Ames Council Preview, November 13, 2017: Downtown Development Issues, Joint Housing Study Proposal

The Ames City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. The agenda includes:

Item 15: Resolution approving major final plat for Bricktowne Ames subdivision (residential development of 572 units)

The Bricktowne development has been in the works for a while, with the council approval of the rezoning this past July. Now the developer is back for the subdivision’s final plat approval. Public improvements required of the developer include water, sewer, sidewalk, and electrical improvements. For traffic control, the city will widen parts of South Duff and install a new traffic light across from Crystal Street.

Item 22: Clarification regarding the council’s direction pertaining to limiting occupancy in rental units

At a recent council meeting, we directed staff to develop systems that would limit rental occupancy to one individual per bedroom plus one, with an overall cap of five individuals per rental unit. It was also moved to limit occupancy to one renter per off-street parking space available. The council will be looking at these criteria, to make sure this is how we want to proceed in limiting rental occupancy, now that we can no longer limit it to three unrelated adults as we had previously done.

Item 23: Downtown development issues (parking and storm water regulations)

Staff are reporting back on four issues related to downtown development, including storm water standards, parking, public spaces, and potential development incentives. The council has been considering downtown development for some time, as one of our goals is the strengthening of downtown, and the Lincoln Way Corridor study supports the concept of a redeveloped “Downtown Gateway,” in the area south of downtown between Clark and Duff avenues.

Item 24: Staff report on Story County’s request for joint housing study

The county supervisors requested the city of Ames partner on a housing study. Ames has two studies planned in 2018, an affirmatively furthering fair housing study and a demographic and growth assessment. The city can share these studies with the county, but staff don’t recommend taking on a third study, due to the cost of hiring a consultant (around $70,000).

Item 25: Resolution approving Depot development agreement with Merry Bee Properties LLC regarding parking

At a recent council meeting, we directed staff to modify the Depot development agreement to include a provision that the developer maintain functional entrances along public streets, and that the corner entrance at Clark Avenue and Main Street be maintained. In exchange, the developer can use 100 of the 198 parking spaces on the site for private use, retaining the remaining 98 for public parking.

Item 26: Motion directing staff to initiate an Ames urban fringe plan map amendment for Timber Creek Acres

The owner and developer of 75 acres off of Highway 69 south of Ames is seeking a change in the urban fringe designation of this land from “agriculture and farm service” to “rural residential.” The goal with this change is to create eight parcels on which the developer would construct single-family homes.

Item 27: Resolution approving agreement with United Way of Story County to manage human services capital improvements program

The council initiated a pilot program to fund capital improvements for human service agencies. We decided to partner with United Way, who will assist in administration of this program. If successful, this pilot could become another example of how Ames and other agencies can partner to meet human service needs in our community.

Item 29: Status report regarding municipal pool air quality

Testing was done to assess chloramine levels at the municipal pool, and they were found to be high. Several measures can be undertaken to mitigate the problem, including some HVAC changes, chemical usage, filtration, and public education about causes of chloramines (such as sweat and urine).

Item 33: Hearing on 2017-18 Community Development Block Grant public infrastructure improvements program (321 State Ave.)

Unfortunately, the bids for public improvements to the State Avenue affordable housing development came back quite a bit higher than the engineer’s estimate, so staff are recommending delaying awarding a bid while they work with JCorp to either lower infrastructure costs or find additional funding sources.

Thanks for reading,
Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen
City Council At-Large

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Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen
Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen is an at-large member of the Ames City Council. She is also a manager at Wheatsfield Cooperative and the co-owner of Cycles Recycling.