City Council to Meet on May 11, 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

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 (04/27/21)
  • Claims
  • Change Order #2, NL Aquatic Center HVAC Replacement, Apex Construction Company, $47,306.63

Outreach & Equity Coordinator

The Outreach and Equity Coordinator position is new within the Comminutions Department budget and funded in the FY22 budget. At Tuesday’s meeting, Communications Director Nick Bergus and Library Director Jennie Garner will present the job description to the City Council. Included in the packet is the job description along with a memo from Mr. Bergus, providing additional information and expectations of this position. There is no action item slated for this topic. Unless there is a consensus objection to moving forward, staff intends to proceed with filling the position in January.

Social Services Funding Awards

The agenda includes a resolution allocating funding to the 19 social service agencies that presented to Council on April 27. Funding awards total $135,000, which reflects the budgeted amount for FY22. Staff recommends approval of the resolution.

Utility Franchise Fee Ordinance, 3rd & Final Reading

Tuesday’s agenda includes the third consideration of an ordinance adjusting the current utility franchise fee from 0% to 2%. The previously approved Revenue Purpose Statement requires all revenues generated from this fee to be used for parks and trail projects in North Liberty. It is anticipated that the utility companies will implement the fee in August.

Livestock Ordinance Amendment, 2nd Reading

The revised draft of the proposed ordinance includes the amendment approved by the City Council on April 27, which is to allow the entire rear yard to be an unenclosed pen. While not included in the approved amendment, the need to clarify that a chicken coop may be up to 8’ in height and wire may be used as a material was discussed at the last meeting. Staff has incorporated language clarifying height, permitted construction materials, dimensions, and locations of chicken coops. If City Council is agreeable to the changes, there would need to be a vote to approve the amendment.

Upon further review of other provisions of the ordinance, staff is proposing to replace the term City Clerk with Zoning Administrator or Designee to reflect standard operating procedures. Other provisions that were proposed for amendment remain, including the deletion of noise and odor provisions that are duplicative of other code sections, elimination of the banding requirement for each bird, and requiring only one wing to be clipped.

Greenbelt Trail Rezoning Request, 2nd Reading

Greenbelt Trail II, LLC is requesting a zoning map amendment to RD-10 to allow 7.36 acres – west side of North Liberty Road approximately 700 feet north of Salm Drive – to be developed with 40 two-family dwellings and related infrastructure. After the zoning map amendment request to RS-6 for the overall property, the developer indicated a desire for this section to be two-family dwellings. The developer has stated that this area was selected because there would be less potential traffic conflicts with it not being along the main entrance to the subdivision and that the higher density development would be adjacent to the future school site. The request is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use designation, which is Residential. It is staff’s opinion that the RD-10 zoning is compatible with surrounding RS-6 Greenbelt Trail zoning and fits in nicely into the overall development. Two area residents attended the March 17, 2021 neighborhood meeting where no objections were expressed. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the request at its April 6, 2021 meeting. At the meeting there was a good discussion about affordable housing in North Liberty. Staff noted the challenge when demand, raw land and lumber prices are at an all-time high. Staff recommends approval of the zoning map amendment request.

Alcohol in Public Places Ordinance Amendment, 2nd Reading

Following the cancelation of Blues & BBQ this year due to the pandemic, City staff began exploring other options for smaller, outdoor events that could be held safely on City property, and one such idea was a bring your own beverage (BYOB) event. Similar events have been held successfully in other communities, but consumption or possession of alcohol in a public place is currently prohibited by ordinance in North Liberty. This proposed amendment is intended to provide some limited flexibility concerning that restriction, both for BYOB events, and looking forward to other events that might include alcohol sales from approved vendors. The amendment allows for the sale, use or possession of alcohol with the execution of an agreement with the City that strictly details the location, time, and manner in which those activities could take place, and requires licensure, insurance coverage, and indemnification of the City, and more.

Consumption and possession on city grounds would be permitted only in designated and agreed-upon times and places with the issuance of a special event permit, which will also carry such additional conditions as may be deemed necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare. An agreement or a special event permit contemplated by this amendment does not allow for public intoxication. Staff recommends approval of the proposed ordinance amendment.

Dubuque Street, Phase 1 Project

The Dubuque Street, Phase One public improvement project involves the total acquisition by the City of a commercial building, and the displacement of any businesses operating within it. Under Iowa law, whenever a city displaces businesses where the powers of eminent domain may be exercised, that city must provide relocation assistance services to the affected persons exactly in the same manner that the Iowa Department of Transportation would. This includes payment of relocation and reestablishment costs, helping to find suitable replacement premises, creating a process for appeals, and more. Staff recommends approval of the resolution.

Ranshaw Way, Phase 5 Project

Summary of Bids
Peterson Contractors, Inc. $ 7,882,878.58
Streb Construction Co., Inc. $ 7,959,273.99
Portzens Construction, Inc $ 8,338,643.66
Boomerang Cooperation $ 8,930,300.49
Engineer’s Estimate $ 7,495,000.03

The IDOT accepted bids on behalf of the City for the Ranshaw Way, Phase 5 project on April 20. Peterson Contractors, Inc. out of Reinbeck, Iowa was the low bidder. Shive Hattery has reviewed the bids and is recommending approval of the contract to PCI. While the low bid is $388k (5%) higher than the engineer’s estimate, given the timing of the letting and volitivity of material costs in the market, PCI’s bid is competitive and reasonable. Staff recommends approval of the contract with PCI.

The second resolution related to this project temporarily adjusts the speed limit on Ranshaw Way, within the project limits, from 35pmh to 25mph. Staff is recommending approval to enhance safety of the job site for the construction workers as well as motorists.

City Hall Lease

The lease for City Hall, which includes buildings 1 and 3 at Quail Creek Circle, is set to expire on Dec 31, 2021. A lease with similar terms as the previous agreement, including a 3% annual accelerator, is included in the packet and recommended for approval. Initially, staff was discussing a renewal with the property owner through June of 2023; however, given that the construction of a new City Hall is delayed a year to allow for the construction of Dubuque Street, the proposed lease calls for an extension until June 2024. The agreement provides for two one-month extensions in the unlikely event that a new city facility is not completed by June of 2024. Staff recommends approval of the lease agreement.

FEMA Emergency Siren Award

The City has been awarded FEMA funds to upgrade the emergency outdoor siren located in Fox Run. This upgrade will expand the warning radius to include a small area of Cedar Springs that is currently not served (see included map). The total project cost is $46,061, with $34,545.75 coming from the federal government, $4,606.10 from the state and the remaining $6,909.15 to be funded locally by the City. The agenda includes a resolution approving the agreement with FEMA, of which staff recommends approval.

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