Added: Roswell Lacy - Date: 21.07.2021 15:43 - Views: 19129 - Clicks: 3440
The realities of holding in-person meetings came rushing back to Iowa City Councilors on Tuesday when many residents took the opportunity to criticize their government face-to-face. The most unique moment of the evening came when one constituent used his time at the podium to mockingly present a small golden trophy to Iowa City Manager Geoff Fruin. Dan Kauble, who never minces words at local political gatherings, used the last remaining seconds of his three minutes of public comment to pull out the engraved trophy and hand it to Fruin, saying: "He should be given an award for 'Worst City Manager.
Tuesday was a return to some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy for city leaders, who sat alongside each other and faced a member crowd at the 6 p. The crowd slowly dwindled to about eight by the end of a fairly routine evening of government business.
But many of them didn't leave before making their voices heard on issues like the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected police vehicle owned by Johnson County, a proposed Hickory Trail Estates development, and even city sidewalk repairs. Mohamed Traore, the chair of the Iowa City Truth and Reconciliation Commissionwas one of the members of the public who stepped to the podium and used his chance to address the government body face-to-face about some of the many issues he's been advocating for virtually the past year.
He said he felt it was imperative that he showed up to the meeting to speak about topics affecting South District residents and the Iowa City Catholic Workers Safe House and Shelter, because a lot of those people don't have the time to make it to meetings. Councilmember Pauline Taylor said she was a little anxious to get back to in-person meetings at first, but was glad to be back after the meeting got started and began flowing.
The Iowa City Council, like many other local governments, held meetings virtually last year using online streaming and broadcasting platforms like Zoom to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Six of the seven city councilmembers were present in a room at the the Iowa City Senior Center on Tuesday, a location chosen to allow for more social distancing.
Councilor Mazahir Salih attended virtually and occasionally chimed in to voice her opinion on agenda items and vote. Some reminders of the pandemic lingered. The audience chairs were pushed apart and some attendees wore face masks or kept them close at hand. More city council: Iowa City Council moves forward on development near Hickory Hill Park as some residents remain concerned.
Taylor said the council will meet at the Senior Center for the foreseeable future since it provides a much larger space than City Hall's council chambers. City Hall opened to the public July 1. Other familiar faces, like Kauble and Coralville resident Nicholas Theisen, spoke during public comment. Each was critical of what they viewed as a slow and inconsistent response to a military surplus vehicle used by the Johnson County Sheriff's Department.
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors recently asked the sheriff's office to consider an alternative to the imposing, military-style vehicle the county obtained in through a surplus program offered by the federal government since some residents have complained about feeling traumatized when seeing the vehicle deployed on city streets, saying it makes the scene feel like a war zone.
A military-grade vehicle deed for warzones is not suitable for use by local law enforcement. It undermines public confidence and trust in law enforcement and thereby interferes with the goal of keeping the community safe. Theisen said he doesn't believe Fruin should still have a job because of how police reform and the MRAP situation is being handled.
If I'm a little irritating to you all, it's because I'm sick and tired of you saying again and again and again things like, 'Black lives matter,' or 'It is so important you reform the police department,'" Theisen said. Geoffrey Fruin is reforming the Police Department to his liking. He is expanding police power.
While some residents voiced strong criticism during public comment, the meeting remained civil and no major disruptions occurred. When the Des Moines City Council returned to in-person meetings June 14, demonstrators disrupted the meetingcausing it to adjourn early. Angie Jordan, an organizer with the South District Neighborhood Association, also spoke during public comment to promote the final day of the Diversity Market on Saturday from p. The planned Hickory Trail Estates development narrowly cleared a second hurdle after the council deliberated for nearly an hour.
Some residents contend the plan obstructs the natural integrity of the nearby Hickory Hill Park in Iowa City. The council voted to advance the rezoning ordinance to its third and final reading. Councilmembers Salih, John Thomas and Taylor voted against advancing the ordinance over concerns about the development coming too close to the park without an adequate buffer zone of trees and how the plan uses a through street rather than cul-de-sacs. The land, owned by ACT, which lies to the northeast of the park, would be turned into a senior living center and a single-family detached residential project.
The 48 acres of land has acted as somewhat of a buffer of green space between the acres of Hickory Hill Park and developments to the east. Ann Synan, an Iowa City resident, asked that the council consider a plan that would create two cul-de-sacs, saying that would do more to eliminate traffic liabilities and preserve the integrity of Hickory Hill Park. She said she thinks the plan should more closely follow the Northeast District Comprehensive Plan.
Casey Kohrt, chairman of the board for Friends of Hickory Hill Park, said his group opposes the plan in its current form and also asked the council to reconsider. This is one of these places," he said.
He said, although they were reluctant to make certain changes to meet requests by the Friends of Hickory Hill Park and the planning commission, the developers did address ecological features, among other concerns.
Iowa City Councilor Susan Mims said she thinks in a perfect world every single person's wants can be satisfied. She said she has been involved in zoning laws for 11 years and sometimes projects like this get to be controversial with many opinions on what can be done. I think it meets the Northeast Comp Plan, and while it is not perfect I think it is very workable for that particular geography," she said. Taylor, who voted against the second reading, said she is not against development but has listened to the community members who have spoken against the plan.
She said she agrees with them that it does not follow the Northeast District Comprehensive Plan in its current form without cul-de-sacs and a more ificant buffer. It is a natural park that people have described as a respite from city life.
The third and final reading of the rezoning ordinance will come up at the July 27 meeting. Council could either approve it in its current form or vote it down to be reconsidered again by the developer and the Iowa City Planning and Zoning Commission.
He can be reached at GShillcock press-citizen. Facebook Twitter. Show Caption. Hide Caption. Protests disrupt Des Moines City Council's return to in-person meetings. As a result, the council recessed until a. Wednesday and planned to hold the rest of the meeting virtually.Looking for a Iowa City that wont end
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