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112117ho-College-Hill-Site-Plan

This large residential-commercial development has been proposed for 2119 College St. in Cedar Falls.

CEDAR FALLS — City staff was asked to revisit parking rules for new developments after a public hearing on proposed zoning changes met with more resistance Wednesday evening.

Cedar Falls city planner David Sturch opened a public hearing at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on proposed zoning ordinance amendments that would define mixed-use buildings, define principal versus secondary uses for those buildings, and determine how many parking spots, if any, would be needed for new developments in both College Hill and downtown areas.

Right now, Cedar Falls doesn’t have any explicit requirements in its zoning code for any of those, which Sturch called “a gray area.”

Instead, he proposed writing explicit usage requirements into the code — but wanted to take ideas from the hearing, and from commission members, and have staff gather additional input before bringing it back.

“Should College Hill and downtown have different standards? Should we simplify the standards? Do we look at the building as a whole and apply a standard, as opposed to (parking) stalls per unit?” Sturch asked. “We want to take all these ideas to encourage development, and have them work in tandem.”

But Eashaan Vajpeyi, the attorney representing developer Brian Sires, who owns several properties on College Hill, asked why the commission needed to write new rules into its zoning ordinance at all.

“I would like to know why certain parts of this code are being changed now,” he said.

Karen Howard, planning and community services manager for the city, said although an overhaul of the city’s zoning would be completed a year from now, there were many new developments planned for downtown and College Hill.

“I understand it’s a concern now,” she said.

Vajpeyi, as well as Cedar Falls resident Dennis Bigelow, noted they worried about developers providing enough parking.

“If there isn’t a way for the customer to access the business, then it doesn’t make sense to open a business there,” Bigelow said.

Commissioners tabled the issue unanimously. Lea Ann Saul noted Sturch’s statistic on how other cities addressed their issues should not be his sole metric when bringing it back to the table.

“It’s not just what are other cities doing, but what do we want to do, because we are unique — Cedar Falls is unique,” Saul said.

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Multimedia Reporter

Multimedia Reporter at The Courier

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