Council members reluctant to spike ‘zombie’ Iowa City housing laws

The Iowa City Council is debating evicting some zombies from housing ordinances in the city code.

It voted unanimously on Tuesday to repeal a years-old ordinance capping the number of rental permits for single-family and duplex homes in the city. It deferred action on a second ordinance that aimed to prevent discrimination against tenants with rent subsidies.

With laws approved by the Iowa Legislature in effect, the city no longer is able to enforce those ordinances, which City Attorney Eric Goers referred to as “zombie laws.” The city staff advised council members in a December meeting that they must clean up the code so it reflects what is legal and doesn’t confuse residents.

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Speaking in that meeting, City Manager Geoff Fruin said he could understand the political desire to leave them on the books, but that doing

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