Bronwyn’s Council Preview, November 28, 2017: Carbon Footprint, Parking System Improvements

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

Item 9: Resolution approving annual 2017 urban renewal report and certification of TIF debt for Campustown and annual appropriation of Kingland TIF rebate

The city has a handful of tax-increment financing districts, with $4.37 million in outstanding TIF obligations. While a few of these TIF districts require no annual action other than reporting, the Campustown/Kingland TIF requires council approval to allow the rebate of incremental taxes ($302,218 this year).

Item 17: 415 Stanton Ave. (old Crawford school)

a. Staff report regarding urban revitalization area

In order to receive certain financial incentives, the developer of the old Crawford school property is requesting that the council establish an urban revitalization area. The staff report supports the claim that the building is of sufficient historic value to qualify for a URA. The staff report also presents the council with a choice of two nearly identical lists of criteria for the URA, the only difference being whether to require future council approval of the site plan and architectural plans.

b. Resolution approving minor land use policy plan minor map amendment for 415 Stanton Ave. from low-density residential to high-density residential and c. Hearing on rezoning property at 415 Stanton Ave. from government/airport zoning district to residential high-density zoning district

In order to complete their vision of an independent senior living facility, the developers are requesting a change in the property’s zoning to high-density residential. (Staff detail several controls to ensure the property remains a senior living facility in order to justify the change to high-density residential zoning.)

Item 19: Hearing on land use policy plan major map amendment for north allowable growth area

At the request of Friedrich & Sons, the developer planning to develop properties south of Cameron School Road and west of George Washington Carver Avenue, the council is considering an amendment to the urban fringe map. The developers seek to have the area changed from its current designation of “transitional” to “urban residential,” which would allow for future annexation. Staff are suggesting including the area east of George Washington Carver in this change. In order to change this area, both Story County and Gilbert have to agree. Currently, the county has done so, and the Ames Planning & Zoning Commission has recommended the change.


Item 23: Staff report on tax abatement for new Greek house construction

In 2011, the council referred a proposal to staff that would have amended the tax abatement criteria to include new construction as eligible for tax abatement. Though the proposal was referred at that time, no follow-up council action was then taken to officially amend the criteria. Fast forward to 2017, and the council is being asked to consider it again.

Item 25: Staff report on parking system improvements

Staff are reporting back on several topics related to parking, including fines, fees, equipment, and maintenance schedules. Our fines for parking meter violations are fairly low, compared to other communities, but staff aren’t recommending an increase. (Ours are currently $5, whereas many communities have a minimum fine of $10.) In addition, the council is frequently asked to simplify or modify neighborhood parking standards, and it’s being suggested that the new Campus and Community Commission undertake outreach on that.

Item 26: Update on city operations carbon footprint and Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

In June of this year, Council asked staff for a workshop on our carbon emission goals. The current goals were set by the city after the 2007 Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and have long since expired or been met. Now the council needs to decide if and how to establish new carbon reduction goals.

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.