Monona considers allowing rear ground level apartments in downtown district

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

The city of Monona is taking steps to allow rear ground level dwelling units in the C-2 downtown district.

 

The city council, at its Nov. 15 regular meeting, considered a recommendation by the planning and zoning commission to OK the use, and set a public hearing on the proposed change for the Dec. 6 meeting.

 

City administrator Barb Collins said a property owner brought the idea to the planning and zoning commission.

 

“Right now, the buildings are too big. No one wants to rent all that space,” she said. “This way, it might be easier to rent it to an individual.”

 

Currently, structures in the C-2 downtown district can only have apartments in the upper story, not in the ground level or basement. With the proposed change, Collins said apartments would still not be allowed in building basements, but units could be placed in 50 percent or less of the back half of the building’s ground level.

 

In order to build inside a building Collins said a permit is not needed, but one will be required in this instance.

 

“We are going to require a permit so we know they are putting in a unit,” she said. “They also have to get it inspected by our fire chief because we want to make sure they have at least two ways out of the apartment.”

 

In other items on the agenda:

 

•The council did not schedule a public hearing for submittal of an application for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Iowa Economic Development Authority for funding the city’s sewer improvement project along with a community needs assessment. According to Collins, CDBG is not accepting new applications this quarter in an effort to fulfill grants from the previous quarter. April 1 is now the earliest the city of Monona can re-submit.

 

“It hopefully should still work with out project guidelines,” noted Collins, who said the city hopes to bid the sewer improvement project this spring and complete it later in 2022.

 

•The council approved a certificate of completion for the Kwik Star Water and Sewer Utility Expansion Project, as performed by MB Construction, Inc., in anticipation of construction of a new Kwik Star store on Falcon Avenue, just off Highway 18/52.

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