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Successive Application Leads to Rezoning Granted for CommonBond Communities

July 17, 2017

Marty Stoll, attorney and senior vice president with Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, represented CommonBond through a contentious process of rezoning with the City of Cedar Rapids.

CommonBond Communities, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a nonprofit affordable housing developer with plans to build a 45-unit apartment complex in Cedar Rapids.

On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, the Cedar Rapids City Council gave final rezoning approval as a result of a successive application for reconsideration for a project proposed by CommonBond Communities. CommonBond Communities is a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in St. Paul, Minnesota with plans to build a 45-unit apartment complex in Cedar Rapids. CommonBond was awarded $8 million in federal tax credits from the Iowa Finance Authority for the project. Marty Stoll, attorney and senior vice president at Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, represented CommonBond in its successive application before the City. The City denied an initial request for rezoning of the property amid neighborhood objections. After CommonBond filed a successive application seeking rezoning for the property, the City Planning Commission recommended and then the City Council voted to allow the successive application within one year from the denial of the initial application due to substantial changes in the proposal added by CommonBond. These changes included an added turn lane from Edgewood Road, an improved underground drainage system, and added sidewalks in the neighborhood. On the successive application, the City Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend approval of the requested rezoning, and the requested rezoning was then approved by the City Council on a supermajority vote. Successive applications are rare, and in this case the successive application enabled CommonBond to stay on track to utilize the tax credits awarded from the Iowa Finance Authority. Despite the substantial changes made by CommonBond, the requested rezoning remained controversial, with neighbors speaking in opposition at public hearings and in public comment portions of meetings involving the request and filing a petition with enough signatures opposing the rezoning request to require supermajority approval of the rezoning by City Council. “In line with the City’s strategic plan, EnvisionCR, I’m proud to have helped CommonBond work through this complex and unique process,” said Stoll. “This is a win for the citizens of Cedar Rapids and for people in need of affordable housing,” she added.CommonBond Communities has signed a purchase agreement for the land, currently owned by the City. The development, called Crestwood Ridge Apartments, includes 45 units, five of which will be reserved for occupants at 30 percent of area median income or below, targeting formerly homeless families.The Gazette reported on this project throughout the entirety of the approval process with the City. The article “Homeless housing rezoning gets final approval” provides more information about the vote taken by City Council.

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