Coralville moves forward with twin five-story buildings

Three people said they were worried the buildings would cast shadows on their homes

Gregg Hennigan
Published: March 26 2014 | 8:15 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 10:10 am in

CORALVILLE — The Coralville City Council Tuesday night gave its approval to a project that calls for two five-story buildings along Fifth Street, a project opposed by some residents who live across the street.

The council voted 5-0 to enter into a development agreement and to transfer city-owned property to 808 on 5th LLC, run by developer Blaine Thomas. It also unanimously approved the first consideration of an ordinance to rezone the land.

Thomas plans to build the structures south of Fifth Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues. Each would have about 18,000 square feet of commercial or retail space on the ground floor and four floors of residential condominiums above.

The site was a mobile home park years ago that is now mostly vacant except for a couple of buildings. Across the street is a residential neighborhood in what is the oldest section of Coralville.

Three people from two nearby households said they were worried the five-story buildings would cast shadows on their homes and did not provide an appropriate transition between the residential neighborhood and the commercial area to the south.

“Would any of you honestly say that you’d like to have this building across the street from your house?” Tom Hermann, of 801 Fifth St., asked council members.

He and others said they were not opposed to the site being redeveloped, but they thought three stories would be more appropriate.

Council members, however, said the project complied with development plans for the district and the community and touted the affordability of the proposed residential units.  Also, under the agreement the buildings are to be assessed for at least $6.6 million each.

Council member Tom Gill said he didn’t think any shadow effect was a big deal and regardless, the benefits would “overshadow the shadow.”

Thomas said no formal shadow study was done but an online program he used showed the shadow of his buildings would not even reach the sidewalks in front of the homes across the street.

The city owns part of the land where the buildings would go and plans to sell it for $1. Closing could occur by June 1, although there are still other steps in the process.

The city said it received several written comments from community members who support the project.

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