Metro briefs

BY DI STAFF | JANUARY 21, 2015 5:00 AM

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Sex offender charged with activity violation

Authorities have accused a man of violating his restrictions as a sex offender.

Kenneth Orr, 45, was charged with a second-offense sex offender area activity violation on Jan. 19.

According to online court documents, Orr was seen at the Coral Ridge Mall near the skating rink and Iowa Children’s Museum.

Orr’s sex-offender registry states he cannot be within 300 feet of these locations.

Orr was aware of his boundaries and knowingly broke them, authorities contend.

Second-offense sex offender area activity violation is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

Council approves Dubuque pedestrian bridge

The Iowa City City Council voted 7-0 to provide $1.7 million in funding for the planned pedestrian bridge over 1-80 to be located on Dubuque Street.

The project includes the pedestrian bridge as well as construction of 1.1 miles of 10-foot wide recreational trail along Dubuque Street from Foster Road to the Butler Bridge. The new pedestrian bridge will be similar to the one currently located above the interstate on Dodge Street.

Council approves new parking facility

The City Council voted 7-0 to authorize construction of a new 600-plus space parking facility on Harrison Street between Clinton and Dubuque Streets. This vote also approved the acquisition of the facility by the city upon completion.

A third party financial institution will operate the ramp when its construction finishes in 2016. Bids by financial institutions were due Dec. 9 and are being evaluated by the city.

Council votes on second consideration of taxi code

The council voted 7-0 on the second consideration of an ordinance to amend taxi regulations to allow web-based ride-sharing services, such as Uber, to operate legally in Iowa City.

The ordinance gets rid of some of the regulations that were standing in the way of web-based ride-sharing services operating in the city. 

“We think the proposed code has good safety features we support that will help the public,” said Roger Bradley, the manager at Yellow Cab. “But instead of having two sets of rules for two different cab companies, why not have one set of rules for both?”

Bradley opposed separate rules for webbased services and traditional taxi services.

Web-based ride sharing allows users to get a ride and pay for it by using an app on their phone. One of the more famous ride-sharing apps is San Francisco-based Uber, now located in more than 100 U.S. cities and more than 40 countries.

The changes to regulations include city-issued identification cards for all drivers, elimination of the exception that allows non-office dispatching from midnight to 6 a.m., and destination rates must be flat rates from a location in Iowa City to a location outside city limits.

Metered taxi companies would be required to have a unique color scheme.

Additionally, the ordinance outlines particular rules for “ride sharing” that states passengers may share rides if they all get on at the same point and all expressly agree to share the ride.

Drivers will not be able to ask passengers to share a ride, and the driver cannot stop to pick up additional passengers after departing with the initial passengers.

— by Bill Cooney

Cottage tenant files letter

Will Ingles, the owner of the Book Shop, 608 S. Dubuque St., filed a letter Jan. 13 in court alleging the process of the Dubuque Street cottages lawsuit “has been so mired in layers of extraneous procedure and egregious mistruth that the honest truth of what should have been my prayer before the court has been nearly drowned.”

Lawyer Rockne Cole filed the suit on behalf of Ingles and Susan Hultman, the owner of Suzy’s Antiques & Gifts, 610 S. Dubuque St., against property owner Ted Pacha to seek an injunction. Pacha plans to rezone the properties and sell them.

The letter, made public Jan. 20, was sent to the judge one week after the court heard initial arguments in the suit filed by Ingles.

Ingles contends he was lied to about potential rezoning by Pacha.

At the end of the letter, Ingles asks the court to allow him to remain in his business until the end of the lease term, July 30.

The court will not consider the letter in its proceedings, deeming it improper communication.

Pacha, a local real-estate developer, did not file a counter brief  in the lawsuit by Tuesday’s deadline.

Calls seeking comment by The Daily Iowan to Pacha were not immediately returned as of Tuesday.

Cottages named most endangered

The two remaining cottages on Iowa City’s South Dubuque Street have been named by a statewide historic preservation organization to the most-endangered properties in Iowa list, according to a release from the Friends of Historic Preservation.

The historic organization is a partner to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which was created after national legislation in 1949.

Each year a list of the most endangered properties that can be considered historic is released.

The cottages were under discussion in a public hearing late Tuesday evening at an Iowa City City Council meeting.

It was the first consideration of historic-landmark status for the two remaining cottages.

The cottages were built as working-class housing south of downtown after a railroad line was built in the mid-1800s,, according to the release.

A current lawsuit is pending filed by Ingles and Hultman, who currently lease the remaining two cottages.

The lawsuit is asking for a temporary injunction against demolition of the remaining two cottages.

— by Nick Moffiitt

Pit closes after lease problems

The Pit Smokehouse has taken its final steps, and its owners have decided to close the doors after their lease expired.

The Pit, 130 N. Dubuque St., was open for 10 years before closing earlier this month.

Co-owner Duncan Prophet and his anonymous partner made the decision to close the doors in January because of problems with the lease. Prophet had wanted to change the lease to having only his name on it, but the two ran out of time before the lease expired.

Prophet did not want to continue with both names on the lease.

Prophet and his partner both declined to comment. The building’s real-estate agent Ryan O’Leary served as their spokesman.

“It’s sad to see them go,“ O’Leary said. “But we wish them the best if they relocate to another center … Prophet’s partner had left the Pit a few years ago in order to tend to other obligations.”

There is a chance that Prophet will either open at a new location or start a catering service.

O’Leary had said that the location has had many prospective buyers.

— by Hanna Beary

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