Breckenridge reappears at City Council


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Tim Gartin, Ward Two representative, and Ames City Council discussed a proposed resolution to the lawsuit filed last November by Texas-based Breckenridge Group regarding properties it has been trying to rezone for the construction of student housing Aug. 26 at Ames City Hall.

Makayla Tendall

Breckenridge Group and Ames citizens clashed again after the development company returned to this week’s City Council meeting with a master plan for developing a parcel of land on State Avenue.

The motion will be brought up at the next meeting since it failed to pass. 

“I don’t feel comfortable moving forward with a first hearing,” said Coucilwoman Gloria Betcher. “I can’t tell what the developer has agreed to.”

At the Aug. 12 meeting, the council suggested Breckenridge Group, a Texas-based development company, should come back to this week’s meeting with a master plan of how it would develop the land, through which College Creek and a bike path run.

The master plan stated that they would develop no more than 450 beds on 15 to 17 acres of the land. The company had not declared the exact number of net acres they would develop. Due to the geography and slope of the land, some parts may not be developable, meaning the number of developable acres could decrease while the number of beds would stay the same. This would mean about 10 housing units per net acre.

Ames residents are confused as to the type of housing and whether parcels would be low-density residential housing or floating suburban, low-density, residential housing. The engineer Breckenridge is using said the latter would allow for more unique housing and fewer beds.

Another concern is the currently residential area would become overly-congested. Traffic would also increase in the area where middle school students use streets and sidewalks to walk to school.

Talk of a traffic circle on State Avenue and Mortensen Road was also discussed. But Betcher said it is unclear whether Breckenridge would pay for traffic solutions or just signage.

“We are going above and beyond by agreeing to things we don’t need to agree to,” said Brian Torresi, a representative from the Davis Brown Law Firm, which represents Breckenridge.

In other news, Mayor Ann Campbell proclaimed September the School Attendance Awareness Month after representatives from the Ames school district and community members drew attention to the importance of school attendance.

The council approved an agreement to fund $315,150 for an engineering firm to study the environment and natural resources on a portion of Grand Avenue that will be developed.