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Ames accepts Climate Action Plan, settles with Outlaws for liquor license

The+Ames+City+Councils+Climate+Action+Plan+is+a+framework+and+action+plan+that+outlines+the+guiding+principles+and+resulting+action+plan+needed+to+reduce+greenhouse+gas+emissions+in+Ames%2C+according+to+the+citys+website.
Daniel Jacobi
The Ames City Council’s Climate Action Plan is a framework and action plan that outlines the guiding principles and resulting action plan needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ames, according to the city’s website.

The Ames City Council voted 5-0 to accept the Climate Action Plan (CAP), which is not a commitment to do everything in the plan, as the city prepares to bring implementation steps before the council. 

Ames City Manager Steve Schainker said the council had the desire for certain climate goals and they now have to consider affordability.

“How far and how fast you choose to go with implementing will be up to the City Council,” Schainker said. “That determination will be made each year.”

Ward 1 Rep. Gloria Betcher, who is also an English professor at Iowa State, said accepting differs from adopting or approving.

“I think it’s a good example of how people confuse the words, accept, approve and adopt,” Betcher said. “It’s been delivered to us and we’re having a discussion about it, but we’ll be voting on whether to accept it or not.”

According to previous reporting by the Daily, the plan is broken down into “six big moves”:

  • New net-zero constructions
  • Building retrofits
  • Reducing vehicle emissions
  • Reducing waste emissions
  • Renewable energy
  • Increasing active and transit transportation use

The plan proposes to accomplish these moves through seven action steps:

  • Increase wind and solar generation 
  • Waste to Energy improvements to help reduce waste emissions
  • New construction (including one, two or all three of the following)
    • Changes to the Zoning Ordinance to include specific design features that support being both net-zero ready and passive building design
    • Requiring net-zero ready and passive design as part of annexation and contract rezoning
    • Implementing a new tax abatement program to incentivize new construction to be net-zero ready and passive design
  • Implement a pilot program to incentivize retrofitting older homes in the Ames Electric Services territory
  • Retrofit municipal buildings and hire a consultant to conduct a study of each building and provide recommendations for a long-range capital improvements plan for these projects
  • Electrify the non-CyRide municipal fleet as technology and availability allow
  • Create a Mayor’s CAP Leadership Task Force from the various public and private entities that are crucial to meeting the City Council’s carbon reduction goals

Assistant City Manager Deb Schildroth said this is where “the pavement meets the road.”

“There are a lot of factors out there that will be influencing this along the way,” Schildroth said. “I think it’s really important for us to remain nimble [and] for us to remain flexible.” 

Schainker also told the council that this is a plan and that they will adopt the final policy.

“Always understand the cost it will be to our citizens [and] our businesses,” Schainker said. “That has to do with equity too right? We don’t want to make a city where no one can afford to live.”

Ward 2 Rep. Tim Gartin, who is not running for reelection, said he hopes the CAP is an election issue this fall for those who supported it.

This November, the Ward 2, Ward 4 and at-large seats are up for election. Ward 4 is currently represented by Rachel Junck and the at-large seat is represented by Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen. 

Betcher encouraged residents to continue giving feedback throughout the implementation process, which can be done by emailing [email protected].

The complete plan can be accessed here.  

Outlaws

In November 2022, the Ames City Council voted 5-1 to deny Outlaws a renewed liquor license after two failed compliance checks, 15 on-site citations and an ex-employee telling the council about employees colluding to let minors into the bar. 

According to previous reporting by the Daily, Ames Police Chief Geoff Huff advised the council to deny the renewal after “substantial evidence” was collected by police. 

“I have never in my career seen the employees colluding to let minors in, and I’ve been doing this 28 years,” Huff said in November. “It is difficult for me to make a recommendation other than no renewal when employees are actively working against the system to keep minors out of the bar.”

According to city documents, Outlaws has appealed the decision to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) and is still in the appeal process. Ames City Attorney Mark Lambert said if the settlement was not agreed to, it “puts us in a position of litigation with ABD.”

Huff advised the council to accept the proposed settlement in exchange for approving an eight-month liquor license Tuesday. 

The proposed settlement comes after Outlaws passed two compliance checks, changed management, had no on-site citations, used handheld ID scanners and took additional measures in the time since the council did not approve the license renewal. 

The settlement outlines five remedies that the city could use for failure to maintain compliance:

  • Failure of any compliance check during the 8-month license period will result in the initiation of revocation proceedings.
  • If five or more minor on-premises violations are issued at Outlaws in a 24-hour period, a report will be made to the Ames City Council regarding the number of violations.
  • Any other serious violations that occur on the premises will also be reported to the Ames City Council.
  • The Ames City Council has the authority to suspend a license, revoke a license, or impose a civil penalty for violations of Iowa Code Chapter 123 and/or violations of the Ames Municipal Code.
  • If city staff observes that the changed business practices are not being maintained, a report will be made to the City Council to consider taking action on the license.

Huff said if Ames city staff observe a discontinuation in the business practices that Outlaws has made since the license was not renewed, then they would approach the council for action. 

The council approved the settlement and the eight-month liquor license 5-0. 

“Trust me that over that eight-month period, we’ll be keeping an eye on things,” Huff said.

Additional Measures 

Ames Police Department Cmdr. Jason Tuttle was presented the Award of Valor for his actions during the Cornerstone Church shooting in 2022. According to previous reporting by the Daily, he was at the church for an elder meeting at the time of the shooting and took necessary action when he heard gunshots.

Notably, Mayor John Haila and Ward 4 Rep. Rachel Junck were absent from the meeting as they were in Japan celebrating 30 years of sister cityhood with Koshu City. In Haila’s absence, Betcher served as mayor pro-temp. 

 

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