The Moline City Council voted to approve an ordinance authorizing the mayor and city clerk to execute a new 20-year lease with Quad City Music Guild to use the theater in Prospect Park. The vote count was 6-0, with Ald. Lori Turner and Mike Waldron absent.

MOLINE — A zoning ordinance change proposal got council members talking about updating the city’s comprehensive plan on Tuesday.

An ordinance amendment that would allow limited commercial space use in districts zoned as office was approved out of the committee-of-the-whole on a 6-1 vote. Alderman Dick Potter voted no, and Alderwoman Lori Turner was absent.

A special use permit would have to be approved before any retail could open there, Shawn Christ, land development manager, said.

Alderman Quentin Rodriguez said the city needs to look at what cities such as Naperville and Bettendorf are doing with regards to zoning. He said the current plan has done well, but that it is out of date.

“When we look at what successful communities that I think we want to be like are doing, this is one step in the short term until we can fix the comprehensive plan and revamp our zoning to get us to where we need to be to be that community that represents our citizens desires,” Alderman Rodriguez said.

Alderman Potter said that there are several areas in the city, such as Old Towne and Avenue of the Cities, that could be used as retail. He said the planning commission looked at the comprehensive plan in early 2000.

“SouthPark area, just this week, another large retailer is closing its doors,” Alderman Potter said. “There is no need to go in and start putting retail in areas nearby residential neighborhoods.”

Alderman Mike Wendt said the comprehensive plan stated that 41st Street currently was listed as a “minor arterial road that has between three and four thousand cars a day.” He said, in fact, it has 13,000 to 14,000 cars per day, and that it is factually not true that it has been updated.

“This Euclidean zoning in which the red blocks go here, the blue blocks go here, your corn and peas cannot touch, is old, old thinking,” Alderman Wendt said. “We need to move into the 21st century where we talk about mixed use, that we talked about sustainable developments.”

In other business:

  • Finance director Kathy Carr said the city owed almost $117 million to fully fund the police and fire pensions. However, the city is on pace to have the police pension fully funded by 2038, with the fire pension obligations fully funded in 2040.
  • Council members voted 6-0 to approve two separate leases and allocate money to River Action. Alderwoman Turner was absent, and Alderman Mike Waldron was present for the committee-of-the-whole meeting but had to leave shortly before the city council meeting began.

A new 20-year lease for Quad-City Music Guild will expire in March 2039. Rent paid by the music guild to the city will equal the amount that the city pays annually for insurance for the facility.

An agreement was reached to lease the 48th Street Field at Green Valley Park to the QC Legends Soccer Club. The new lease will expire in March 2020 and net the city $250 annually, plus $5 per participant.

River Action will receive $7,500 from the city, which will be paid out of unspent special event funding from the 2017 season.

  • Ray Forsythe, planning and development director, said that the new four-star hotel being developed by Heart of America was slated for a spring 2019 opening. The hotel is located on 5th Avenue in the former Sears building.
  • Joe Taylor, outgoing president and CEO of the Quad-Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that the city would be a stop in the upcoming WHO Great Iowa Tractor Ride. WHO is an iHeartMedia radio station in Des Moines.

Mr. Taylor said that up to 500 tractors would be stationed at the Isle of Capri Casino in Bettendorf from June 23-27, and they would be in Moline on June 27. He said the visit should have a $240,000 impact on the area.