Council to decide on Breckenridge land development


Matthew Rezab/Iowa State Daily

City Manager Steven Schainker listens as the Ames City Council discusses tax abatements at the Tuesday, June 9 meeting.

Shannon Mccarty

The Ames City Council could add more work to its Tuesday agenda if the council approves a new proposal to remedy the situation with Breckenridge Group LLC.

In 2014, the Breckenridge Group filed a lawsuit against the city of Ames after purchasing parcels of land to be developed for student housing, but the council zoned the land residential-low density. Apartment complexes cannot be built on land zoned residential-low density.

If the new proposal is approved, the council will be compelled to perform four actions by Jan. 15, 2016. 

City Council would need to change the land use policy plan, rezone the north lot to higher density, enact tax abatement and approve a Plat of Survey to allow for possible consolidation of lots.

The north lot along Lincoln Way would be the only lot maintained by Breckenridge.  

Breckenridge’s lot would be a mixed use of no more than 422 beds of residential space and 15,000 square-feet of commercial space. Buildings will be no higher than three stories. 

City Manager Steve Schainker said people need to know the extent of development planned for each plot of land.

“How’s it going to be developed or not developed — that’s the key,” Schainker said.

The middle lot at 321 State Ave., better known as the former Ames Middle School, would be sold to the city of Ames for $550,000.

In the future, this lot would be developed for affordable housing and stay less developed.

The southernmost piece of land adjacent to State Road and Mortensen Avenue would continue as undeveloped. Iowa State has a pending purchase for a little more than $1.3 million. The Board of Regents approved the purchase of the 29 acres at its June meeting. Closing of that sale must be no later than Aug. 31.

Iowa State plans to use the land for agricultural purposes in conjunction with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The bike path in this piece of land would stay as is.

If the proposal is denied by the City Council, the city of Ames would then go to court.

The City Council will take all public input and make a decision at its meeting Tuesday, June 28.