Iowa City City Council approves contentious Mormon Trek Boulevard, Dane Road rezoning

The Iowa City City Council voted to rezone land adjacent to an Iowa City family’s farm on Tuesday night.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague looks at a laptop during a Iowa City City Council meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

Isabelle Foland, News Reporter

The Iowa City City Council approved a rezoning ordinance on Tuesday night, leaving a local Iowa City family feeling disappointed. 

The council approved the rezoning of land into potential commercial developments located between Mormon Trek Boulevard and Dane Road, which the Dane family of Iowa City spoke in opposition to at previous council meetings. 

The council voted 6-1 in favor of the rezoning, with Councilor Pauline Taylor in opposition.

According to a staff report, the applicant for the rezoning still has to decide on a specific type of development, but the kind of developments that typically occur in the proposed zone include businesses that typically feature outdoor displays, such as car dealerships. 

During the meeting, the Dane family spoke of several concerns they had with the rezoning, all involving their family’s future plans to build a community park on land adjacent to the proposed rezoned land. 

Their main concerns included increased light and noise pollution and obstruction of the area’s scenic views that they believe would be brought on by any new commercial developments adjacent to the land.

At the meeting, Taylor agreed with the concerns the Dane family brought up to the council and said the land’s current zoning is more appropriate and conducive to future park plans.

“Our Strategic Plan calls for us as a city to provide high-quality open space for members of our community. You can’t find much more high quality than this space, as has been mentioned,” Taylor said. “It would be a shame to taint this beautiful vista with intensive commercial growth.”

The other councilors said they spent a lot of time considering their decision but felt it was necessary to rezone the land to benefit the future of Iowa City by bringing in revenue and traffic to the area with new commercial developments.

Councilor Laura Bergus said while she understands where the Dane family is coming from, she wants the community to know that the park will still be able to happen in the future, and the city has regulations in place to ensure commercial developments are not nuisances to the neighborhoods that surround them.

“This is not an easy decision. There’s obviously a lot of incredible legacy and concern and care for the area,” Bergus said. “But I really think that having an adjacent property owner along one edge veto a use that otherwise appears to be fully compliant with our [Comprehensive] Plan and our zoning code just wouldn’t be the right call.”