Iowa City Hopes Zoning Amendments Will Increase Housing Supply, Diversity

Iowa City is planning ahead to ensure that housing supply keeps up with housing demand.

2 minute read

August 21, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

An aerial view of downtown Iowa City.

Jacob / Adobe Stock

The Iowa City planners are working on a set of proposed zoning changes to increase housing supply and diversity, presenting five potential zoning code amendments to a recent working session by the City Council.

Izabela Zaluska reports for the Gazette that the five amendments would accomplish the following changes:

  • Increasing flexibility for a range of housing types, including where duplexes, townhomes and assisted group living are allowed
  • Modifying design standards
  • Providing additional flexibility to enhance the supply of housing, including increasing the bedroom limit for multifamily housing outside of the University of Iowa impact area
  • Creating regulatory incentives for affordable housing, including density bonuses
  • Addressing fair housing, including creating a process to request reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities

Those five amendments include a total of 13 changes intended to improve housing affordability in the city. “One of the changes would allow duplexes and two attached units more widely in lower density single-family zones, instead of only on corner lots. Staff estimates this would allow up to 2,900 lots to accommodate duplex uses through gradual conversion,” writes Zaluska.

Zaluska also reports that the proposed amendments are based on the vision laid out in the city’s 2016 affordable housing action plan: “The plan included 15 action steps, including changes to zoning regulations. The changes to zoning regulations is the only action step that has not been completed, senior planner Anne Russett said.”

More details on the reasoning behind the proposed amendments are included in the source article below.

Thursday, August 17, 2023 in The Gazette

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