Bronwyn’s Council Preview, April 10, 2018: Rental Cap Discussion and Healthy Life Center

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The City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. The agenda includes (but is not limited to):

Item 33: Housing ordinance discussion of rental concentration and hardship options

As I’m sure many of you know, rental housing has consumed a lot of council time lately. Last meeting, we had the first reading of the new rental occupancy limits (maximum of three adults in a three-bedroom, four in a four-bedroom, five in a five-bedroom), and this week we again discuss the concept of a rental concentration cap. At a recent meeting, the council directed staff to draft an ordinance to limit the number of rental permits in certain neighborhoods to 25 percent. Now, the council is being asked to confirm the neighborhoods in which the cap might be established. In addition, staff are reporting back on “hardship options” — if a homeowner is unable to sell their home within a certain duration. We have invited public input at this meeting, and I expect a full house. Please feel free to reach out to the council with your thoughts on this ordinance, if you haven’t already!

Item 34: Resolution approving Campustown facade grant

Two grants were submitted for this year’s facade grant, but staff report that only one was complete enough to proceed. This project is at 120 Welch Ave, and involves replacing some windows on the 2nd floor, as well as increasing the glazing (glass) on the ground floor. Staff are recommending this project receive the maximum of $17,000 provided by the grant program.

Item 40: Hearing on North River Valley Park low-head dam improvements

In March of last year, the council directed staff to begin work on planning improvements to the dam at North River Valley Park. The planned redesign of this damn will significantly improve safety, as well as access to the waterway for recreation.

Item 43: Hearing on 2017-18 CDBG public facilities neighborhood infrastructure improvements

As part of our plan to build affordable housing on the old middle school site, the council recently directed staff to extend Tripp Street from Wilmoth to State avenues.

Item 48: Healthy Life Center:

a. Resolution supporting or not supporting Healthy Life Center concept and directing staff whether to continue to move forward with project

Council is being asked if we still support the project, its scope, and its funding method (future bond referendum).

b. Discussion of naming opportunities

For item b, we are being asked to allow the fundraising chairs to negotiate naming rights, without requiring council or staff oversight of each naming request.

c. Resolution allocating $7,500 to fund Healthy Life Center informational campaign

Item 49: First passage of ordinance relating to RAGBRAI events on July 23-25

We are being asked to approve a number of temporary allowances to facilitate the presence of RAGBRAI. Those temporary changes include allowing overnight camping in Brookside and Stewart Smith parks, allowing vehicles in those parks, suspending any existing outdoor alcohol service permits for that day, and running all vending permits for that day through the RAGBRAI organizing committee. We also directed staff to permanently fix an ordinance prohibiting riding bicycles in Brookside. That ordinance will appear on our next meeting’s agenda.

First passage of ordinance increasing water rates by 3.5 percent and sewer rates by 3 percent effective for bills on or after July 1

Thanks for reading,

Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen
City Council At-Large


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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.