City Council to Meet on March 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 (03/09/21)
  • Claims
  • February Revenues
  • February Treasurer’s Report
  • Liquor License Renewal, Quail Creek Golf Course
  • Pay Application #3, Ranshaw House Phase 2 Project, Wolfe Contracting Inc., $39,781.25
  • Pay Application #7, Southwest Growth Area Utilities Project, Boomerang Corporation, $242,448.16
  • Pay Application #16, Police Station Project, Tricon General Construction, $15,754.80
  • Pay Application #17, Police Station Project, Tricon General Construction, $55,466.20

Dubuque Street, Phase One Compensation Estimates

At its March 9th session, the Council approved the use of the compensation estimate process in lieu of formal appraisals for the acquisition of certain property interests which are necessary for the Dubuque Street Phase One Project, and which are relatively minor or uncomplicated. The next step in this process is consideration of a resolution that establishes just compensation for each such parcel and authorizes the City Attorney to begin negotiations for their acquisition. The valuation of each parcel is based on the zoning classification of each parcel, the type of property interest to be acquired, and the value per square foot of nearby properties which were appraised for the same project. Staff recommends approval of the resolution.

Greenbelt Trail Rezoning, 3rd Reading

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.

Greenbelt Trail Preliminary Plat, Parts 2-7

Greenbelt Trail II, LLC is requesting preliminary plat approval to allow 59.48 acres – west of North Liberty Road and east of the Arlington Ridge Subdivision – to be developed with 130 single-family dwellings and related infrastructure.  The companion request to rezone the property to RS-6 is on the agenda for third consideration.  Notably, the preliminary plat excludes 7.36 acres of the Greenbelt Trail property adjacent to North Liberty Road.  This is due to a forthcoming rezoning request to RD-10-Two Unit Residence District.  A good neighbor meeting was held on December 29, 2020 to discuss the rezoning and preliminary plat.  The virtual meeting was very well attended, mostly by residents of the Arlington Ridge Subdivision.  Topics of discussion included subdivision layout, development phasing, subdivision covenants, traffic calming and deterring construction traffic.  Most of the concerns were answered at the meeting and staff worked with the developer’s design team to incorporate traffic calming measures within the subdivision. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the request at its March 2, 2021 meeting.  One Commissioner expressed a preference for the wide trail to be incorporated into the storm water detention area.  As discussed at the meeting, it was not feasible to incorporate the trail into the detention area based on how that area functions as a storm water management facility. It is staff’s opinion that the preliminary plat meets Ordinance requirements, and therefore, warrants approval.

Red Fern Dog Park Rezoning, 3rd Reading

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 (Signs) Ordinance Amendment, 3rd Reading

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, 3rd Reading

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)

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 at the April 13th Council meeting.

Centennial Park Road Project

The agenda includes a design proposal from Shive Hattery for the Centennial Park Road Project, which is slated for the FY22 budget year. With North Liberty Blues and BBQ canceled this year, staff is recommending expediting this project so that it can be completed prior to and without interference with the 2022 event. Shive Hattery has agreed to delay billing until July so that no costs will be paid until FY22. Total project cost is estimated at $667k, with $84k for deign. Staff recommends approval of the proposal, so this project can begin immediately.

Forevergreen Road Trail Reconstruction Project

The Forevergreen Road Trail Reconstruction project, also an FY22 project, consists of removing and replacing an existing piece of the Forevergreen Road Trail, just west of Keystone?  Living, in order to remedy a low-lying, unsafe piece of the trail. Again, staff is proposing to expedite this project with the intent to have it competed prior to the end of the year. And again, Shive Hattery has agreed to delay billing until July so that expenses remain in FY22. The anticipated project cost is $147k, with $20k for design. Staff recommends approval of the proposal.

IDOT Maintenance Agreement

This is a standard agreement that the IDOT asked communities across the state who have state owned highways and bridges within their community to approve. The agreement outlines the maintenance and repair responsibilities of the IDOT as well as of the City. The City Attorney has reviewed this agreement and staff recommends approval.

Utility Franchise Fee

Over the last couple of years, the City Council has had discussions about implementing a franchise fee. Most recently, the City Council identified as a priority, making a decision about a franchise fee, in its 2020 Strategic Planning Session. To help facilitate this discussion and decision, the packet includes the following documents:

  1. A draft ordinance amendment, revising the franchise fee language in three different chapters of the Code.
  2. A draft Revenue Purpose Statement, identifying parks and trails projects as those eligible for the use of franchise fee funds.
  3. A document identifying the cities in Iowa that currently utilize a gas and/or electric franchise fee and the respective rates for each.
  4. A spreadsheet outlining revenue projections (1%-2%) if NL were to adopt a franchise fee and sample data as to how the fee would impact a specific household.
  5. A spreadsheet summarizing the parks and trails projects in the FY22-FY26 CIP, including anticipated project costs.
Google Translate