Council discusses rental exemptions


Kennedy DeRaedt/Iowa State Daily

(left to right) Mayor John Haila and Chris Nelson, representative of the 4th Ward, listens to staff presentations at the Ames City Council meeting. Ames City Council held a meeting on Jan. 15 in City Hall to discuss the 2019-2024 Capital Improvements Plan. Staff members gave a presentation on their recommendations for the next five years.

Katie Ingle

The Ames City Council continued discussion on a hearing presented last week involving South Campus Area Neighborhood, rental caps and transitional letters of commerce, but come to no conclusion at their Tuesday meeting.

In the previous week’s council meeting, the first hardship exemption related to the current rental cap was discussed. The vote stands invalid due to a procedural error. The item was revisited during Tuesday’s meeting.

South Campus Area Neighborhood (SCAN) is a residential area for community members in Ames. Located near the area known as “Greek Land,” and being home for students belonging to ISU, along with citizens not associated with the university. The motion being discussed impacts the laws involving home rental in this area, making it difficult for students to reside in the area.

The rental cap discussion came out of committee yesterday, but the council is not certain of the results of the committee. Mayor John Haila considered tabling the motion.

“It makes sense to table this and not talk about it until we have some certainty,” Haila said. “We need to wait for it from the state legislature level.”

The discussion mentioned the problem revolving the hesitant vote does not deal with the transitional letters of commerce that would take place. Some residents are attempting to find loopholes in the laws, creating the most primary problems.

The request for an increase in bicycle parking was also discussed within the council. Parking would be increased with commercial and industrial buildings, but it would be more complicated to apply it to residential buildings. The request is to reduce automobile parking to increase bicycle parking.

“If we are going to be a biking community, it should be predictable that I can arrive at a destination with a reasonable expectation of a place to secure my bike,” Ames city councilman Chris Nelson said.

The council decided to offer an option for substitution to the Ames Department of Planning and Housing. The topic will be further discussed at a later date.

Along with other matters, the first reading of the ordinance requesting an adjustment of water rates by 7 percent took place. A presentation was shown about the increase of water rates over the last few years, having a small increase between every year.

“It is really impressive that we have maintained cost controls the way that we have,” Councilman Tim Gartin said, thanking the city of Ames Water Pollution Control Facility.

The council unanimously votes to adopt the first reading of the ordinance to increase water rates by 7 percent. The second reading of this ordinance will take place March 26, and the final reading will take place on April 9. The ordinance will be put into action July 1, 2019.