Neighbors pen city council over concerns with Kinnick-style home

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - People in Iowa City are once again raising concerns over the "Kinnick style" house a neighbor is building, and they've sent complaint letters to the city council.

The house sits on a nearly 7,500 square foot property that a Decorah couple modeled after the stadium.

Early last year, neighbors sued to stop construction, saying it doesn't fit the profile of the family-friendly area and worried that it could become a place where people come to party.

A judge has since dismissed the case. Now since football season has begun, neighbors are writing to city council once again.

"Yes, it looks like Kinnick,” said Barb Happel. “It’s not exactly copasetic with the rest of the neighborhood but it's here."

Happel lives directly behind the stadium replica that's been in the middle of city code controversy since construction began. She said it's actually not all bad.

"I think it's a lot more attractive than I thought it would be,” said Happel. “I'd still wait and see but I'm not as worried as I was a year ago."

But other neighbors, like Elijah Olivas, said it's concerning.
"I'm still in school but a lot of neighbors here have kids and they're always playing outside in the street so there's always a concern that there will be a lot of traffic. Whether it's foot traffic, especially with alcohol, or driving, or at that point drinking and driving," Olivas said.

Olivas said that's because since construction began the traffic has been very constant and heavy.

"They would start at eight in the morning or so and go on until five in the afternoon. It took up a lot of the road area here, a lot of noise but this last week at least they stopped with the majority of it. So hopefully, that doesn't transfer into a lot of people flooding in and out,” said Olivas.

Olivas said a couple of dozen people already came by this past weekend during the home game to admire the building. He takes it as a sign that the smaller-scaled Kinnick will only get bigger crowds as time goes on.

"That's the first indication that it'll be a huge gathering on all home games,” said Olivas.

But much to their chagrin, the city has approved it and there's nothing neighbors can do about it at this point.

"It's a general kind of grumbling,” said Olivas. “That's the sense that I get from it. It's not necessarily preferable, obviously, it's not ideal. "

The Iowa City City Council is now exploring policies in building codes to assure people don't build something like this again in the future, where neighbors fear it to be more of an entertainment venue and less of a home.