City Council to Meet on Feb. 23, 2021

Included in each City Council information packet is a memo from the City Administrator offering a summary and context of items appearing on the agenda. We will begin publishing these memos here in our news feed to make them more accessible. You can sign up to be notified of news items, agendas and more by email.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health and safety concerns require City of North Liberty public meetings to be held electronically, so as to limit the spread of the virus. The public is invited to submit questions and comments in advance of the meeting for consideration submitting them to the City Clerk Tracey Mulcahey via email at [email protected].

This meeting may be accessed live by the public on the internet at northlibertyiowa.org/live.


Meeting Note

Tuesday’s meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and live streamed at Watch Meetings Live as well as available on the website. The City Council and participants will log into the meeting in order to conduct business while the public will be able to watch the debate and decisions being made.

Consent Agenda

The following items are on the consent agenda and included in the packet:

  • City Council Minutes (02/09/21)
  • Claims
  • January Revenues
  • January Treasurer’s Report

Project Better Together

Mark Nolte, Kate Moreland, Kim Casko and Josh Schamburger, all representing Project Better Together, will join the Council meeting to provide an update on the group’s work. Councilor Smith and I are participating members of the Project Better Together Committee.

Greenbelt Trail Rezoning

Greenbelt Trail II, LLC is requesting a zoning map amendment to allow 66.84 acres – west of North Liberty Road and east of the Arlington Ridge Subdivision – to be developed with approximately 150 single-family dwellings and related infrastructure. The request is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use designation, which is Residential. It is staff’s opinion that the RS-6 zoning is compatible with surrounding properties as a portion of Arlington Ridge subdivision to the west and all of Greenbelt Trail – Part One to the south are zoned RS-6 . The Planning Commission recommended approval of the request at its February 2, 2021 meeting. Notably, one Commissioner expressed a concern with the RS-6 zoning as it allows for smaller lot sizes than RS-4 zoning. Staff noted that the draft preliminary plat depicts most lots exceeding the RS-6 lot size requirements. However, since all lots do not meet RS-4 lot size requirements, the developer selected the RS-6 zoning. Staff recommends approval of the zoning change request.

Red Fern Dog Park Rezoning

This is a staff initiated zoning map amendment for the 11.04 acre dog park, located on North Liberty Road. This is a clean-up of the zoning map as the property is already developed as a park and the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use designation is Parks and Recreation. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the request at its February 2, 2021 meeting. Staff recommends approval of the zoning change as well.

Zoning Code Amendment, Signs

This is a staff initiated amendment to specific elements of the Sign Ordinance, which are generally more permissive in nature. Changes include amending directional signs to meet contemporary practices and specifying when a permit is not required, relocating the window sign text to a more appropriate section and providing for real estate signs to be for one size (as opposed to a sliding scale) depending on the zoning district. Notably, staff is proposing to remove the regulation which allows real estate signs to be placed in the right-of-way on a temporary basis. The zoning ordinance is not intended to regulate uses in the right-of-way and the precedent of allowing any private sign in the right-of- way is concerning. The last change includes amending construction activity signs to meet contemporary practices and specifying that a permit is not required. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the request at its February 2, 2021 meeting. Staff recommends approval of the zoning change as well.

Dog Park Membership Ordinance

This ordinance establishes that as of June 1, 2021, memberships are required for use of the Red Fern Dog Park (and any future designated off-leash areas) and sets forth requirements for those memberships. The ordinance allows for the City to establish a fee structure for memberships by resolution and provides basic rules for conduct to ensure public safety. Staff will bring forward a resolution with the above proposed rates when the third reading of the ordinance is considered.

Residency Spayed or NeuteredCost of Annual Dog Park MembershipCost of Annual Pet LicensingTotal Cost
North Liberty ResidentYes$30 (prorated)$2
Required to possess pet license in North Liberty.
$32 (prorated)
North Liberty ResidentNo$30 (prorated)$25
Required to possess pet license in North Liberty.
$55 (prorated)
Not a North Liberty ResidentNA$34 (prorated)
Contact your municipality for more information
$34 (prorated)

IDOT Agreement

The Iowa Department of Transportation has recently installed temporary signals at the new Forevergreen Road interchange ramps. As part of an upcoming phase of the 80/380 project, sometime in 2021, permanent signals will be installed. The proposed agreement states that the IDOT will install, at no cost to the City, adaptive technology with these signals so that they can communicate with existing and future signals throughout North Liberty. Staff recommends approval.

South Slope Agreement

The City has acquired a parcel of land west of I-380 as part of the Southwest Growth Area Utility project, for the purpose of housing a sanitary sewer lift station. South Slope has asked to lease a 36’ by 48’ plot of ground within that parcel to construct a building that will house telecommunications equipment. A version of this agreement was included on the September 27, 2020 agenda but removed prior to the meeting. The original agreement provided terms for a ground lease only and did not include language regarding shared construction and maintenance costs. After additional consideration it was determined that one agreement combining the lease and construction/maintenance terms, rather than two separate agreements, made more sense. The proposed agreement includes a 25-year lease at $1,000/year with a 10% rate increase every five years, which is identical to the previous version. The added section calls for a cost share for the purchase of a generator and for construction of a driveway. Additionally, the agreement provides for cost sharing for the future maintenance of the generator and driveway. If approved by the City Council, South Slope will reemit payment of nearly $60,000 for the initial construction costs. This collaboration is a great example of a public/private partnership that will save money for both tax payers and South Slope members. Staff recommends approval of the agreement.

Assessment Resolution

Included on the agenda is an assessment resolution for fees associated with snow removal. This resolution includes four properties totaling $302.50. Staff have not been actively looking for uncleared sidewalks; rather, properties have been identified by concerned citizens. This year, a high volume of calls have been received from citizens concerned about uncleared sidewalks.

FY22 Budget

The agenda includes a public hearing and resolution regarding the maximum levy for the FY22 budget. This public hearing is relatively new to the budget process (2nd year) as a result of state legislation passed in 2019. The published notice (included in the packet) compares the FY21 general fund levy revenues and tax rate to FY 22. The City’s general fund levy revenues will increase from $9.369 million to $10.017 million, equating to 6.9%. Since revenues are increasing by more than 2%, the accompanying resolution will require a super majority vote of the City Council in order to proceed to the final approval of the FY 22 budget. The March 9 Council agenda will include another public hearing and resolution adopting the FY22 budget.

And finally, included in the packet are the final budget documents reflecting the City Council’s previous discussions.

St. Andrews Drive Project

Shive-Hattery alerted staff that the City’s contractor erred when installing the trail along the southeastern quadrant of the St. Andrews Drive roundabout. The trail was installed too far to the south and east and extends outside the City’s right of way by several inches. Acquiring additional right of way is the most economical way to correct the error, rather than removing and reinstalling the trail. Watts Group Development, as owners of the property, have agreed to transfer additional right of way to the City to correct the issue. The payment of $1,000.00 is calculated to compensate for the real property being taken, and for the additional engineering and legal work imposed upon Watts Group as a result of the error. Shive-Hattery has withheld $1,000.00 from the retainage of the contractor to fully offset the City’s expense. Staff recommends approval.

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