed time to tabulate the protests representing more than 142 local properties. Yet the percentage required to impose a super-majority vote — where at least six councilors must be in favor of passing an item — was not reached. At least 20 percent of people affected by the zoning proposal were required to submit petitions.

Councilors are scheduled to vote on the second consideration on April 17.

Senior city planner Robert Miklo said the rezoning petitions for these further changes are no different from the first amendment voted on — 20 percent of those living in the affected area must be represented in the petitions for a super-majority vote.

However, Miklo said it's unlikely that councilors would defer their votes Tuesday as they did the last time.

"Not as many [petitions] have come in [as last time]," he said. "We're hoping to have them all tabulated at the meeting Tuesday night."

Councilor Susan Mims said the vote depends upon how many petitions the city receives on Tuesday.

"It will probably be the staff's call," she said. "They asked us to defer [the vote] last time. It would depend on if they had any last-minute ones delivered."

Councilors will hold the two public hearings during the April 17 meeting and are expected to vote on the first considerations of each after the hearings.

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