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Navy Veteran's Smart Home Rezoning Request Denied

Marines look on as retired Staff Sgt. Jason Ross raises the national and Marine Corps colors in front of a new home dedicated to him by The Gary Sinise Foundation in Fallbrook, California, August 22, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carson Gramley)
Marines look on as retired Staff Sgt. Jason Ross raises the national and Marine Corps colors in front of a new home dedicated to him by The Gary Sinise Foundation in Fallbrook, California, August 22, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carson Gramley)

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Cedar Falls City Council has rejected a rezoning request for a disabled Afghanistan war veteran who wants to build a "smart home" in a remote area to accommodate his disabilities.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that the council voted against the request Monday. Taylor Morris and his wife had asked the city to rezone 1.55 acres of land owned by Mikkel and Janet Mandt from agricultural to residential so they could construct the home, which would be controlled by an iPad.

Morris, a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal expert, lost portions of all four of his limbs in a May 2012 bomb blast in Afghanistan.

The council said that it is happy the couple are staying in Cedar Falls, but said that the area is far removed from city services and other development, and would set a precedent if rezoned. Council members noted that there were other options in that location that are still owned by the Mandts that have a larger lot size and don't require rezoning.

Wendell Lupkes of VJ Engineering, representing the Morrises and the Mandts, said that "The Mandts and the Morrises simply want to find the best logical way to allow the building of a new home on the selected location. They have explored all the possible ways to accomplish this with the fewest amount of special exceptions for variances to the city ordinances and still keep the intent of the parties in mind."

Taylor Morris said that "We'll have to go back to the drawing board."

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