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Iowa City residents and city planners discuss possible developments

BY RACHEL GREEN | OCTOBER 31, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa City city planners hope to use community feedback on two city areas to make improvements.

At an open house Thursday night, city planners prepared for amending the city’s comprehensive plan.

The comprehensive plan, according to the Iowa City website, provides a strategy for realizing a vision for the city and sets policies for the growth and development of specific geographic areas of the city.

Because of their location, the Civic District and the North Clinton/Dubuque District were left out of parts of the comprehensive plan. The Civic District is a 3.5-block area around City Hall, and the North Clinton/Dubuqe District is a 2.5-block area from Jefferson Street to half a block past Bloomington Street along Clinton and Dubuque Streets.

At the meeting, city planners asked Iowa City residents to give their input on the futures of these areas.

“We can use it to look more closely at these areas and provide guidance for developmental proposals over time,” said John Yapp, executive director and transportation planner of the planning division of the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County. “We want to spend some time collecting public input and digest it, and then we will forward all that to the Planning and Zoning Commission.”

Yapp, who ran the meeting, said the Civic and North Clinton/Dubuque Districts were not included in the Downtown Master Plan or the Central District Master Plan.

“These two areas are gaps between those two districts,” he said.

Neither the Civic nor North Clinton/Dubuque areas fit into the Downtown or Central districts because they did not have the proper property types within their boundaries.

The Housing and Inspection Services Director Doug Boothroy said even though there is no specific time given for when the developmental stages will be over, predictions can be made.

“After we get the input from here, we will write it up and put together recommendations for the Planning and Zoning Commission,” he said. “There’s a good chance that when this goes to Planning and Zoning, they’ll have a couple of meetings about it, and then it will go to City Council, and they’ll have a couple of meetings about it. So you can see it’s probably going to spill into next spring.”

Iowa City residents gave many opinions about what could be done to improve those districts.
Some ideas were adding bike lanes or changing the layout of streets.

Nancy Carlson, an Iowa City resident who lives northeast of the Civic District, said she would want to see in one of the natural areas in her neighboring district.

“I would like to see the Ralston Creek area developed,” she said. “There is a plan for Ralston Creek south of Burlington, and I would like to see something happen with that, so that it … becomes a point of interest rather than just a body of water running through that area.”


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