Iowa City, IA, City Code

Updated July 17, 2018

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Table of Contents

Accessory Dwelling Units

The city’s zoning code permits internal, attached, and detached accessory apartments by right in most residential districts, subject to use-specific standards (§14-4C-2). These standards address rental permits, ownership and occupancy, site requirements, design requirements, and unit size.

Design Review

The city's zoning code addresses administrative design review within designated areas (§14-3C). It lists the purpose and applicability of the ordinance and establishes two levels of review by the staff design review committee. Design review guidelines include definitions and some illustrations and address building design, relationship of building to site, landscaping, and canopies and awnings. The zoning code also details the administrative process and submittal requirements for design review (§14-8B-3).

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

The city’s zoning code includes provisions to protect environmentally sensitive features and natural resources during site development. Regulated sensitive features include wetlands, stream corridors, slopes, wooded areas, fully hydric soils, prairie remnants, and archeological sites (§14-5I-2). It includes a description of levels of sensitive area review prior to development activity, modifications to zoning and subdivision requirements, and compliance measures.

Food trucks

The city’s motor vehicles and traffic code (§9-14-16) provides a definition of food truck, requires a permit for food truck operation, and restricts operation in certain public spaces. 

Inclusionary Housing

The city's zoning code addresses inclusionary housing (§14-2G-8). The ordinance begins with a purpose statement and short list of definitions.

A 10 percent affordable unit requirement applies to all development containing 10 or more units on land within the riverfront crossings zoning designation. Compliance may be achieved through on-site or off-site unit construction, fee in lieu payment, or contribution of land. Units must remain affordable for 10 years.

An affordable housing agreement and deed restrictions are required. Unit standards address mix, size and quality, location, and timing. The code sets eligibility standards and sales and rental program requirements, as well as requirements for each compliance option.

Transfer of Development Rights

The city’s zoning code authorizes transfer of development rights (TDR) for open space height transfers, historic preservation height transfers, and public right of way height transfers for use in the Riverfront Crossing district (§14-2G-7). The TDR general provisions explain the purpose for and calculation of transferable rights.

Iowa City, IA

2010 Population: 67,862

2010 Population Density: 2,713.29/square mile