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“Kinnick House” nears completion, city looks to add regulations

A home replicated to look like an iconic football stadium is the sore subject in one city. Now, neighbors and some city officials are hoping to never allow another like it to be built.

The "Kinnick House" in Iowa City, located in the Manville Heights Neighborhood is nearly complete. From its archways, to the press box, down to the bricks, the home is nearly a spitting image of the historic Kinnick Stadium. On the garage doors are even photos of the players swarming the field.

"There’s a crowd on the garage doors that greets me every morning," Tim Happel said. Happel’s home overlooks the Hawkeye-inspired household.

As it nears completion, Happel said he has come to grips with his neighbor.

"I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. It’s an odd structure. I’m sure the owner is going to enjoy it to the fullest and we’re going to be good neighbors."

For years, it has long been disputed by the surrounding neighbors who did not want to see it built. There were petitions and lawsuits but the city said there was nothing to be done then to stop it from going up. Concerns brought forth by neighbors were that the home would be a party house and that it didn’t fit into the historical character of the neighborhood.

"For someone to move in with an odd house and not really think that it’s important to fit in the neighborhood I think is a mistake and I hope in the future it can smooth out," Happel said.

Now, neighbors and city officials are looking to the future.

"We couldn’t have anticipated that someone would have wanted to put a 7200 square foot structure in a residential neighborhood," Iowa City City Councilman, Rockne Cole, said. "Staff did not have the regulatory tools to prevent that."

Cole said he doesn’t want to see the same process repeated in other neighborhoods. In this case, neighbors had no idea what was about to built next door before plans were exposed. Cole is now working with the neighbors, gathering input, on how to fix the process. 

So far, an additional work session has been proposed by Cole to happen in December of January to work on future regulations. Cole said the city council is on-board to make changes when it comes to

"We want to trigger a process, or evaluate that so that the neighbors have more notice, frankly the council has more notice and that our staff has the tools to be able to do what they need to do to assure that our residential neighborhoods are for families of all ages," he said.

The home is owned by Decorah couple, Reed and Sandy Carlson. The pair plan to use the home for family gatherings and will not be living there year round.


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