Cedar Falls may ban converting homes to apartments
CEDAR FALLS (AP) — Cedar Falls officials are considering banning property owners from converting single-family houses into multi-unit apartment buildings.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission may draft an ordinance to stop such conversions in an effort to beautify neighborhoods and meet residents’ concerns, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported Friday.
“I don’t think we have a big problem,” City Planner Marty Ryan said. “But we do have conversions that happen and when they do, I tell you what, neighbors aren’t happy.”
Ryan said complaints center on a perception that conversions hurt a neighborhood’s appearance and cause parking problems.
At a meeting where the issue was discussed, some landlords objected to the proposal. They said some houses up for sale are too big for most families and that if splitting them into apartments isn’t allowed, the houses would be allowed to deteriorate.
Landlord Daryl Kruse said some big houses have little value other than as apartments.
“If you don’t allow more than four people in those or convert them to something that’s usable, you condemn them to be dilapidated because there’s not a lot of motivation to buy them,” Kruse said.
Property owner Chris Wernimont said he doesn’t see a problem with splitting an unused rental home into duplexes. Without that option, he said it doesn’t make sense for him to buy a house.
Despite those arguments, Ryan seemed adamant that a change was needed.
“Our experience demonstrates that landlords have taken great liberties in neighborhoods all over the city, and the City Council is finished with it,” Ryan said.
Ryan said planners will begin working on an ordinance that would need City Council approval before becoming law.