Metro Briefs

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

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City Council to discuss urban renewal

The Iowa City City Council will consider the first in a series of decisions to amend the urban-renewal plan at its meeting Tuesday.

The urban-renewal plan, which was established 1969, has been amended 11 times.

Funding will be discussed individually for future construction plans, including the Chauncey, a new downtown hotel on the Hieronymus Corner, and streetscape improvements on North Dubuque Street.

The Chauncey plans have been adjusted to reduce the proposed high-rise’s height from 20 stories to 15 stories. This comes as a move to reduce the building’s shadow cast over the College Green district.

City officials are still waiting to hear if the University of Iowa will make a bid for the property at the intersection of Burlington and Clinton Streets. The site is being considered for a new Museum of Art or a multipurpose high-rise.

Councilors will discuss possible street adjustments for North Dubuque Street in an effort to accommodate more outdoor café space and tree-planting opportunities.

Council to receive bids for new air system

Bids will be brought before the City Council for a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system for City Hall.

The city must review all possible bids and then receive city recommendation before deciding the candidate for new air-conditioning unit.

Engineers estimate that project will cost around $255,000.

Funding will be provided by the general-obligations funds.

Council to consider rezonings

The City Council will hear a second consideration for rezoning a Riverfront Crossings property.

The Planning and Zoning Commission plans to change the property of 629 S. Riverside Drive, formerly the location of Hartwig Motors, from commercial use to residential.

Emrico Properties LLC plans to develop a new 96-unit apartment building in the location.

The property was previously the commercial space for Hartwig Motors, which has since been acquired by the Deery Brothers Dealership.

Riverfront Crossings is bordered roughly by Riverside Drive to the west, Gilbert Street/Van Buren Street on the east, Highway 6 to the south, and Burlington Street to the north.

Councils will also vote on a second consideration for rezoning a North Side Marketplace building.

If passed, the location, 203 S. Linn St., would have taller building height limitations, reduced parking requirements, and be designated as a local landmark.

The first consideration was passed unanimously at the council’s last formal meeting.

Local contractor Michael Hodge has requested the rezoning, and he plans to open a new restaurant in the former location of the Haunted Bookshop.

Last month, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended changing the zoning code by a 5-1 vote, with Phoebe Martin voting against the decision.

City eyes Sycamore property

Iowa City will move to acquire property rights on Sycamore Street.

Plans are in effect to purchase property on the south city limits in order to reconstruct the street, making access easier to the new Alexander Elementary School.

Improvements will be made to the street and sidewalk as well as the storm-sewer system.

The project is set to begin in the spring of 2015 to finish in late July 2015; it will be financed by general-obligation funding.

Council to mull outdoor commercial use

The council will discuss outdoor commercial use in the Riverfront Crossings District.

A decision will be reached to amend that outdoor service areas are permissible in the zoning code for the district.

The ordinance will provide consistent conditions for commercial buildings and also define requirements within 100 feet of residential space.

Appropriate limitations on size, hours of operations, and lighting will be clarified.

Officials believe it is in the public interest for these changes to be made.

— by Paul Osgerby

Woman charged with robbery, assault

Authorities have accused a local woman with attacking an ex-coworker.

Laquita Coffee, 22, was charged July 7 with second-degree robbery and assault causing bodily injury or mental illness.

According to online court documents, officers were dispatched for an unknown problem.

The woman told authorities Coffee got out of a vehicle and started asking about money the woman allegedly owed Coffee.

Coffee reportedly told the woman, “Let me see what’s in your purse.” Coffee then allegedly attacked the woman, pulled her hair, and grabbed her purse.

The woman and Coffee were previously employed at the same workplace, the documents said.

Second-degree robbery is a Class-C felony. Assault causing bodily injury or mental illness is a serious misdemeanor.

— by Rebecca Morin

Woman charged with forgery

Authorities have accused an Iowa woman with cashing a fraudulent check.

Nicole Becker, 28, was charged April 3 with forgery.

According to online court documents, Becker went to Hy-Vee and presented a check, which was later found to be fictitious.

Becker was able to get $842.50 from Hy-Vee.

Authorities tried to set up an appointment to speak to Becker about the check, but Becker did not show up.

Becker was seen on a store video completing the transaction, and she presented her Iowa ID when cashing the fake check, the documents said.

Forgery is a Class-D felony.

—Rebecca Morin

Area woman charged with controlled substance violation

Authorities have accused a West Branch woman of picking up more about 2,000 fraudulent prescriptions over several months.

Angela Walter, 48, was charged Nov. 9, 2012, with a controlled-substance violation.

According to an Iowa City police complaint, on numerous occasions between April 13, 2012, and Nov. 9, 2012, Walter picked up prescriptions of hydrocodone and tramadol from the Hy-Vee pharmacy and other area pharmacies.

The prescriptions had been called in under the names of three separate victims. The complaint said authorities suspect Walter used her place of work to facilitate the authorization of the fraudulent prescriptions.

Walter is suspected to have diverted in excess of 1,500 tablets of prescription hydrocodone and an additional estimated 500 tablets of prescription tramadol.

Controlled-substance violation is a Class-C felony.

— by Rebecca Morin

Man accused of sexual abuse, harboring a runaway

Authorities have accused an Iowa man of kidnapping a 15-year-old.

Colin Brown, 20, was charged July 2 with two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and harboring a runaway against the wishes of the parents.

According to online court documents, Brown reportedly told authorities told investigators that he committed a sex act on a girl in Solon.

The incident happened on two separate occasions, the documents said. The victim was 15-years-old, and Brown is more than four years older than the victim.

Brown also told investigators that he drove to Rock Island and picked up the girl at her home.

He said it was done in the early morning hours without the parents’ knowledge or consent, the documents said.

The online documents said Brown lied to conceal the whereabouts of the victim.

Third-degree sexual abuse is a Class-C felony. Harboring a runaway against the wishes of the parents is an aggravated misdemeanor.

— by Rebecca Morin

Man charged with identity theft

Authorities have accused an Illinois man of using false identification to pay for medical bills.

Darnell Wilson, 34, was charged March 1 with identity theft over $1,000.

According to online court documents, Wilson went to the University of Iowa Hospitals and obtained services for a medical reason.

Wilson provided a Social Security number that was not his, as well as a false name, the documents said.

The medical bill was $1,798.44.

Identity theft over $1,000 is a Class-D felony.

— by Rebecca Morin

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