Greek life at UI protests proposed change in city's zoning code

BY NICK HASSETT | MAY 03, 2013 5:00 AM

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Members of the Greek life community on the University of Iowa campus are protesting a proposed change to Iowa City’s zoning code, which they believe will prevent new fraternities and sororities from being built.

The change, which passed the first of three considerations by the Iowa City City Council on April 23, amends the city zoning code to better define rooming-house cooperatives, such as fraternities and sororities. Councilors passed the first consideration a on a 7-0 vote.

The amendment allows such group housing to exist within RNS-20 zoned areas, used for older neighborhoods in proximity to the UI campus, but it also spells out rules and limits on such housing.

Existing fraternities and sororities will be grandfathered under the new ordinance, but new fraternal housing projects in the zone that do not meet the new standards would not be allowed.

The Iowa Fraternity & Sorority House Zoning Protest, a group started Thursday on Facebook, plans to meet at the City Council's next meeting, May 14, when the next vote on the measure will be held.

According to the group’s page, more than 300 people plan to go to the protest as of Thursday evening. More than 860 have been invited.

One UI fraternity leader said the protest was about bringing the community together.

“We've been trying to build a house for a few years now,” Sigma Pi Sage Kyle Skinner said. “We feel having this would be a benefit for both the chapter and the neighbors.”

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