In an effort to follow the developer’s agreement with Petry Trust to purchase five lots in the Treyburn Farms Subdivision, the Waterloo City Council on Thursday amended its municipal zoning code to decrease the required minimum back yard setbacks for principal buildings.

The measure was passed 6-1 with Alder Jeanette Petts voting not to change the backyard setbacks to 25 feet for R1 and R2 zoned properties. The rear yard setbacks had been a minimum of 30 feet for R1 and 40 feet for R2.

Clerk/Treasurer Mo Hansen said the amendment was because the previous backyard setbacks would interfere with Petry Trust’s standard housing designs. The developer made the request to modify the rear yard setbacks but these measurements could not be modified just for specific properties, he said. According to Hansen, Petry Trust could apply for a conditional use permit (CUP) but that could only be applied if the developers could prove the current conditions were a proven hardship. Or, the developers could ask to rezone the properties as a planned urban development (PUD) that would generate some flexibility with the zoning.

Petts questioned why the amendment was being fast-tracked through the city council instead of having the planning commission make a recommendation to the council, which would then vote on the change. Hansen said Petry Trust’s developers’ agreement with Waterloo listed a closing date of Sept. 9. The clerk/treasurer added the city expects to see more details of the agreement will go before the planning commission at a Sept. 16 special meeting.

Furthermore, the stipulation of amending the rear yard setbacks was part of the developer’s agreement the council had approved with Petry Trust last month.

Per Hansen, the rear yard setbacks apply only to single-family homes; all multi-family residents would need a CUP allowing the city council to set the requirements for those structures.

The council also:

• Was informed a new purchase offer from RTG Enterprises LLC (Ron and Tama Griffin) for 2.3-acres of city property at 333 Portland Road would be forthcoming. The original counter offer from the city had expired.

• Approved a contract with LaRon Davis for cleaning the municipal building, Maunesha Business Center and Waterloo Regional Trailhead facility at the price of $920 per month. The city is hoping it can negotiate with the business to have the buildings cleaned twice per week and more often during special events such as elections.

• Approved vacating a portion of West Taylor Street; a public hearing was held at the beginning of the council meeting but no public input was provided.

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