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Davenport City Hall

The clock in the tower of Davenport's City Hall is believed to date back to 1895 or 1896.

Davenport aldermen on Wednesday advanced a proposal to overhaul the city’s zoning code, leaving one more affirmative vote in City Hall before the long-discussed rewrite is expected to be finalized next week.

The process to change the city’s zoning laws has spanned nearly two years, involving an outside consulting firm to draft plans and a review by city staff of the more than 40,000 parcels that’ll be affected. But city officials are still working through some kinks in the final days before approval, including several trailer amendments that were being added to the ordinance during the council’s committee of the whole meeting on Wednesday night.

John Corelis, who owns property on the city’s west end, raised a last-minute concern that changes to his land-use designation could “come back and haunt” him somewhere down the line. He asked council members to reconsider the changes specific to his land, prompting the city’s planning and zoning staff to work out another amendment to accommodate his request.

Other late changes have ranged from definitions for mandatory requirements related to dwellings to the procedure for mailing courtesy notices in cases of hardship variances.

City officials have long pointed to the revised zoning code as a matter that’s needed attention for some time, saying the overhaul could be an attractive tool for new developers seeking to come to Davenport and clarifying the intended land uses for current city staff members.

In other news:

Fire training building sale heads to a vote

A real estate contract to sell a city-owned fire training building was advanced to final consideration for next week, a move that’ll offload the structure to area contractor Hawkeye Paving for $200,000 less than it cost the city to build a few years ago.

Hawkeye Paving bought adjacent land formerly owned by Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, which the city had partnered with to get state grants for a burn tower that now sits on Hawkeye’s new land. The proposed real estate deal with the city-owned land and property was made in response to that agreement because the training center is on the far outreaches of the city and, without room to put the burn tower, it made little sense to keep the land, city officials have said.

The proposed deal would also allow the city to buy back the burn tower and hazardous materials training center from Hawkeye for $1 apiece. Under the contract, the city would bear the cost of moving the massive structures to another location by October 2020.

City Administrator Corri Spiegel told council members that Hawkeye has been a good partner with the city throughout recent discussions. She also said the deal could turn out to be a “win-win” for the city and the paving company.

6th Ward condo building met with opposition at City Hall

Residents of the city’s 6th Ward raised concerns over a proposed four-story senior living apartment building on the northeast side that they say is too tall, would increase traffic and doesn’t fit with the surrounding neighborhood.

Alderman Rich Clewell, who represents that ward, appeared to share some of those concerns, saying he didn’t think four stories was “appropriate” height for a building design in that area.

“It’s going to stand out,” he said of the proposed building near 58th Street and Utica Ridge Road. “There’s no doubt about it.”

Rob Davis, the vice president of operations with area contractor Bush Construction Co., attempted to alleviate some of the concerns brought up in the City Hall chamber, saying the site would house only a single property he described as high-end condos “designed to appeal to the affluent senior.”

The matter came to City Hall with a recommendation for approval from the city’s planning and zoning commission. It is scheduled to be discussed again by aldermen next week.

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