Review -- Old Crawford School, Rain on the Parking Lots, and Satisfaction Survey

Dan DeGeest Photo

Dan DeGeest's Council Review


Hi Friends,

The meeting began with the Mayor proclaiming October 8-14, 2017 as “Coming Out Week”.  This proclamation reaffirmed the City's commitment to nondiscrimination and inclusiveness and highlighted the inaugural Pridefest, which took place in Bandshell Park on Saturday, October 14. In today's national climate it is more important than ever to show our solidarity and support for acceptance and equal rights and it was nice to see the City embracing that effort.

Beyond that, it was a fairly routine meeting Tuesday night, but there were several important items receiving council votes.  See below for details and thanks for reading.


The Ames City Council meeting for October 10, 2017. The agenda includesd:

  • 20. Resolution approving Major Final Plat for Quarry Estates Subdivision, 2nd Addition.
    This 2nd addition of a subdivision just north of Ada Hayden adds 35 single-family homes, and includes financial securities for sidewalks. The developer is requesting Council approve this Major Final Plat before the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is in place, but even if Council does so, staff won't release the Final Plat for official recording until they have the CMP in hand.

    This was passed as part of the Consent Agenda.
  • 26. Second passage of ordinance establishing six-month moratorium on new Rental Occupancy Permits for single- and two-family homes within the boundaries of the SCAN, Westside, Oak-Wood-Forest, College Creek/Old Ames Middle School, Old Edwards, and Oak Riverside neighborhoods. (video)
    This has been up for discussion the past few Council meetings. It was drawn to our attention that the Colonial Village neighborhood is not part of SCAN, and thus was not included in the original boundary included in the moratorium.

    This was the second reading of three for this moratorium to become an official ordinance.  There were a few questions about changing the boundaries this late in the game, but the City attorney stated that it was legal to amend the ordinance up to the third and final reading.  A motion was made to amend the ordinance to include Colonial Village and to update the maps used to describe the areas that will be affected by the moratorium.  Under the special circumstances the Mayor did call for public input on the amended motion but none was given. Motion to include Colonial Village passed 5-1 (Corrieri NO).

    A second issue that needed attention was the end date for the moratorium since the ordinance was drafted assuming all three readings would occur at one time.  However, waiving of the second and third readings failed at a previous Council meeting and changed the timeline.  Without changing the end date, the moratorium would be approximately five months in duration instead of six after all the required readings and the time to publish.  A motion extending the end date to April 30, 2018 passed 5-1 (Corrieri NO).

    With those changes in place a motion to approve on second reading passed 5-1 (Corrieri NO). There was no Council support for waiving the third reading and this item will be back at the next regular meeting for the third and final reading. It was pointed out that rental agreements can still be issued for the entire City until the third reading is passed and the ordinance is published and at a previous meeting staff did indicate there had been an uptick in the number of applications.
  • 28. Staff Report regarding requests from Earl May regarding storm water requirements and site development plan review requirements
    Earl May wants us to reconsider the criteria which trigger storm-water improvements to a parking lot. The current City standard is to require improvements up to code if the area being re-surfaced or created is greater than 10,000 square feet. A change to these standards would apply city-wide, and not just to Earl May, though their pavement improvements are what spurred this question. (video)

    This is an interesting issue.  Earl May tore out and completely replaced their parking lot without obtaining the necessary City permits.  This construction should have triggered storm water improvements as part of three year old post construction ordinance that states "any new development or redevelopment creating more than 10,000 SF of impervious cover".  Instead Earl May took out 25,000 square feet of impervious paving and replaced it with 25,000 square feet of impervious paving claiming it was "maintenance".  Now they are asking the City to change the criteria for determining when the storm water ordinance should apply.  To me this issue seems pretty clear cut, they didn't follow the rules and should be held accountable, that's why we have building codes, but City Council was weak on this issue moving to delay action and requesting a workshop to talk about it instead of enforcing the code and looking for remediation.  Motion to delay and request a workshop passed 6-0.

  • 30. Staff Report regarding requests of RES Development and R. Friedrich and Sons regarding redevelopment of former Crawford School at 415 Stanton Avenue. (Video)
    This developer is looking to turn the old Crawford School building into an independent senior living facility. To do so, they'll need to rezone to high density, but presumably with some sort of agreement that the property would remain a senior living facility into the future. Also, they're asking for Council to consider a URA for the property, which would leverage tax abatement.

    Motions approving LUPP and Zoning changes neeeded to move forward on this project passed 6-0.

  • 31. Resolution approving Encroachment Permit for 400 Main Street contingent on approval of Building Permit. (Video)
    The owner of the building that houses the Spice and Bar La Tosca would like to widen the steps to a basement unit, in order to rent it to a business. To do so will require some modifications to a small part of Tom Evans Park. Staff also mention other planned modifications to Tom Evans Park, including removal of the middle sidewalk and four 'stressed' trees along the west side of the park.

    There was no opposition to these proposed changes or the encroachment permit to support the wider stairwell.  Motion approving passed 6-0.
  • 32. FEMA Grant Application for Flood Mitigation. (Video)
    The city is applying for over $3 mil in federal dollars to assist with channel modifications to Squaw Creek, in an attempt to control flooding through Ames during times of heavy rain.

    Motion approving resolution passed 6-0.
  • 33. Hearing on Major Site Development Plan (MSDP) for 2151 Cottonwood Road. (Video)
    Council is being asked to approve this MSDP for a 12-unit apartment building west of University Blvd near the Research Park. The design of this unit looks a bit different than most other residential buildings in Ames, with flat roof and corrugated metal siding, but staff feel it will fit into the modern look of the Village Park subdivision.

    If you build stuff that is generic people complain, if you try something new or bold people complain.  The developer in this case wants to try some modern styles and materials including flat roofs and corrugated metal siding and that raised some concerns during the site plan review.  Overall however, staff found the proposal meets the requirements and design guidelines.  Motion approving the Major ite Development Plan passed 6-0.
  • 37. Presentation of 2017 Resident Satisfaction Survey results. (Video)
    Not many surprises in this report, as our annual resident survey continues to show high levels of satisfaction with Ames services. The comments are fun to read, if you want a glimpse into the challenge of governing.

    The 35th Annual Survey was another overwhelmingly positive high five for Ames, just like the 34th.
  • Council Comments (Video)


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