Missing Middle Housing, Form-Based Code Added to the Zoning Menu in Iowa City

The Iowa City Planning Commission approved a rezoning amendment that will allow new missing middle density and implement a form-based code for the city's South District. The city could expand the concepts as it expands the city in the future.

October 6, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"Iowa City's long-term plans to rezone and develop 900 acres of land in the South District have passed the Planning and Zoning Commission, setting the stage for a broader debate about new development with the City Council in early October," reports George Shillcock.

The Iowa City Planning Commission approved both an amendment to the South District Comprehensive Plan and an amendment adding form-based standards for new development. The former amendment also "follows form-based standards," according to Shillcock.

Supporters of the zoning changes "are hopeful these changes could be a boon for new affordable housing, population growth and development in the South District, and in other parts of the city in the future," reports Shillcock.

A previous, paywalled article introduced the concept of missing middle housing as an tool for housing affordability. Plans to add form-based code elements to the zoning for the South District have been under consideration for years, according to a July 2019 article by Zachary Oren Smith (not paywalled).

According to Shillcock, Iowa City could expand the use of form-based codes to unincorporated parts of Johnson County targeted by the city for annexation.

A separate article published by the Congress for the New Urbanism, published after Shillcock's coverage, also shares the news of the South District form-based code.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 in Iowa City Press Citizen

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