City Council to Meet on May 25, 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 (05/11/21)
  • Claims
  • Pay Application #9, SW Growth Area Water & Sewer Extensions, Boomerang Corporation, $333,687.50

Livestock Ordinance Amendment, 3rd & Final Reading

The revised draft of the proposed ordinance includes the amendments approved by the City Council on April 27 and May 11, which is to allow the entire rear yard to be an unenclosed pen, clarification that a chicken coop may be up to 8’ in height and wire may be used as a material and replacing the term City Clerk with Zoning Administrator or Designee. Other provisions that were initially revised 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, 3rd & Final Reading and Preliminary Plat

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. Staff recommends approval of the zoning map amendment request.

The corresponding preliminary plat is also on the agenda, meets the ordinance requirements and is recommended for approval by the Planning Commission and staff.

Alcohol in Public Places Ordinance Amendment, 3rd & Final Reading

Following the cancellation 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.

FY21 Budget Amendment

Each year, cities are required to amend their budgets to provide additional spending authority in cases where expenses are greater than budgeted. Amendments are not required for revenues; however, staff has included revenue projections within the amendment. Included in the packet is the budget amendment summary, with notes explaining the additional revenues and expenses projected for FY21. Not surprisingly, most of the amendments are related to COVID and Derecho. The proposed amendment will not have significant impacts to operating fund balances. Staff recommends approval of the amendment.

Pool Heater Project

Bids for the pool heater project will be accepted June 1 and it is anticipated that a recommendation for a contract award will be on the June 8 Council meeting agenda. The estimated project budget is $475k. The project is expected to start in late August to minimize conflict with the operation of the outdoor pool. Staff recommends approval of the plans, specifications and cost of the project.

Dubuque Street, Phase 1 Project

The City has reached an agreement for the purchase of real property interests with several property owners who will be affected by the Dubuque Street Phase One public improvement project. All the acquisitions, summarized in the chart, are for the values previously approved by City Council for the various parcel. Staff recommends approval.

Property Owner Easement Type Amount
Hope Presbyterian Church Temporary Construction Easement $1,200
Bertha S. Olin Temporary Construction Easement $650
Grateful Park LLC Temporary Construction Easement $400

2021A Borrowing

Staff has been working with the City’s financial advisor and bond counsel to prepare for selling just over $7 million in bonds to cover the costs of projects that have been or will be completed in the near future. The chart identifies the projects and amounts. The resolution on the agenda, which staff recommends approval, is setting a public hearing date for June 8.

<tdcolspan=”2″>$4,756,000

2021A Bond Sale – Summary of Projects
Project Amount Type
Ranshaw Way, Phase 2 $900,000 GO/TIF
St. Andrews Drive $1,400,000 GO/TIF
Subtotal $2,300,000
Pumper Truck $465,000 GO
Aquatic Center Boiler Project $200,000 GO
Storm Water Projects $91,000 GO
St. Andrews Drive $1,400,000 GO
Police Station $2,600,000 GO
Subtotal $4,756,000
Total $7,056,000

Utility Easement

Linn County REC has requested a 10’ utility easement from the City across Meade Barn campus, located at 451 E Penn Street. The City benefits from the transfer, because of the preference for utilities to operate within dedicated utility easements rather than the right of way. The easement will not interfere with City operations, and the Parks and Streets departments have no objection. This easement, if approved, would be extended to all eligible public utility franchise holders in the same manner as would a utility easement on a final subdivision plat. Staff recommends approval.

Face Coverings (Masks)

The agenda includes a revised face covering resolution that is consistent with the most recent CDC recommendations. While the resolution provides no authority for the City to enforce any sort of face covering requirements for private businesses, employers and residents, it does encourage residents, business owners and visitors to consider recommendations provided by local and national health professionals.

Water Rate Ordinance Amendment, 1st Reading

The packet includes the latest revenue and expense projections for the City’s sewer and water utilities. From a revenue perspective, sewer is spot on from what was projected during the February budget discussions and a 0% increase remains the recommendation. Water sales are trending slightly lower than anticipated. It was projected that in FY21 the City would sell approximately 402 million gallons of water; however, the latest projections indicate sales closer to 389 million gallons, resulting in a $90K reduction in projected revenues. A 2% water rate increase was included in the budget model and, despite the slower sales, that remains the recommendation for FY 22.

Physician’s Building Rezoning Request, 1st Reading

Physicians Building Group, LLC is requesting a zoning map amendment to O/RP to allow 33.48 acres – west side of South Kansas Avenue approximately .23 miles north of the West Forevergreen Road – to be developed as medical offices with the potential for a hospital. The applicant has indicated that they are seeking approval of the rezoning before formally acquiring the property. No plans have been generated at this point; however, staff is confident that the City’s development regulations will ensure a high-quality campus. Approximately 10 people attended the April 8, 2021, good neighbor meeting where no objections were expressed. Specific questions about the development were not able to be answered because plans have not been generated. Staff committed to sharing future plans with area property owners once received. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the request at its May 4, 2021 meeting. At the meeting it was stated by a Planning Commission member that this is an ideal location for the proposed use. It is staff’s opinion that the request is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the proposed zoning would be compatible with the area. Therefore, staff recommends approval of the rezoning.

Solomon Holdings LLC Rezoning Request, 1st Reading

Solomon Holdings, LLC is requesting a zoning map amendment to C-2A PAD allowing 2.46acres – west side of Community Drive approximately 240 feet south of West Penn Street – to be developed with a four-story, 60-unit residential building and a one-story office/retail building. The development proposes to remove an overflow parking area and expand into the southern part of the Tin Roost property. The PAD is being requested to allow the flexibility of having a multiple-unit dwellings, which is not allowed within the underlying C-2A District alone. Also, flexibility is being requested to allow a four story building (48’ 8” from grade to the top of the parapet). A small number of people attended the March 10, 2021 good neighbor meeting where no objections were expressed. To date, staff has received one letter in favor of the request and one letter opposed. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the request at its May 4, 2021 meeting. At the meeting staff indicated its support for the request due to the property’s proximately to two major roads (West Penn Street and Ranshaw Way) and the Liberty Centre Pond. Staff also discussed the need to modernize the City’s antiquated off-street parking standards. It is staff’s opinion that the request is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the proposed zoning would be compatible with the area. Staff recommends approval of the zoning map amendment request.

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