City Council discusses multi-million dollar revenue project for Lincoln Way development


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Ames City Council watching a presentation on The Linc, a development project on Lincoln Way.

The Ames City Council saw a presentation regarding a project aimed to revitalize the downtown, bringing new businesses and housing to Ames.

The Linc project is a part of the city’s Downtown Gateway Focus Area within the Lincoln Way Corridor Plan. New development would include a boutique hotel, a hotel restaurant and a mixed-use building which will include housing and a parking structure.

The overall project will bring the city in at least $10 million through tax increment financing. Kelly Diekmann, planning and housing director for the city, said the city aims to keep the housing affordable.

Phase one includes the aforementioned amenities, and phase two includes an office building, a plaza, additional parking and a mixed-use residential building. Phase two may also bring a new pedestrian bridge, which would go over the railroad tracks to connect to a parking ramp, if the proper permits and zoning requirements can be met by the city.

The council took no action in regard to The Linc, but the council will have to vote on a development agreement on Oct. 25, at the next City Council meeting.

Resident Satisfaction Survey

The council saw a presentation on resident satisfaction, which utilized 392 returned surveys out of 1,350 sent out randomly to utility bill customers, and 1,000 sent to Iowa State University students.

The survey asks respondents what the city should spend more, less or the same amount of money on. Most respondents voted to increase funding for the human service agency ASSET, and law enforcement received the most requests for a decrease in funding.

The council voted to approve a preliminary plat for the North Dayton Industrial Park subdivision. Paul Readhead, a board member of the Izaak Walton League,  said they were concerned about the potential change in water quality the area might see due to development.

Readhead was joined by one other member of the Walton League, an organization which according to their website aims to conserve, restore, and promote the sustainable use and enjoyment of our natural resources. Readhead said despite not being a stakeholder in the land affected, he is still concerned about the quality of the land.

An adjacent land owner to the property was also concerned the new development would change the water flow, as they have agricultural assets set up on their land which rely on the natural stream of water. The city and developers said they will remain within legal limits while respecting the requests of existing landowners.

Tracy Peterson, municipal engineer for the City of Ames, said concerns around water quality change after development.

Peterson said as the site is currently an agricultural field, the types of water contamination there differ as opposed to when the lot is developed, which may introduce hydrocarbons and oils from vehicles. Peterson said winter time may also increase the amount of pollutants introduced to the surrounding water.

Parking Rates

The council moved to reduce regulations on the parking rate for specific lots once a quota of parking spaces have been achieved to reduce the number of required lots to repurpose the space.

According to a city staff report on the parking rate reduction, this option staff proposes creating a possible reduction for all commercial or industrial uses that exceed 100 parking stalls. The reduction would allow for the planning director to waive up to 20% of the total required parking stalls, but not less than 100 spaces.

The council voted to adjust city ordinance in line with legislation passed which limits how much city governments can regulate home-based businesses. Council’s vote moved city staff to begin drafting an ordinance that would provide business owners with a “by right” claim on criteria that can not be overstepped by any city regulations.

The council also moved to reject the bid on the Ames Electric Power Plant renovations project. According to city documents, City Manager Steve Schainker suggested the council reject the bid so city staff can attempt to decrease the proposed cost to the city.