Affordable housing, airports and garbage containers, oh my!

The Ames City Council begins at 7:00 PM  May 12th.  The agenda includes items:

  • 42. Report on curbside garbage container options. In some neighborhoods garbage containers remain at the street longer than some may desire. Enforcing existing ordinances on this front is on a complaint basis, but this can be unfair and inconsistent in its results.

  • 43. Affordable housing redevelopment of 519 - 521 6th Street. The City of Ames may support a Request for Proposal for an affordable housing project across from City Hall. As such housing is desperately needed, this represents and exciting opportunity for those in need of housing and the private sector to bring their skills to bear on this problem.

  • 44. Staff Report on Right-of-Way Improvements. Recently the Ames City Council made headway on infrastructure in new subdivisions. However, there was not support for requiring sidewalks on both sides of the street in industrial areas. As sidewalks give safe access to those in our community who cannot afford vehicles, or choose to use other transportation modes for reasons of health or sustainability, safe and reasonable access to all parts of the community is important. Large, noisy and dangerous traffic permeates industrial areas. In the winter, when the roads are icy and slushy, having safe sidewalk infrastructure on both sides of the road has great value to those who need it. Not supporting such infrastructure can marginalize some members of our community.

  • 46. Resolution approving location for Ames Municipal Airport terminal building and hangar. Details on the $2.4 million dollar investment by the City of Ames in a new Airport Terminal. Why is $2.4 million the right number you might ask? I wouldn't know, the question has never been answered.

  • 50. Hearing on Grant Avenue (Hyde Avenue) Pavement Improvements. First bill coming for northern growth, and its higher than expected.

Ames First Roundabout: Ames Bicycle Coalition multimodal ideas are considered by council.


The Ames City Council begins at 7:00 PM  March 3rd.  The agenda includes:

Public Input on Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) and Budget


The Ames City Council begins at 5:15 PM  Feb 10th.  The agenda includes:


Budget wrap-up

  • Item 1 -- Council Budget Presentations for Arts Funding (COTA), Human Services (ASSET), Public Art and Outside Funding Requests

  • Item 2 -- Public Input on Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) and Budget

    • Flood Mitigation-While I have been opposed to this project since council first included it in the CIP 2 years ago, staff added new information to the discussion in the last 2 weeks. It appears there may be a cost savings to the Grand Avenue Extension resulting from the flood mitigation work that could more than offset the local match. The council has the opportunity tonight to wait on the design of the mitigation project until the results of the Grand Avenue savings can be determined. This seems a reasonable course.

    • I love this graph. You can see exactly where your dollars go. If you have a $250,000 house take the numbers and multiply them by 2.5 and that is the city portion you pay for that service.


Regular City Council meeting will immediately follow Budget Wrap-Up.


Council Considers Front-yard Parking

The Ames City Council begins at 7:00 PM  December 9th.  The agenda includes:

  • Item 6 -- Requests for Ames 150 Sesquicentennial Platting Day in Downtown Ames, December 17.This is the final event in the Ames 150 Celebration: Happy Birthday to You Ames, you are looking so spry!

  • Item 11 -- Hearing on Zoning Ordinance text amendment to Section 29.401(4)(b) to increase allowable height for certain architectural features in all zoning districts. We have been receiving many emails and letters on this issue. The staff recommends for the zoning change, to allow for taller architectural elements in residential areas but the Planning & Zoning Commission recommended against the amendment due to the amendments not coming from a change in community perspective, but rather one property owners unwillingness to design a project which meets existing city codes.

  • Item 12 -- Hearing on Zoning Ordinance text amendment to Section 29.406(7) to include an allowance for front-yard parking in limited circumstances. This is a very similar story to that above. Another developer desires a certain layout of parking, and rather than adjusting their project to meet code, they are asking to change city code. These kinds of requests utilize a lot of City of Ames staff time.

  • Item 23 -- Resolution approving Final Plat for Prairie Village Subdivision (1204 South 4th Street adjacent to Riverside Manor). While the use is allowed, there are risks with regards to altering flood patterns in the neighborhood. Any change made to the current plat that could yield a new risk to nearby neighborhoods should be taken extremely seriously.


  • Item 24 -- Follow-up report on HIRTA Demand Response Facilitation discussions Open Meetings request. The City of Ames unanimously recommended that these discussions be open to the public, while the facilitator in the process preferred a closed setting to enhance the forthrightness of the conversations. Not surprisingly, the Story County Board of Supervisors preferred less transparency in these discussions and are unwilling to open them to the public. 

  • Item 26 -- Progress report from Sustainability Coordinator regarding July - December 2014 activities. This cooperative effort is a valuable one, let's see what progress we have been making at leveraging resources in more efficient and sustainable ways.

  • Item 27 -- Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The response plan removing Ash trees in Ames, if approved, will begin immediately.

  • Item 28 -- Resolution approving Federal Airport Improvement Program. The City of Ames municipal airport serves many different clients. Conversations with Iowa State University show that they view its operations as an important part of the economic development resources for the ISU Research Park. As such, the City of Ames may need to consider the airport in the context, not only of hobbyist pilots, but also as an economic development asset. However, as we are not made of money, we may need to pull back on other economic development investments. As of late, The City of Ames has been on an economic development/corporate welfare roll: $1,000,000 plus for Deery Bros., over $2,000,000 for Kingland Systems, around $1,000,000 for the South Bell TIF park, and millions and millions committed to the ISU research park. The council might benefit from considering how never-ending incentives can be less money for the amenities that its residents desire. Improving the airport may be a good economic development investment and, with the right contributions by Iowa State University, could even fund itself through increased fuel and lease revenues, but the quality of life of Ames residents is our charge, and all choices should be considered in this context because most of us don't fly planes.

  • Item 29 -- Judicial Determination of Preemption of Lap Dance Ordinance. This one will be an interesting one. We haven't seen a meeting like this since Dangerous Curves was allowed to enter the Campustown market in 2005. It closed quickly thereafter. Here is a quote from that meeting from my 33-year old self: “Council Member Goodman pointed out that there are many bars in the area of Campustown where dancing that might be construed as erotic or sensual, although not paid for...occur.” 

    Probably still true...but now, I go to bed too early to know.