Save the Red Avocado
  • Petitioned Jesse Allen

This petition was delivered to:

Allen Homes, Inc.
Jesse Allen
The City of Iowa City

Save the Red Avocado

    1. N S
    2. Petition by

      N S

      Iowa City, IA

We, the undersigned Red Avocado patrons and supporters, OPPOSE the demolition of 521 E Washington and neighboring buildings. The proposed new development building’s size, height, and residential density are incompatible with the residential character of the neighborhood.

Furthermore, the period of notice given to the existing businesses in the building is not acceptable, since a mere thirty days' notice was given immediately prior to a three-day holiday weekend, effectively shortening the time allowed for those businesses to pursue alternative options. Alternative options, in turn, are severely limited due to development projects elsewhere in the city that have rendered potential retail spaces unusable for these businesses or too expensive to consider.

We SUPPORT development that preserves the scale and land use characteristics of the east edge of the downtown commercial district: small, owner-occupied buildings with ground floor commercial establishments and a second story of residential use. We support the preservation of the character of Red Avocado's neighborhood and a fair opportunity for this landmark, nationally famous restaurant to continue operations.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Allen Homes reinstates Northside project

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      Allen Homes has announced a "Good Neighbor Meeting" to be held at 6pm on Thursday, April 12, in Meeting Room B at the Iowa City Public Library, to discuss his plans for the Northside neighborhood.

      Mr. Allen has purchased the two houses across from and just north of The Hamburg Inn and, despite announcing in January that he had no intention to pursue a project there, is now going forward with development. The meeting will give neighbors a chance to learn how this project will benefit out Northside residential and business neighborhoods.

      Let's go in ready to ask questions. The more of us arrive, the more concerns can be represented.

      Thank you.

    2. City Council Meeting March 20

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      The Red Avocado is gone. Defunct Books had to move away from downtown. Nearly 5,000 people signed this petition online or on paper to oppose the replacement of these landmarks.

      The City heard us and suggested three new definitions for zoning laws that would help to limit the kind of demolition and replacement to which we objected. Then 70 developers signed a petition to make it harder for the City to pass those definitions. Their petition has a political impact: it can force the City to have a supermajority - at least 6 of 7 councillors voting in favor of the changes - to get the changes that at least 5,000 people want. Why is this possible? Because 70 people own that much property, and under City rules, if a certain proportion of landowners petition for a supermajority vote, they can force it.

      Be at the meeting on March 20. Contact your council members and the zoning board and tell them you support their efforts to change those definitions. Five thousand people deserve to be heard.

    3. City Council Meeting March 20

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      The Red Avocado is gone. Defunct Books had to move away from downtown. Nearly 5,000 people signed this petition online or on paper.

      The City heard us and suggested three new definitions for zoning laws that would help to limit the kind of demolition and replacement to which we objected. Then 70 developers signed a petition to make it harder for the City to pass those definitions. Their petition has a political impact: it can force the City to have a supermajority - at least 6 of 7 councillors voting in favor of the changes - to get the changes that at least 5,000 people want. Why is this possible? Because 70 people own that much property, and under City rules, if a certain proportion of landowners petition for a supermajority vote, they can force it.

      Be at the meeting on March 20. Contact your council members and the zoning board and tell them you support their efforts to change those definitions. Five thousand people deserve to be heard.

    4. You can still get Red Avocado meals!

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      Folks in the Iowa City area will be pleased to know that not only do our Red Avocado friends still offer catering, they have a meal plan - you can get four meals for two in one week for $70, and there are special deals on multiple-week plans and options for gluten-free eaters. Check out the link to find out more about how you can keep enjoying our beloved restaurant.

      Folks concerned about ongoing development issues in Iowa City, please visit http://www.icgov.org/default/?id=2157 to find out how to participate in the Good Ideas program, which allows citizens to suggest development and planning ideas to protect what's great about our town and work with the not-so-great to make it better.

      We can't help the Red reopen overnight, nor can we stop the kind of thing that happened to their building overnight, but with effort and cooperation, we CAN contribute to an Iowa City that has affordable, attractive space for a Red Avocado sort of place. Let's work to make it happen.

    5. Call for Volunteers

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      The Red Avocado could use some volunteers to help them move out of 521 E Washington St.

      If you have clean, usable bubble wrap, cardboard boxes around the size of the ones reams of paper come in, or an hour to spare, please visit the Red's facebook page or website and let them know how you can help.

      If you would like to help organize a great big party to celebrate what the Red has done for our community, call in your name and email/phone number to 337-2996 between 11am and 8pm. We don't yet know what we can do, but if a lot of people step forward to help, we can cook up something worthy of Eastern Iowa's vegan haven. Who's with me?

    6. PLANS FOR TUESDAY NIGHT, JAN 10 - PLEASE CIRCULATE

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      On Tuesday night (Jan. 10), the Council will hold a work session prior to the regular Council meeting; the work session begins at 5:30 p.m. and is held in Council chambers at City Hall. The third item on the agenda, Neighborhood Stabilization, is related to the events taking place in the 500 block of East Washington. http://www.icgov.org/docs/auto/council/doc_17.pdf shows the work session agenda.

