SYCAMORE, L.L.C. and LAKE CALVIN PROPERTIES, L.L.C., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
CITY COUNCIL OF IOWA CITY, Defendant-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Kevin
owners of property appeal from the district court ruling
annulling their writ of certiorari challenging the legality
of the decision denying their application to have their
property rezoned. AFFIRMED.
S. Tarr of Pugh Hagan Prahm PLC, Coralville, for appellants.
Elizabeth J. Craig (until withdrawal) and Sara Greenwood
Hektoen, Iowa City, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
L.L.C. and Lake Calvin Properties, L.L.C. appeal the district
court's ruling annulling their writ of certiorari
challenging the City Council of Iowa City's denial of
their application to rezone 42.01 acres of property. On
appeal, the landowners maintain the district court erred in
concluding (1) the City Council did not incorrectly apply the
law in denying their application for rezoning and (2) the
Council's decision is supported by substantial evidence
in the record.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
42.01 acres at issue here were annexed by the City of Iowa
City in 1994 as part of the 422-acre tract of land owned by
Sycamore Farms Company. The parcel of land lies in what Iowa
City has categorized as the South District. Before the
annexation, Iowa City and Sycamore Farms entered into a
Conditional Zoning Agreement (CZA). The CZA states, in part,
[Sycamore Farms] has requested the City to annex and rezone
approximately 422 acres of land located south of Highway 6,
east of Sycamore Street and west of Sioux Avenue . . . from
the County designation of RS, Suburban Residential and R3A,
Multi-Family Residential, to RS-8, Medium Density
Single-Family Residential, RFBH, Factory Built Housing
Residential, RM-12, Low Density Multi-Family Residential,
RM-20, Medium Density Multi-Family Residential, RR-1, Rural
Residential, and ID-RM, Interim Development Residential
. . . .
4. In consideration of the City's rezoning the subject
property from County RS and R3A, Owner agrees that
development and use of the subject property will conform to
the requirements of the applicable zones: RS-8, Medium
Density, Single-Family Residential, RFBH, Factory Built
Housing Residential, RM-12, Low Density Multi-Family
Residential, RM-20, Medium Density Multi-Family Residential,
RR-1, Rural Residential; and ID-RM, Interim Development
Sycamore Farms agreed "the development and use of the
subject property will conform to" additional conditions,
including taking steps to protect certain natural features of
the land, creating a conservation easement with part of the
land, giving the City fifteen acres to create a public
school, and more. As part of the CZA, Sycamore Farms was also
required to "acknowledge that the conditions contained
herein are reasonable conditions to impose on the land under
Iowa Code § 414.5 (1993), and that said conditions
satisfy public needs which are directly caused by the
requested zoning change."
September 2015, the current landowners, Sycamore, L.L.C. and
Lake Calvin Properties, L.L.C.,  submitted a rezoning
application to the City Council, asking for the parcel to be
rezoned from ID-RM (interim development, multifamily
residential) and RR-A (low-density rural) to RM-20 (medium
density multi-family residential). The requested rezoning
would allow for the development of 675 three-bedroom or 1000
one- and two-bedroom apartments to be built. In the
application, the landowners claimed that the 1994 annexation
of the land by Iowa City "was the subject of lengthy
negotiations" where the City and landowners "were
able to reach a mutual agreement regarding the
properties' annexation as well as their future
development." The landowners maintained the requirements
outlined in paragraph 4 of the CZA were "a series of