Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The lay of the land...

Here is a map of our neighborhood. Our lot, is the irregularly shaped gold part in the middle. Our street basically is a dead end, the curve to the left onto Glencrest is really a path to the driveways of the two houses on the street, 7 and 11. The black area is not a road. but is a steep heavily wooded ravine.

As I said our lot is irregular. Here is what the lot was like in 1928 when Bess built. The yellow shaded area is now a part of 26 Prospect. Our house was the first completed on the street, 305 next door was finished shortly after. None of the homes on Prospect were built until approx. 1940. Originally this was wide open land. The yellow leg faces south and was Bess' garden. It was sold in about 1960 for one dollar.

Here's our latest dilemma: The house at 30 Prospect has just gone on the market and it's yard is a giant "T." I was contacted by their realtor about possibly buying the top of the "T" to add to our yard. The total area is roughly 50' by 120'. Their asking price is $100K. Since we would most likely use it as garden space, it would be very expensive vegetables. The owners of 11 Glencrest are interested too, as they would get an even more gigantic yard, plan to knock down the small rental that is on the site and build their huge retirement ranch home.

So as if we didn't have enough to think about with finishing upstairs, a new roof, extensive restoration, we now can obsess about spending a pile we don't have on getting a bigger yard. Hopefully we could buy a small portion of the "T" and take out the scrub trees on it that would allow for sun to come into the area.

The kicker in all of this is that due to our proximity to the University of Iowa football stadium, the current owners of the "T" were able to park about 25 cars back there for home games at, I believe, $20 a car for 7 home games, hence the high price of the lot. The realtor also mentioned that if someone bought 30 Prospect and the entire lot they could run a driveway along the east edge of 30 to allow someone else to build back in there.


Greg said...

Boy, that is something to think about. I don’t know which would be worse, the ranch retirement home shudder or the parking lot. What would be really cool is if you could get all the neighbors to go in on the purchase. You could make it a community garden, or just open space with access to the ravine for hiking. That would be a tough sell. Is there any zoning that restricts the lands use as a parking lot? Just a thought.

Mike said...

Restrict the parking? No. University Heights is a small (1,000 folks or so) surrounded by Iowa City. Since Kinnick stadium is two blocks away, much of everyone's life in the fall revolves around football. historically many U-Heights residents made enough in parking cars during the 7 or so home games to pay their property taxes. They couldn't pave the area, folks just park on the grass and tailgate. A new ordinance passed last year allows that if you park more than 10 cars on your property you MAY put a port-potty on your yard, providing that isn't put in before Friday at noon and is taken out by Monday at 9 AM. I think dividing the lot into thirds one for me, one for 30 Prospect and one for 11 Glencrest would be an easy way to do it, but still steep in my book.

I'll need to do an entire entry sometime on zoning in U-Heights, because there hardly is any. Most of the homes here are bungalows and Tudors that have been enormously enlarged in the last 5 years due to it's desireable location. A block away is what we refer to as the "House on Steroids" it's a cute little Gordon-Van Tine cottage that is now over 3800 sq ft with 17 foot cathedral ceiling in the front foyer. As a board member of our local Friends of Historic Preservation group, I will have my work cut out for me in making any change.