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Family Video, take one

Council agrees to rezone, but resists intended use

By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
NORTH LIBERTY– Developers hoping to build a Family Video store in of North Liberty might need to re-write their script, based on council’s recent dialogue.
At its March 26 meeting, the North Liberty City Council approved the first consideration of a rezoning request in an area known as Community Addition, next to the University of Iowa Community Credit Union (UICCU) on Highway 965.
The lot in question, owned by the credit union, currently carries two different zoning classifications, and UICCU applied for the zoning to be changed to C-2-A Highway Commercial in order to have uniform zoning requirements to work with.
The rezoning wasn’t the problem; it was the intended use with which council member Gerry Kuhl took issue.
“I know this is probably the right time to rezone this, but I am not in favor of it because I think the Family Video does not fit in that location,” said Kuhl. “I contend the credit union is a very nice brick building and think what needs to be in that area is a high quality professional building like attorneys’ offices, accountants’ offices (or) doctors’ offices.”
Kuhl recalled the council’s similar reaction to a previous proposal by the Casey’s General Store corporation to put a new gas station at the intersection of Highway 965 and Cherry Street.
“We didn’t like that, and this is kind of close,” said Kuhl. “I think this needs to be a higher quality area than what a Family Video would offer.”
While the Casey’s 2011 proposal fit the city’s zoning regulations, some members of the council felt a gas station was not the best fit for the quality of development in the Stonebridge Promenade commercial area across the street.
Last Tuesday, North Liberty City Administrator Ryan Heiar told the council the zoning request was consistent with that of the credit union’s property.
“It will have to abide by the same design standards as the credit union,” said Heiar. “You will all have a chance to look at that when and if the site plan comes through.”
But councilor Chris Hoffman was one who opposed the Casey’s proposal, and was of a similar mind with last week’s Family Video rezoning request.
“I don’t think it’s a good use. I hope there is something different that comes in there,” said Hoffman. “But the zoning is what is being proposed. I’m going to be in favor of getting all the zoning consistent. When and if a plat comes to us for what is going to go on the site, I will address those comments the same as we did with Casey’s.”
The first reading of the rezoning request passed 4-1, with Kuhl voting against it. The second consideration of the rezoning request will appear on the council’s next regular meeting agenda on April 9.