The Iowa City City Council debated possible environmental effects of a new clinic during a hearing on rezoning for its property location.
The proposed clinic would be located at the intersection of Dubuque Road and Highway 1 and would contain roughly 60 examination rooms and around 180 parking spaces. The clinic will be the future home of Iowa City Pediatric Associates, currently located at 605 E. Jefferson St.
While discussing whether to forgo third consideration on the rezoning, City Councilor Jim Throgmorton brought up issues previously raised at the last City Council meeting, including sustainability concerns coming from the clinic’s parking.
“I think the amount of parking is excessive for a building this size,” said Throgmorton, a UI professor emeritus of urban planning. “I don’t believe any other comparable clinics in the area have this amount of parking.”
Iowa City Development Services coordinator John Yapp said the amount of proposed parking at the clinic had gone through several changes since the plans were first submitted.
“The applicant initially requested more parking spaces, but we felt that it wasn’t needed,” Yapp said. “If it is determined that more spaces are needed in the future, the option is there to add them.”
More parking would be needed if customers are experiencing long waits at the clinic, Yapp said.
The amount of parking currently being discussed may actually be insufficient, said Councilor Rick Dobyns, a physician.
“This isn’t a new start-up. These guys are the longest established pediatricians in the city,” he said. “They’re going to be busy; if anything, their parking needs have been underestimated.”
Mayor Pro Tem Susan Mims said that parking was most likely the reason for the clinic’s location in the first place.
“The challenge is there’s only so much land in downtown and definitely not enough parking,” she said. “There’s only so many locations that you have enough space to put something like this — in addition to the parking its going to need.”
Mayor Matt Hayek said that the environmental effects would be minimal and suggested the Council make a decision on the issue.
“Where this clinic is going, there is already an existing structure,” he said. “There is access to city infrastructure like water and gas lines, and it’s on a bus line. I don’t see any opposition from the community on this and Planning and Zoning has given us a very thorough report.”
After the discussion, councilors voted 5-1 with Throgmorton dissenting, and City Councilor Terry Dickens abstaining.
The council then voted 6-0 in favor of the rezoning with Dickens abstaining. Dickens did not vote because he lives within 500 feet of the proposed clinic.