Nick's Council Connection (24 March 2014)

CFlevee.jpgCouncil Meeting Date: March 24, 2014

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

In Committee, we cover a bunch of quick hitters. In the Council Meeting, we advance Prairie Parkway, $6.6MM levee grant and a whole lot of infrastructure investments.

- Committee of the Whole (5:25pm, Mayor's Conference Room, ELECTRONIC AGENDA)-

We have a bunch of quick hitters:

1) We study parking ordinance revisions on Campus and 19th St. The goal is to make this parking area consistent with the neighborhood including alternating day parking for improved emergency vehicle, public works access.

 2) We budget 20 minutes to review the modifications to the rental housing ordinance. The consequences of the new phraseology may be bigger than it appears. Generally speaking, more code will subject housing to more standards and restrictions which increase the costs of rental living which is contrary to affordable housing and self-determination goals. 

3) We review a permeable alley project on the 2200 Merner block (near UNI Book & Supply). This is part of a broader effort to PermeablePavers.JPGclean the dry-run creek watershed (an impaired waterway) and to alleviate other run-off issues.  According to staff... the alley is designed to treat the stormwater runoff from the first 1.25 inches of rain (also called the first flush). This first flush of rain is what ashes dirt, oil, grease and bacteria off of rooftops, parking lots and other paved surfaces. Very interesting project.

4) AECOM presents the Greenhill Road study. Last year we authorized a study to improve the functionality of this corridor to respond to increasing user load, flow and safety. This report will guide our continued development including load and intersection management.

5) The normal bills and payroll.

-Regular Council Meeting (7:00pm, Council Chamber, ELECTRONIC AGENDA)-

Special Order of Business

F5-9) It's time to make a new road. These items bring Prairie Parkway closer to reality. We approve the development agreements and the project plans, specifications, and form of contract.  This is a $3.6MM project that will be funded from the Pinnacle Prairie TIF. This is a STAT project to improve north-south connectivity which should have a measurable impact on the over-burdened Highway 58/Viking at-grade intersection.

Lost.pngF.10) We approve the 2014 reconstruction project. This means all those speed bumps that emerged this winter on roads like Rownd and Orchard may be no more. We will spend about $1.9MM on road reconstruction funded from the Local Option Sales Tax.

F.12-14) We consider a land-use map amendment and zoning request 82.5 acres of newly annexed land in southwest Cedar Falls. Some of the land was planned for higher density residential. However, the intent of the developer is to make more single-family homes, 207 lots. I certainly respect a developer's prerogative to do what they feel is best so long it is consistent with the land-use plan. In this case, it isn't. In the last two years, we've eliminated mixed-use and higher density residential from our land-use plan. Meanwhile, I hear many complaints about single-family rental conversions and limited neighborhood commercial (where people need to navigate the Highway 58/Viking gauntlet for a gallon of milk). I wonder if our planning policies are partly to blame. 

 New Business - Resolution Calendar 

H.2.e) We approve an agreement with the Iowa DNR to expand our glass recycling operation while adding asphalt shingle processing area. This amounts to a $20,000 forgivable grant with a $27,000 city match. In both cases, we increase our landfill diversion rate which is partially reimbursed by the the metro landfill.

H.2.f) This item deals with the sublet of 1500 square feet of indoor, heated garage space in the new Public Works facility to Black Hawk county.  The cost of the lease is $0. This would store a motor grader and truck used for maintenance for rural roads in the area. The current facility, on the corner of Union and 27th Street, has outlived its useful life. I'm not sure why we would give this space for free, especially considering the city has fixed costs such as heating, lighting, HVAC etc., but I will ask the question.

CFlevee.jpgH.2.j) It's official. This item involves an agreement with the Iowa Flood Mitigation Board to divert certain Iowa sales tax revenues to fund downtown levee improvements. The $6.6MM grant requires a $75K city match. The city application was approved on February 28th with great fanfare. This enables Cedar Falls to battle flood impacts from more frequent, extreme weather events brought about by climate change. 

H.2.L M) This is the next $600K phase of the Park Drive lift station improvements. Both phases amount to $1.1MM and address mandated improvements to reduce overflows during excessively high-moisture periods.

-Nick's Briefs-

I don't have any briefs this week, I've had spring break on my mind. Enjoy spring! 

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