City Council to Meet on June 22, 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.

Work Session, City Hall Presentation

Since approving a contract with Shive-Hattery in February for design of a new City Hall, staff has meet with Shive’s design team over a dozen times to plan, rework, tweak, massage and eventually agree on a building footprint, floor plan and site for the proposed facility. At Tuesday’s meeting Shive-Hattery’s team, led by Architect Tandi Brannaman, will unveil the proposed City Hall concept. Staff and the consultants are excited to present this work to Council, explain the development process played out and identify next steps.

Consent Agenda

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

  • City Council Minutes (06/08/21)
  • Pay Application #10, Southwest Growth Area Utilities Project, Boomerang Corporation, $213,490.79
  • Change Order #2, Southwest Growth Area Utilities Project, Boomerang Corporation, $18,750
  • Pay Application #1, Ranshaw Way, Phase 5 Project, PCI, $181,552.23
  • Claims
  • Annual Tobacco Permits

Forevergreen Road Trail Project

The Forevergreen Road Trail project consists of significant drainage improvements and removing and replacing 550 feet or trail on the south side of the street between Covered Bridge Road and the Keystone Living Center. The project, with an estimated cost of $157k, is scheduled for a July 6 bid letting and award of contract at the July 13 meeting. The wining contractor will have until December of this year to complete the project. Staff recommends approval of the plans and specifications.

Also on the agenda is an temporary construction easement agreement with and adjacent property owner in the amount of $801. Staff recommends approval of the easement agreement.

Agricultural Experience Ordinance, 1st Reading

This is a staff-initiated amendment, which would allow an agricultural experience use in North Liberty corporate limits. As proposed, the agricultural experience would be permitted on property that is zoned ID – Interim Development with the approval of a Conditional Use. The agricultural experience use would be required to be accessory to an on-site agricultural use. Although any property owner(s) meeting the locational and size requirements could apply for the agricultural experience use, it was primarily designed to allow the Colony Pumpkin Patch to annex into the City. Staff collaborated with Dean and Katie Colony on this ordinance, such that it would be mutually beneficial to both parties. At this point, the Colonys have expressed a willingness to annex the Colony 1927, LLC and Four D’s Acres, LLC into the City, subject to the following approvals:

  1. The Agricultural Experience Ordinance is adopted;
  2. The Board of Adjustment grant approval of the Conditional Use; and
  3. The City Council grant approval to allow hunting on the property

With this annexation and other voluntary annexations, the City anticipates a formal annexation of 317.89 acres, or just under ½ square mile. Staff also worked with the North Liberty Community Pantry Executive Director to amend the food pantry regulations to allow a small expansion into a separate outbuilding to provide clothing to the community. This ordinance is an excellent example of collaboration with community stakeholders to improve the City’s codes. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the request at its June 1, 2021 meeting. Staff recommends approval of the ordinance as well.

Hope Presbyterian Church Site Plan

The site plan proposes to pave an existing gravel parking lot and add new paved parking and related infrastructure. This will bring the property into compliance with City ordinances pertaining to site design and stormwater detention. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the site plan at its June 1, 2021 meeting. Staff also recommends approval the site plan.

FY22 Salary Resolution

A resolution authorizing salaries for fiscal year 2022, as discussed during the budget process and guided by the compensation program, is on the agenda. This year’s cost of living increase is 2.75%, while the step increase for employees who are eligible is 2.45%. Police officer salaries are also included in the resolution and reflect what was approved in the collective bargaining agreement, which includes a 2.75% cost of living increase, plus a step increase for eligible officers. The salaries in the resolution will go in effect on July 1, 2021.

Dubuque Street, Phase 1 Project

The City has reached an agreement for the purchase of real property interests with two more property owners who will be affected by the Dubuque Street Phase One public improvement project. All the acquisitions, summarized in the chart to the right, are for the values previously approved by City Council for the various parcel. Staff recommends approval. To accommodate the design and construction of the Dubuque Street, Phase One project, Alliant Energy is requesting three easements, two on Cherry Street and one on Dubuque Street. Staff has confirmed that these easements will not interfere with current or long range plans in the area and is recommending approval of the easements.

Property Owner Easement Type Amount
JM Residential Cooperative permanent drainage easement &
temporary construction easement
Yetley Real Estate LLC acquisition & temporary construction easement $19,100
ICCSD Temporary Construction Easement $0

Red Properties Plats & Site Plan

Red Door Properties is seeking to subdivide Lot 1 of Progress Park – Part Six – located at the northwest corner of West Penn Street and Penn Court – to allow the property to be developed with a Scooter’s Coffee Drive-Thru. Staff recognized the challenge of enhancing the building design of essentially a rectangular box. City staff requested, and the applicant agreed to provide some additional design features such as additional window glazing and awnings, a dedicated pedestrian walkway to Penn Court and outdoor seating area. The primary exterior material would be a gray brick and a tan hardie panel system. At the Planning Commission meeting, the question was asked if adequate space for vehicle stacking was provided. Staff pointed that there is no standard for vehicle stacking in the off-street parking regulations. However, any vehicle stacking on Penn Court would be addressed because City traffic regulations prohibit stopping or standing.

The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the preliminary plat and site plan at its June 1, 2021 meeting. Staff also recommends approval the preliminary plat, final plat and site plan.

Livestock Ordinance Veto Consideration

Included in the packet is the Mayor’s veto memo regarding the recent amendments to the Livestock ordinance. Also included is a memo from the City Attorney that outlines the Council’s options moving forward. In short, the City Council can either choose to override the veto with a 2/3’s vote or uphold the veto by doing nothing. Once a decision is made, if there is interest in making any changes to the ordinance, the City Council can further discuss.

Water Rate Ordinance Amendment, 3rd & Final 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, 3rd and Final 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, 3rd & Final 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.

Hate Crime Ordinance Discussion

Included in the packet is a draft Hate Crime Ordinance that is identical to the one Iowa City has adopted. The intent of this agenda item is to continue the discussion from the previous meeting on whether to adopt such an ordinance in North Liberty.

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