Pella Chronicle

September 25, 2013

Council addresses zoning regulations

By Clint Brown The Chronicle
The Pella Chronicle

---- — The Pella City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance, following a public hearing on the matter, regarding zoning regulations.

The Board of Adjustment at their June 25, 2013 and July 9, 2013 meetings discussed the Zoning Ordinance regulations pertaining to half story definition and R1 District minimum side setback requirements. The origins of this discussion came out of concern from one of the Board members about cul-de-sac lots, in particular, located in R1 zoning districts and the difficulty in siting large homes on such lots. Out of this discussion, the Board recommended three regulatory changes to the Zoning Ordinance which are outlined below:

Allowable Cantilevering

Cantilevering is defined where structural areas project out from the main structure and are suspended over the ground without foundation or support directly beneath. The issue is the current zoning ordinance does not address allowable cantilevering for roofs and decks. Under the proposed ordinance, roofs and decks may cantilever up to a maximum of 2 feet out from the main structure on the same parcel without being subject to minimum district setback requirements. Any additional cantilever beyond 2 feet out shall be subject to applicable district setback requirements. In the case of an enclosed room addition or main structure, cantilever is permitted but must adhere to minimum district setback requirements. It should be noted, the proposed ordinance is consistent with past practice in approving building permits for new homes.

Removal of setback requirements for half story units for all zoning districts

This proposed ordinance change removes 1/2 story units from the setback tables such that there would be 1, 2-3 story structure setbacks instead of the current 1-1 1/2, 2-3. The reason for the change is there has been confusion as to what constitutes a 1 1/2 story unit and hence it is difficult under the current zoning code to consistently and uniformly apply the appropriate setback requirements for a 1 1/2 unit.

Side yard setback requirements for R-1 Districts for 2 and 3 story housing units

Currently, one story housing units in R-1 Districts have a 10 foot side yard setback versus 12 feet for two and three story housing units. The concern by the Board of Adjustment is there are instances in which one story housing units are taller than two and three story housing units but have less required side yard setbacks. In addition, the Board also believes under the current code it can be difficult to build two and three story housing units on cul-de-sacs and meet the current side yard setbacks. Therefore, this proposed ordinance changes the minimum side setback for RI Zoning District for two and three story structures from 12 feet to 10 feet, which is the same requirement for one story housing units.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the ordinance (10 to 0) at their August 26, 2013 meeting.

In other business

-Approved a resolution approving the Street Finance Report for the year.

Annually, the City is required by the Code of Iowa to file with the Iowa Department of Transportation a Street Finance Report in order to receive Road Use Tax funds.

The City’s Street Finance Report for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2013 is presented for approval with this resolution. FY 12/13 revenues total $1,479,682 and expenditures total $1,563,415.

-Approved a resolution regarding a contract for Comprehensive Plan Consultant Service.

The City Council on September 3, 2013 approved a resolution selecting RDG Planning and Design as the consultant to undertake the Comprehensive Plan update. RDG has extensive planning experience in Iowa including the prior 2002 and 2007 Pella Comprehensive Plan updates.

The contract proposal for the Comprehensive Plan includes the following overall components:

Part IV would specifically include among the elements the Downtown and Housing Plan components. The downtown plan will include the development of a downtown streetscape design coordinating with the City’s underground utility initiative and brick pavement replacement efforts. The housing plan would include a review of recent and current housing activity, neighborhood conditions, housing needs by cost structure, and a housing and neighborhood implementation program.

The contract includes six Steering Committee meetings, a public kick off meeting, two design studios (one three day studio, one two day studio), community open house and Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council presentations. The contract also includes deliverable deadlines for the various components.

The total fee for services would not exceed $84,700. The City would be billed on a monthly basis in proportion to services performed. Completion of the project is 11 months after issuance of Notice to Proceed.

-Part I: Goals and Principles & Public Participation Process

-Part II: Pella Today and Projections

-Part III: City Development Framework

-Part IV: Comprehensive Plan Elements

-Part V: Implementing and Financing the Plan

-Approved a resolution approving a Professional Services Agreement between the City of Pella and Burns & McDonnell in connection with the Power Plant Deconstruction Project.

This resolution approves a Professional Services Agreement with Burns & McDonnell (BMcD) for construction observation services for the demolition/removal of the City’s power plant. As background, in May of 2012 the City began to receive 100% of its energy from Missouri River Energy Services and as a result, the City’s power plant is no longer supplying energy for the City. Over the last several months, Burns and McDonnell has been working with City staff to develop plans and specifications and contract documents for the removal of the City’s power plant from its current site and restoration of the area to green space.

The fees paid to Bums and McDonnell under the proposed “Professional Services Agreement” are based on a weekly rate and are estimated to cost $265,000. It is important to note, included in this estimate is a full-time project representative provided by Burns and McDonnell for the asbestos removal from the site, which is estimated to take approximately 10 weeks. For the remainder of the project, Burns and McDonnell will be providing bi-weekly site visits to the project. The council will need to approve a construction observation services agreement with the project engineer before the bids can be sought for the deconstruction project. This is because the level of construction observation services needs to be identified in the general terms and conditions of the contract for the deconstruction.