February 2, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)
We hear from fellow council members who attended a recent Planning Conference. We debate the Single Family Rentals Ordinance into the second reading. We also consider requiring hard-surfaced driveways for every home in the city (over time).
- Committee of the Whole (6:25pm, Council Chamber, ELECTRONIC AGENDA & PACKET) -
1) Planning Conference - Generally speaking, I get excited for every Committee Meeting agenda. But this agenda really peaks my interest. It is rare that we hear from individual council members on any specific topic be it attended conferences, staff interactions or just Cedar Falls community life experiences. On Monday night, fellow councilpersons Jim Stichter and Mark Miller will report on a recent urban planning conference they attended. Considering planning and our future are inextricably intertwined, this is important stuff and I am glad they volunteered to share their thoughts and impressions with the broader council. More importantly, this is evidence of our positive, forward-looking council body. I am proud to be a part of it. We actively seek opportunities, address problems and cooperate to advance our city's interests. This doesn't always mean consensus agreement, but it means the issues are understood and solutions are vetted. We are thoughtful, respectful and deliberative, striving to proactively and positively influence our future. We challenge our worldview, we opened our minds, we analyze approaches and make informed decisions. I hope that all council members get a chance to lead, to share thoughts and to convey vision for what we aspire our city to be for generations to come. Thanks in advance, Jim and Mark.
2) Bills & Payroll - Admittedly, I don't read every line item in the bill and payroll reports. I perform random 'soft audits' and always receive thoughtful and satisfying responses addressing any and all concerns. The city has great financial controls, a credit to our excellent finance staff. If you wish to read through the reports, they are accessible through the header link in this section. This week, Bills and Payroll only covers 44 pages of line item detail.
-Regular Council Meeting (7:00pm, Council Chamber, ELECTRONIC AGENDA & PACKET)-
Special Order of Business
E.1 & 2) This is the continuation of a hearing for amending code Chapter 29 - driveways and residential parking. While I'm pleased with certain modifications relating to qualified hard-surface materials and visitor parking requirements for duplexes , I continue to take exception to the broad hard-surfacing requirement. Eventually, every driveway in the city will need to be paved despite many granular driveways working over a century in the core of town (new subdivision driveways are already required to be paved). This is an implicit tax to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars to our core neighborhoods. Sure the driveways will look 'nice' and conform to a certain suburbia ideal, but the expense doesn't justify any purported benefit. I discussed in previous posts (November 3, 2014 and January 5, 2015).
E.3 & 4) This item is the hearing and resolution creating a Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) in the College Hill commercial area. Property owners petitioned for the voluntary tax of $2.75 per $1,000 of assessed value to support district improvement and promotion, very similar to the SSMID that partially funds the Community Main Street in downtown Cedar Falls. The Hill is going through a major renewal, this will certainly support continued district improvements for years to come.
F.1) This is the second reading to lower occupancy limits and off-street parking requirements for Cedar Falls' rental stock. I have spoken on this issue ad nauseam, most recently in my January 19, 2015 post. My reservations continue. Here's an info-graphic for my predictions:
- Nick's Briefs -
I offer a few interest pieces for your perusal. First, the city put together a video describing the single family ordinance revisions being contemplated:
If you haven't had a chance to view CFU's coverage on President Obama's visit to Cedar Falls, Gigabit City, check it out:
I hand it to community leader Rob Green, president of the Overman Park Neighborhood Association (OPNA), who captured comments and thoughts from community developer, Mark Kittrell, on the latest River Place developments from last Thursday (Jan. 29). The $30MM dollar project is nicely coming to fruition: