Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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City Council approves HVAC replacement

The Iowa City City Council passed a resolution approving plans, specifications, contracting, and costs for the Police and Fire Departments’ heating, ventilation, and air conditioning replacement project at a Tuesday Meeting.

The resolution passed with a vote of 7-0.

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

The 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 OKs departments’ merger

The Iowa City City Council considered Tuesday an ordinance that would merge the Planning and Community Development and Housing and Inspections Services Department into a single Neighborhood and Development Services Department.

The first consideration passed 7-0.

The proposed ordinance would remove the director of planning and communication development office and director of housing and inspection services offices. The ordinance would replace them with the director of neighborhood and development services position.

This change could potentially aid the city by improving internal and external communications and streamlining workflow procedures, according to a letter sent to the council by City Manager Tom Markus. This will also allow for a more comprehensive approach to the city council’s strategic plan of healthy neighborhoods and enhance resources dedicated toward economic development.
Though the merger will lead to many day-to-day changes for employees, it would not result in any layoffs, Markus said.

These new positions would be filled internally by the city, Markus said.

Though there may be some cost to the city as a result of these changes, there is enough flexibility in the current budget to satisfy this need.

If approved, Markus said he aims to have the new department organized by July 1.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council schedules meeting on UI rezoning

The Iowa City City Council voted Tuesday to set public input meetings for two ordinances that would rezone areas for University of Iowa facilities.

The rezoning was passed with a 7-0 vote.

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).

The second ordinance would rezone .54 acres of property located at 109 River St. from neighborhood stabilization residential (RNS-20) to (P-2). Both rezonings will acknowledge the UI owns the property. The UI intends to use the area for new music and arts facilities.

The date for both public input meetings is March 4.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council moves on taxi ordinance

The Iowa City City Council considered an ordinance Tuesday that would amend the City Code to change policies on taxis.

The first consideration passes 6-1, with Councilor Jim Throgmorton casting the dissenting vote.
He said he voted no because there was a lack of public input.

“I doubt that there are more than five people in the city that even have a clue that we are considering these regulations,” he said.

The proposed ordinance, which was proposed in response to a Feb. 4 meeting with taxi companies, 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

Man accused of striking his daughter

A local man has been accused of striking his 5-year-old daughter in the face.

Israel Acevedo-Joaquin Joaquin, 26, was charged March 22, 2012, with child endangerment/bodily injury.

According to an Iowa City police complaint, Acevedo-Joaquin’s 5-year-old daughter climbed onto his bed. She began playing with her younger sister and did not touch, mess with, or try to wake up Acevedo-Joaquin, the complaint said.

He was turned away from the girl while lying on the bed. He allegedly swung his arm and hand backward and struck her in the face. Her nose started to bleed, and a large abrasion was visible across her cheek, the complaint said.

The girl arrived at school with blood on her clothing and told several staff members that her father had hit her, the complaint said.

Child endangerment with bodily injury is a Class-D felony.

— by Rebecca Morin

Man allegedly steals iPhones

A North Liberty man has been accused of stealing two iPhones.

Jonathan Gordon, 31, was charged Jan. 19 with second-degree theft and possession of a controlled substance.

According to an Iowa City police complaint, police officials responded to 504 E. Burlington St. after receiving a report of a stolen iPhone 5s, which was valued at $710. The victim reportedly identified Gordon as the individual who took the iPhone.

After activating a warning sound on the victim’s phone, Gordon was found to have the phone in his possession, the complaint said. Gordon was also found with a second iPhone 5s, which was also valued at $710. The second iPhone was also stolen, the complaint said.

The second iPhone was returned to its original owner, and the victim described Gordon as the individual that stole the phone, the complaint said.

Once Gordon was in custody, officials allegedly found a clear plastic bag containing 14 grams of marijuana inside his left coat pocket, the complaint said. Gordon reportedly admitted to providing a friend with money so they could jointly purchase the marijuana, the complaint said.

Second-degree theft is a Class-D felony. Possession of a controlled substance is an aggravated misdemeanor.

— by Rebecca Morin

Council approves mailbox ordinance

The Iowa City City Council voted Tuesday to 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 consideration was approved by a vote of 7-0.

The original ordinance limited mailbox clusters to being within one block or 600 feet of the residents it serves. The 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 considered ordinances the council considered 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.

This amendment would not affect existing subdivisions.

— by Daniel Seidl

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