Group files lawsuit to stop Chauncey development


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Opponents of a downtown Iowa City high-rise project have moved their efforts from City Hall to the courtroom.

The Iowa City City Council approved Moen Group’s plans for a $53 million, 20-story building, the Chauncey, on Jan. 8, and a local citizen advocacy group soon mobilized.

The Iowa Coalition Against the Shadow, headed by Rockne Cole, Jon Fogarty, and Mark McCallum, filed a petition in 6th District Court on Monday appealing the City Council’s denial of the group’s rezoning request on city-owned land.

The building, which is being negotiated with the city and Moen, is to be built at the intersection of College and Gilbert Streets at a yet-to-be-announced date. If built, the tower would include 12 bowling lanes, a café, art gallery, two FilmScene theaters, a 35-unit boutique hotel, residential units, an outdoor movie screen, and parking.

The rezoning application was initiated as an attempt to stop the city and developer Marc Moen from moving forward with the project.

Moen, proponent Mayor Matt Hayek, and City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes could not be reached for comment as of Sunday evening.

Cole, a co-head of the Iowa Coalition Against the Shadow, said the group is arguing that the construction site lies in a transitional area between downtown and a residential neighborhood and cited the city’s comprehensive plan.

He said the group welcomes the development of future high-rises on land south of Burlington Street.

“What it comes down to is, is the city going to uphold its promise to the citizens of Iowa City?” he said. We just want to make sure the law is followed. We believe this is a critical issue for the long-term health of the city.”

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