City Council bans e-cigs, OKs Acacia house demolition



Christie Smith

Council members discussed the demolition of a greek house and an e-cigarette ban at an Ames City Council meeting Tuesday night.

The council voted 6-0 on the first passage of an ordinance pertaining to electronic cigarette and nicotine delivery systems use in Ames.

The council first discussed a potential e-cigarette ban at its meeting Dec. 8, 2015. Several residents, including many students from Iowa State, attended the meeting to voice their support for such a ban.

In December, the Council directed the city attorney to draft an ordinance prohibiting e-cigarette use in public places.

The ordinance, which council members voted on Tuesday, will ban e-cigarettes in all public places where cigarette use is already prohibited under the Smokefree Air Act, with an exception for e-cigarette stores.

Iowa State University enacted an e-cigarette ban on campus this month. Many students attended Tuesday’s meeting to support the ban and ask that the city enact a ban consistent with the university’s ban.

The council also voted 5-1 to pass a resolution approving a demolition request for the Acacia fraternity house.

The Acacia house, built in 1920, is currently home to 29 of the 45 fraternity members. The Corporate Board of the Acacians requested permission to demolish the house with the hopes to build a new house that could accommodate up to 42 members.

In order to approve the demolition of a greek home, the council had to find that the house could not be used for the original intended purpose and/or that no reasonable alternative use can be identified.

Sam Schulte, ex-officio representative, said that the Acacia house’s inability to accommodate each of the 45 members clearly meets the criteria for demolition.

The Acacia house is located in the greek neighborhood south of campus, which is in an area of the city designated as the East University Impacted Area Overlay District created to preserve the historic and diverse architecture.

The council also voted 6-0 to pass a resolution to approve a contract with Houseal Lavigne Associates from Chicago to begin plans for the Lincoln Way corridor.

The Lincoln Way corridor will include housing and commercial properties. The city of Ames sent requests to 29 consulting firms requesting proposals for the project. Seven of the 29 firms responded to the request.

The planning and zoning commission ranked the seven responding firms based on their qualifications and experience in certain areas including urban design, architecture and multi-modal transportation.

The top three firms were invited to Ames to present their proposals to the commission. The three firms were then evaluated again. Houseal Lavigne Associates was chosen by the commission as most qualified for the project, despite the fact that its fee proposal was the highest at $86,140 (the lowest fee proposal was $78,500).

Council members discussed continuing lease agreements for several parks in Ames.

Five parks, or portions of parks, have been leased from Iowa State for more than 40 years. These leases expired March 1, 2015, but were amended to extend to Jan. 31, 2016.

The city has met with ISU representatives to renew the leases on the parks in question: Brookside, Franklin, McDonald Woods, Stuart Smith and Zumwalt Trail Railroad.

The new lease agreement includes several changes, including a change in rent fees from $1 annually to free of charge based on the city’s commitment to maintain the parks.

The new lease agreement would extend to Jan. 1, 2066. The council voted 6-0 to pass a resolution to approve the lease agreement. The Board of Regents will take action on the leases at its February meeting.