Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Council may seek input on animal shelter

The Iowa City City Council will consider setting a public input meeting to discuss the construction of the animal care and adoption center 2014 project on Feb. 18.

The city’s previous animal shelter was damaged in the 2008 flood, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided the city with funds to build a new facility. The budget for the project is $3.1 million, with around $2.7 million for construction.

The city has outlined several goals for the new facility, including durability and sustainability, as well as meeting the city’s animal care and capacity needs.

Though the city has looked to make the plans as energy-efficient and sustainable as possible, the new facility will not be leadership in energy and environmental design certified.

The proposed date for the public input meeting is March 4.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council eyes rezoning UI properties

The Iowa City City Council on Feb. 18 will consider setting public input meetings for two ordinances that would rezone areas for University of Iowa facilities.

The first of these two ordinances would rezone 1.45 acres of property located west of Clinton Street and south of Burlington Street from central business support (CB-5) to institutional public (P-2) and acknowledge the UI’s ownership of the property. This property would be used for new UI music facilities.

The second ordinance would rezone .54 acres of property located at 109 River Street from neighborhood stabilization residential (RNS-20) to P-2 and acknowledge the UI’s ownership of the property. This property would be used for new UI art facilities.

The recommended date for both public input meetings is March 4.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council considers mailbox clusters

The Iowa City City Council on Feb. 18 will consider an ordinance that would amend the city code to remove distance limits on mailbox clusters and add ordinances to regulate the construction and placement of these structures.

The ordinance the council will consider removing is one that limited mailbox clusters to being within one block or 600 feet of the residents they serve. The proposed removal of this ordinance is in response to the U.S. Postal Service indicating it will no longer support distance limits of this kind.

The two ordinances the council is considering adding aim to make these mailbox clusters accessible and convenient for residents. The ordinances also state that installation and maintenance cost for these mailbox clusters would be the responsibility of the neighborhood’s homeowners association and/or the Postal Service.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council may move on police, fire projects

The Iowa City City Council on Feb. 18 will consider a resolution approving plans, specifications, contracting, and cost for the Police and Fire Departments’ heating, ventilation, and air conditioning  replacement project.

The project’s purpose is to remove and replace two such units. The total cost of the project is estimated at $147,000.

The proposed resolution sets the bid security for the project at 10 percent of each bid. It also would authorize the city clerk to publish notice for the receipt of bids for the project and would set the deadline for project bids at 2:30 p.m. on March 3.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council to ponder taxi policies

The Iowa City City Council on Feb. 18 will consider an ordinance that would amend the City Code to change policies on taxis.

The changes, which were proposed in response to a Feb. 4 meeting with taxi companies. The proposed ordinance would require taxi drivers to maintain manifest laws, require some uniformity of rate cards, require notification when a license plate number of a taxi is changed, eliminate taxi stands, allow taxis to be parked on residential streets, and authorize the city to suspend a taxi driver’s license.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council to discuss senior services

The Iowa City City Council on Feb. 18 will discuss a proposed resolution establishing an ad-hoc senior services committee to review city-sponsored senior services.

This proposal is in response to the council’s 2014-15 strategic plan, which included a new initiative to examine alternative approaches to delivering services and programs for senior citizens.

This committee would evaluate the senior services currently provided by the city, and specifically, the Senior Center, and ensure that the city is effectively meeting the needs of its senior population.

— by Daniel Seidl

Official outlines 1105 Project concerns

In a memo to the Iowa City City Council, Iowa City Neighborhood Services coordinator Marcia Bollinger described action taken in regards to concerns expressed by business and property owners in the neighborhood of Gilbert Court and Highland Court.

The concerns were in regards to the 1105 project. This project, which has been in the works since fall 2011, aims to renovate the building located at 1105 Gilbert Court to allow local aid agencies Crisis Center of Johnson County, the Johnson County Salvation Army, and the Free Lunch Program to work together from one location.

Though the agencies involved believe the project will provide great benefit to residents, area business owners were unsure. Several of these parties approached the city manager in 2012 with qualms that the project would cause discomfort to their employees and customers by increasing homeless/transient activity in the area due to services provided to low-income persons by the agencies. In addition to discomfort, this could cause additional issues such as increased loitering, break-ins, and trespassing.

After these concerns were brought up, the agencies and the city began holding meetings with the concerned parties to address these concerns.

After numerous meetings, the Gilbert Court/Highland Court Neighborhood Policy was developed to address the issues.

The policy outlines responsibilities of the agencies, as well as area business owners, to deal with any of the issues the concerns addressed. The policy was drafted and adopted by the agencies.

A newsletter is being developed that will present the policy to area business and property owners.

— by Daniel Seidl

Rettig to run for re-election

Johnson County Supervisor Chairwoman Janelle Rettig declared her candidacy for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors on Thursday. The democratic primary will take place on June 3, 2014.

“My four years as supervisor has gone quickly, but I am proud of the progress and accomplishments we have made,” Rettig said in a press release.

Rettig was elected to the board in 2010 and has been a resident of Johnson County for roughly 25 years.

— by Stacey Murray

A revised ICON will debut in May

An improved ICON site will debut on May 29 for University of Iowa students and faculty.

The Iowa Courses Online website will include a new interface and features.

The upgrade will be the largest since it was implemented in 2005.

Officials say it will be easier to upload content on the improve site, and students will be able to sign up for alerts when deadlines approach, grades are posted, or when discussions are updated.

Additionally, the ICON site will feature a more consistent interface.

Information Technology Services will host events to highlight changes and give students and instructors a chance to ask questions.

— by Stacey Murray

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