- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa City officials have denied a proposal to give landmark status to cottages that date to the 1850s.

At an Iowa City Council meeting Monday, officials voted 3-4 against a request to designate two cottages as historic landmarks. At least six out of seven votes were needed for it to pass. A third cottage that had been part of the proposal was demolished in late December.

“I’ve been suffering for weeks over this decision,” Mayor Matt Hayek told the Iowa City Press-Citizen (https://icp-c.com/1M9ff1K ). “It’s an unfortunate experience on both sides. It’s shameful that these properties have been allowed to deteriorate like this over time.” Hayek voted against the proposal.

The vote comes after an Iowa City-based construction firm applied in November to rezone the area where the cottages are located to create space for a block-long, mixed-use development. Plans include demolishing all buildings along the block, including the cottages.

After the proposal was submitted, an engineering company conducted a structural report of the cottages, deeming them dangerous for occupants and bystanders and recommending their demolition. This prompted city officials to order property owner Ted Pacha to vacate the premises and preservationists to seek landmark designation for the cottages, a request approved by both the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission in December.

But Pacha submitted a formal protest of the preservationists’ proposal to establish the cottages as historic landmarks, a move that required a greater majority of council members to vote in favor of the proposal for it to be approved.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/


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