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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

City Council rescinds College Hill Vision Plan

The Imagine College Hill! Vision Plan was rescinded by the City Council, overturning Mayor Rob Green’s veto of thier original decision. Council members cited the plan to being too broad in terms of area covered and the number of recommendations.

Editor’s note: Noah Hackbart currently serves as the Director of Governmental Relations for Northern Iowa Student Government. 

At their Nov. 20 meeting at City Hall, the Cedar Falls City Council voted to overturn Mayor Rob Green’s veto of Resolution #23,366. This veto kept in place the Imagine College Hill! Vision Plan which the council voted in October on 4-3 lines to rescind. To overturn a Mayor’s veto, the Council would need a 5-2 vote, and with the previous vote over the plan itself at 4-3, this seemed unlikely. However, 1st Ward Council Member Gil Schultz changed his vote, previously for the plan, now voting to overturn the veto and rescind the plan. 

Before the vote, the community and Council members were given time to speak but little discussion took place. No members of the Council spoke during the initial comment period and some waited until after public comments. In his remarks, At-Large Council Member Dave Sires mentioned in regards to the plan, “It starts to get too broad and it will be weighed down by all the other insignificant things. I don’t want to call them insignificant, but all the other details that will have to be worked out” and “If we all look into just starting with the College Hill area, that will be the best for everybody.” 

3rd Ward Council Member Daryl Kruse followed with further discussion about his concerns over zoning terms used in the plan, the size of the area covered, and the number of recommendations within the plan itself. 

However, Council Member Simon Harding, whose 2nd Ward covers much of the area in the plan, disagreed. 

He mentioned in his remarks that, “I don’t think we should override the veto. I think we should leave the plan in place” and “We put it on the shelf for a couple of years and that’s what we told staff to do. If we only told staff to look at certain aspects of it, I don’t quite get the all or nothing thing. And correct me if I’m wrong, Kevin, we could just direct staff to look at specific issues from the plan? We don’t have to do the whole thing do we?” 

The vision plan included ways to rejuvenate the College Hill neighborhood, including making it more walkable and inviting new businesses. (STEPH STARK)

City Attorney Kevin Rogers asked about timing and Councilman Harding amended his question to include looking at specific areas. City Attorney Rogers agreed, explaining that it was at Council’s discretion. At this meeting, the resolution the Council was voting on was over the whole plan and City Attorney Rogers also explained this. Directing staff to look at specific portions would need to be a separate conversation or a council referral so further work could take place in committee. However, no referrals or recommendations to staff regarding College Hill or the vision plan have been made by the City Council during any of their previous meetings, leaving the future of the neighborhood in question. 

The Council is also in the middle of goal setting for the next term. Goal setting sessions are open to the public, but do not include public comment, and are held at the Cedar Falls Community Center on Main Street. These meetings are between current Council members and newly elected members to discuss the fiscal health of the community, visions and plans for the upcoming year, and for the new Council to express their goals and interests. While there is no video recording of the goal setting sessions, audio and minutes can be found at under the “City Council” tab. This is where City Council meeting videos, minutes, agendas and packets can be found as well for anybody wanting to learn more about the work of the city government. The last remaining goal setting sessions will take place on Dec. 7 and 11, both from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. In January, three new Council members, Hannah Crisman, Aaron Hawbaker and Chris Latta, including a new Mayor, Danny Laudick, will be seated. Outgoing members Susan DeBuhr, Dave Sires, Simon Harding and Mayor Rob Green, opted not to run for reelection.

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STEPH STARK, Head Photographer

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