Preview: City Council to discuss rental cap Tuesday


City Council meeting with Ames residents in regard to the 2014 stormwater ordinance at a workshop on Tuesday night. 

Devyn Leeson

Ames City Council will meet on Tuesday to discuss a rental cap proposal that would limit the number of homes that can be rented out in neighborhoods surrounding Iowa State.

The ordinance would set that limit at 25 percent of homes, a point that some community members say would restrict low income and minority students.

“I’m curious about the potential impacts this decision could have on low income groups, minorities and people of color,” said Joel Hochstein of the Ames Human Relations Commission at the May 8 meeting. “I’ve been following this discussion for quite some time, and I haven’t heard about any research done about unintended consequences on minority populations.”

Another community member at the meeting said the cap would force them to change their future plans.

“We purchased our house with the hope of renting it out one day,” said Morgan Johnston, a homeowner on Lynn Avenue. “We’ve built investments into this house. We think the rental cap takes away from the goals of the property owners. A lot of the support comes from the other part of the neighborhood where the percentage of rentals are below the cap.”

Other community members said that they wanted the changes.

“We like it and are planning to stay there,” said Marsha Miller, an Ames community member who lives on Stanton Ave. “We realize the neighborhood is desirable to students, but it’s desirable for us too. We’re really hoping this cap will help stabilize the neighborhood.”

Last year, City Council passed a rental ordinance limiting the number of renters based on the number of bedrooms in the house.

The changes say that up to three people could live in two or three bedroom rental homes while four and five bedroom homes could have one renter per bedroom.

The council will also vote on multiple ordinances relating to zoning laws for the second time and will have hearings on an end of year budget amendment, zoning laws and issues related to an Ames power plant.


Talon Delaney contributed reporting to this article.