County Board of Supervisors set to approve pipeline ordinance


Photo courtesy of the Story County website

Story County Board of Supervisors includes Linda Murken, Latifah Faisal and Lisa Heddens.

The Story County Board of Supervisors voted to pass the first reading of an amendment to implement restrictions on the construction of carbon pipelines that would stretch across the county.

Hazardous materials pipelines will have to abide by zoning and permitting requirements, a standard they were previously exempt from. Story County Planning and Development Director Amelia Schoeneman said the amendment aims to only regulate hazardous materials pipelines.

County documents state the amendment was proposed in response to the pipelines. The first reading serves as an opportunity for the supervisors to approve the proposed changes to the ordinance while the county attorney works on final revisions and changes based on the approved alterations.

“This is an ordinance establishing setbacks for hazardous materials pipelines,”  Schoeneman said, “and that can include hazardous gasses or hazardous liquids.”

County supervisors do not have the authority to prevent construction of the pipelines. That power is left for the Iowa Utility Board.

“So what we’re not doing is giving the county the ability to deny the actual hazardous materials pipeline — it’s a principled permitted use that is up to the Iowa Utility Board — we are just regulation setback from resident uses and other use that might be hard to evacuate or might pose risk,” Schoeneman said.

According to county documents, the previous exemption may have been in place to not bar utility providers from providing rural Iowans with water, natural gas and electricity, which are delivered through distribution lines.

Although there are federal standards that regulate setbacks for hazardous materials pipelines, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is currently working on new regulations for pipelines. While the updated numbers are not available yet, Schoeneman said county staff based their limits on scientific articles and analyzing how counties throughout the country regulate distribution pipes.

“We took an article that we felt was most similar to what we might see in Story County and created a formula based on that article’s findings,” Schoeneman said.

Schoeneman said the ordinance could be reassessed when the pipeline administration has announced the new regulations.

Ames Economic Development Commission Update

The board also saw a presentation from the Ames Economic Development Commission, which featured third yearly quarter community reports from Gilbert, Iowa; Roland, Iowa; Colo, Iowa; and Zearing, Iowa.

According to the City of Ames website, the development commission serves to organize and promote sound economic growth in Ames and central Iowa. The report featured economic developments that have been taking place throughout central Iowa.

Greg Piklapp, director of economic development outreach and government relations for the development commission, said Story County is seeing the revitalization of projects put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, citing Roland, Iowa, as an example.

“I had a work session with the city council staff and mayor, and we were able to get a project itinerary going for the past two years that’s been stalled, so the city of Roland is moving forward with the itinerary on replacing the community center, city hall and also looking at the fire department,” Piklapp said.

Piklapp said they are also looking at buildings that are no longer up-to-code, referencing buildings that have been damaged in past derechos.

Nikki Fischer, director of workforce development and diversity for the development commission, reported an unemployment rate of 2.4% across the county for August — a decrease from 2021’s 3.3%.

“We’re one of the lowest counties,” Fischer said. “It’s not about people not working, it’s just [about] bringing in more people.”

Fischer said a retraining initiative held over the summer quarter saw only four students.

“It is definitely as many students that we’ve had; I don’t know if over the summer people were not wanting to do school,” Fischer said. “It was definitely a struggle.”

The retraining initiative saw a phlebotomy student, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) student, a student studying informational technologies and a student studying industrial electrical maintenance, all of whom are from Ames.

Fischer said the commission is looking for an instructor to start a welding course this fall to further expand their efforts in retraining Iowa’s workforce.

Prospectively, Piklapp said the development commission plans to return the Iowa Rural Summit to Ames, hold new outreach events in smaller cities, hold four community showcase events once per yearly quarter and take suggestions and feedback for the next economic development summit.


The board proclaimed October to be Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

“Individuals with Down syndrome should have equal opportunity to achieve the universally desired goals of self-fulfillment, pride in their achievements, inclusion in their community and reach their fullest potential,” said Latifah Faisal, chair of the Story County Board of Supervisors.

The board also proclaimed Nov. 7-13 as Operation Green Light Week.

“In observance of Operation Green Light, Story County encourages its citizens in patriotic tradition to recognize the importance of honoring all those who made immeasurable sacrifices to preserve freedom by displaying a green light in a window of their place of business or residence,” Faisal said.

The board is set to reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday.