Courier file photo

OTTUMWA — Two new housing sites could move forward next week if the city council signs off on proposed zoning changes.

The first location, at 202 E. Fourth St., is a redevelopment. Documents supplied to the city council indicate the most likely outcome is multi-family housing with six units. But, since the developer is “still reviewing options” that is not set in stone.

The site is currently zoned for mixed use commercial purposes, which would allow the redevelopment. But the request seeks a change to downtown mixed use. The difference comes down to parking.

All commercial zones outside the downtown area require parking. By changing the zoning for the location, the city would allow the developer to plan for new residents to use the Third Street parking lot. Ottumwa’s planning and zoning commission unanimously recommended the change.

The second site will not house as many people. It is planned as a duplex at Lot 169 in the Wildwood Countryside portion of Skyline Drive. City Planner Kevin Flanagan said in city documents the proposal will match up with housing density already in the area “and will be compatible with the single-family residences also throughout the vicinity.

Currently, the site is zoned as a single-family residential district. The proposed change alters that to R-2 two-family residential.

Like the project on East Fourth Street, the Skyline Drive proposal was unanimously endorsed the change.

Housing has long been an issue in Ottumwa, and the council has moved aggressively in recent years to court new developments. Apartments at the former Washington School site are nearing completion, and work on demolition of the former St. Joseph Hospital has moved quickly since it resumed this summer. Blackbird Investments plans a mix of multi-family townhomes and single family residences for the area.

The council will also consider grant applications seeking funds to help with the basketball court at Ottumwa Park, agility equipment for the dog park, and assistance with improvements at the softball fields. A proposal to name the Beach competition pool after longtime coach Mike McWilliams is also on the agenda.

The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall.

— Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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