      The IP#7 reference is to the Council's Information Packet, which is available for viewing at the link below. The bookmark for IP#7 leads to: a memo from Planning Dept. regarding the Red Avocado situation, a press release from the City, and an email from councilman James Throgmorton (p.150). Members of the public can attend Council work sessions, but are not allowed to speak then.

      If you have an opinion about what is proposed for the 500 block of E. Washington, you will be able to voice it during agenda item #6 (Community Comment) of the Council's regular meeting starting at 7:00. Come early.

    7. We Still Need More Signatures!

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      We need more people to sign this petition. We need to send a clear message to the City and to Mr. Allen that we want the Red Avocado and Defunct Books to have thirty business days to look at their options and make their choices.

      See previous update for more ideas, too.

      If you read this KCRG article, you'll see that Cedar Rapids has started collecting information about beautiful old places to preserve. If Iowa City wants to attract businesses, it's going to have to do something, or it will lose big businesses to Coralville and its TIFs and small businesses to Cedar Rapids and its historic conscience.

      Iowa City now has one more way it will need to compete for entrepreneurial interest. The City can keep praising Allen Homes in the newspaper right after Allen Homes threatens to cost the City two popular small businesses, or the City can make a move 4,000+ people can support, like looking at what's worth protecting in our city. Like a nice, old building that could house the Red Avocado.

    8. Demolition is still slated to proceed

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      The City has asserted that it can't do anything other than offer economic assistance to the Red Avocado and Defunct Books.

      That doesn't mean we're powerless. Let's go to the City Council meeting on January 10 and tell them, clearly, that we want them to support developers who work with businesses.

      Let's also tell Jesse Allen that we want to believe he can work with businesses. He has the power to give the Red Avocado and Defunct Books more time. We want to believe that, as a developer and as a future landlord, he will be willing to discuss, adjust, help, and make plans with his future business tenants. We want to believe he supports local businesses. It would help if he gave these two businesses another thirty days. Thirty business days, rather than holidays and weekends included.

      And let's tell our neighbors in the College Green Neighborhood that we support them in wanting to see developments that look right for their area, that transition between commercial and residential.

    9. Reached 4,000 signatures
    10. Statement from the City of Iowa City

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      We appreciate the city's efforts to reach out to the affected businesses with possibilities for Economic Development assistance.

      We are concerned that one business does not recall being approached with an offer to relocate into the new building Allen Homes intends to build.

      We still feel the notice to Red Avocado was not timed in a manner to give them adequate time to pursue options and would not have been long enough even if issued at the beginning of a business week (as opposed to the beginning of a long holiday weekend). We still oppose demolishing a place that works to make way for a taller, higher-density building.

      Those interested in opposing a rezoning request from the same developer for the north end of the 200 block of Linn Street, i.e., the north end of the Northside Marketplace, please consider making your voice heard by January 10.

    11. Reached 2,500 signatures
    12. The word is spreading - now take further action!

      N S
      by N S
      Petition Organizer

      Business 380 has an article about the situation now, and word is that an Iowa City newspaper will carry a story tomorrow. Watch the press for stories, comment on them, offer factual corrections if needed, and write letters to the editors (opinion@press-citizen.com for the PC). Also contact the City of Iowa City to express your concern about the lack of publicity, the very short notice to the Red Avocado, and your intent to oppose the proposed multi-story mixed-use building on that property.

      Another important message to convey to the city is that the mixed-use building doesn't match or transition to the other buildings in the area. Ask P&Z to consider rezoning the property RNS-12, CN-1, or another appropriate TRANSITIONAL zone. Also ask what nearby areas have rezoning requests: the 600 block of E. Washington is on the list, as is the 200 block of N. Linn.

      City Planning contact info:
      E-mail:
      planningzoning@iowa-city.org
      Phone:
      319.356.5230

      Keep sharing, and watch for our next step!

    13. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Jerome Smiskol CEDAR RAPIDS, IA
      • over 2 years ago

      A unique resturant in a unique location in a unique part of town.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Melanie House CORALVILLE, IA
      • over 2 years ago

      The Red Avacado is the ONLY vegan restaurant in the REGION (next closest I know of is Chicago) making Iowa City a destination for such a rare dietary (for some ethical and environmental) offering. Please do not take action that would force the closure of one of such a valuable asset to our community!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Hanna Nelson GYPSUM, CO
      • over 2 years ago

      I believe in sustainable restaurants!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Aimee Wynhausen OVERLAND PARK, KS
      • almost 3 years ago

      It is important that we keep and encourage small businesses. Keep Iowa City unique and eclectic - another high rise will just make it like every other boring city across America. Boring.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Hanna Meyer IOWA CITY, IA
      • almost 3 years ago

      Love this restaurant!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.