Upcoming rental ordinance workshop seeks to address existing issues in ordinance


Sam Greene/Iowa State Daily

Mayor John Halia and At-Large Representative Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen listen during a City Council meeting on Jan. 16, 2018.

Chris Anderson

Ames City Council will be holding a workshop on March 20 aimed at continuing the discussion of addressing issues pertaining to the recently adopted rental housing ordinance.

The council held their last workshop discussing the ordinance on Feb. 21. This first workshop saw the council move forward on addressing a number of issues related to the ordinance.

Motions passed at the Feb. 21 workshop included:

  • A motion to maintain parking regulations in moratorium areas only.
  • A motion tying the occupancy limit of properties to the current number of bedrooms, allowing developers to add bedrooms but not occupants.
  • A motion to disallow the expansion of the footprint of a structure or the enclosure of a portion of a structure, such as a porch.
  • The decision to implement a drafted ordinance to exclude dependents over the age of 18 from adding to the number of adult occupants in a rental property.
  • The decision to direct city staff to look at how current penalties for rental properties owners work before changing any penalties.
  • The decision to regulate Airbnbs in the same manner as other rental properties.
  • A motion to make it so “roomers” can only live with the owner if the owner lives in the property in question.

Despite the progress made, it became clear during this workshop that a second workshop would be needed, which was scheduled for March 20.

Things the council is hoping to address in the upcoming workshop include what rental overlays should look like, whether rental occupancy limits should be put in effect citywide or only in specific zones, and whether or not the moratorium on rental properties should be extended.

The purpose of these workshops is not to put in place any immediate changes, but rather to discuss what a more finished rental ordinance would look like before making any actual changes at future meetings.

In addition to discussing these issues in the March 20 meeting, the council will hear public input from members of the community. Council Member Tim Gartin praised the way the community came together during the last workshop and thanked the community for the large amount of input the council received on the issue.