Tuesday, June 09, 2009

When a Majority Isn't Enough...

The zoning proposal presented to University Heights failed with three people voting in favor and two against. Due to Planning and Zoning voting down the proposal a super majority of four was required for passage. Just to make sure, the opponents turned in petitions making sure a super majority was required. There was an hour of public comment prior to the vote and I got up and gave my three minutes worth.

Counting myself 23 people commented. I was one of seven speaking for the proposal. Then the P&Z chair gave a majority report, then one of two commissioners voting to approve gave a minority report.

The councilors then put a motion on the floor and discussed. Three members spoke for it (we were pretty sure of two out of those three), one spoke against (again not a surprise). The councilor holding the deciding vote passed without discussing anything. He was also the last to vote when the question was called and voted "no." I think the opponents knew all along he would do that in spite of the fact that he seemed to shake his head "yes" whenever anyone speaking in favor was talking.

Today's local paper endorsed the proposal which I took as an ominous sign since many residents have a healthy disdain for Iowa City. My former English and drama teacher wrote a guest opinion opposing the project too. We are still good friends and tonight she asked if I'd be in a benefit variety show for the local homeless shelter. Of course I said "yes."

IF the developer doesn't have a meeting with the university scheduled tomorrow I'd be very surprised. If he announces next week he's dropping the contingencies and buying the property anyway I'll be able to say "told you so."

I promised my neighbor Carl tonight that, given he likely won't be around when we vote in 10 years to dissolve the municipality and become part of Iowa City, I'd personally remind everyone who was opposed to this project that is still alive that we could have avoided this. He was greatly cheered by that.

Not that anyone would want to read it but here is a link to all the correspondance council received on this issue:

University Heights City Council

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