Revised development near Hickory Hill Park coming before Iowa City zoning commission – The Gazette

City staff recommends approval ahead of Thursday’s meeting

Revised development near Hickory Hill Park coming before Iowa City zoning commission

Rendering of Hickory Hill Estates, a senior living facility proposed near Hickory Hill Park. Developers have submitted a fourth version of the development. (City of Iowa City)

IOWA CITY — The fourth version of a proposed development near Hickory Hill Park — which already has more local support than previous versions that ultimately were rejected — will be coming Thursday before the Iowa City Planning and Zoning Commission.

The updated proposal for rezoning the 48.75-acre plot northeast of the park is scaled back from previous plans, and devotes nearly three times more land to the city park.

Hickory Trail Estates, a senior living facility, would be built on 8.85 acres at the southeast corner of the plot, according to city documents. The facility would have 120 continuing care retirement community units with a total of 134 beds.

The south end of the building would have a single-story structure memory care unit. The center of the building would be two stories and include the main entry, dining, common areas and administrative areas. The north end of the building would be three stories of assisted-living apartments.

If approved, the development is expected to be constructed and fully occupied by 2025, according to documents in the agenda.

Residents have opposed previous plans for the project, proposed by Axiom Consultants and Nelson Development, that included sing-family homes.

The development first was presented to the city’s Planning and Zoning commission in February and was shot down. The commission later endorsed a third version. The Iowa City Council twice voted to advance the plan, but then rejected it on a third consideration.

The most recent proposal does not include the single-family housing.

The remaining nearly 40 acres would be dedicated to the city for public open space and expansion of Hickory Hill Park. This would increase the park’s size by about 21 percent, according to the city.

The nonprofit Friends of Hickory Hill supports the revised plan, vice chairman Jason Napoli told The Gazette. Napoli said the group was “thrilled” upon hearing the amount of land that would be dedicated for expansion of the park.

“We were never anti-development for the residential section,” Napoli said. “We wanted the residential section of the development to be done responsibly and in line with Northeast District Plan.”

City staff recommends approval of the revised rezoning proposal.

Thursday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the assembly room of the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, 28 S. Linn St.

If approved by the commission, the proposal is scheduled to go before the council during its Nov. 30 meeting, according to the staff report.

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