Residents near the proposed new site for the popular Magic Bus tailgating attraction said Tuesday night they are concerned about the noise, foot traffic and rowdy drunks the bus might attract.
But Magic Bus organizers say they want to work with the neighborhood to address those concerns, and they assured residents they run a safe and legal tailgate with security, a monitored entrance and cleanup.
After a 90-minute public hearing Tuesday attended by about 30 people, it’s now up to the city to decide whether to issue a temporary-use permit to allow the Magic Bus to operate on the privately-owned site in the 100 block of Woodside Drive, which is zoned residential. It likely will take at least two or three days before a decision is reached, Doug Boothroy, director of housing and inspection services for Iowa City, said.
The site where the Magic Bus wants to relocate, due to increased rent at its former spot on Melrose Avenue, is partly a condo parking lot and partly a private drive at the looped end of Woodside Drive, a few blocks south of Kinnick Stadium. The private drive forms an oblong-shaped area that the Magic Bus would use. Organizers would fence in the area and have a security-maintained entrance. They charge an entrance fee and have a band, and there also are beer kegs. The money raised by the organizers, the Iowa City Rugby Club, goes to local charities.
“It’s responsible and safe tailgating,” Rugby Club member Allen Miller said.
But area residents, many from nearby Olive Court, said Tuesday they worry people will walk through their private property to get to this site, which has limited access and is more off-the-beaten-path than the old bus location. One property owner said several of his condo renters have expressed concerns about noise.
Jeff Hendrickson, who is developing condos on Olive Court, said he worries about the neighborhood again becoming a destination spot for rowdy tailgating. The Magic Bus organizers can only control what happens inside their fence, he said.
“My concern is what happens outside that area after people have been inside the area,” he said.
But Jason Rogers, a dental student who has lived in a Woodside Drive condo for two years, said loud tailgating already happens in the neighborhood. He urged the city to give the Magic Bus a chance.
“It’s a huge Iowa City tradition,” he said.
The temporary-use permit was never considered an issue at the Magic Bus’ former location, 817 Melrose Ave., because that was a busier area in close proximity to Kinnick, Boothroy said. But this spot is more residential, he said, which raised the issue with the city after residents expressed concerns.
“You have a tough sale to the neighborhood and you can hear that,” Boothroy told Magic Bus organizers at the forum.
The temporary-use permit would allow the bus to operate for home football games, and it would have to be renewed each season, Boothroy said. The permit could be revoked by the city at any time if organizers were in violation of the agreement.
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