Why Does Iowa City Hate Height?
This week, a lawsuit filed by opponents of the Chauncey, a proposed high-rise building in Iowa City, was dismissed. The lawsuit had been filed against the Iowa City Council.
The proposed 15-story Chauncey project had already been scaled back from its initial 20-story height, after community opposition. This isn't the first time citizens have objected to a high-rise building in IC.
All of this brings one focal question to my mind:
Why does Iowa City hate height?
There used to be a practical reason: the FAA restricted building height to 150 feet, due to flight paths at the Iowa City Airport.
There have since been changes to those flight paths and the FAA restrictions have faded. This has opened the door to several proposals for buildings rising between 15 and 20 stories. Almost every proposal has faced ridicule, most of it concerning building height.
So now what's standing in the way?
It seems like sentimentality. Many residents of Iowa City like the small town look and feel of IC. They don't want multiple tall buildings rising up and changing the landscape and culture of their town. I can understand that, but isn't the true culture of Iowa City one of progress and modernity?
I think a city should have a good mix of old and new. Historic and modern. If these proposals were going to jeopardize a historic building or site, I'd understand the fervent opposition, but that isn't the case in most, if not all, of these proposals.
I just hope the residents of Iowa City will realize that in order to look toward the future, they have to eventually look up.