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Questions arise over proposed new multi-family housing in Indian Hills

July 26, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Plans to build up to a 32-unit multi-family housing complex by a West Des Moines developer was right back before the Tama City Council on Monday night, July 21. Now it looks like the developer will be responsible for a survey of the property. The ball will then be in the hands of the Tama Board of Adjustment for a decision.

Council members voted 5-0 to send the proposal to that board for a hearing.

Two weeks ago, the council agreed to set a public hearing to consider selling up to four acres of city-owned land on the northwest side of the Indian Hills housing development. Representatives of Newbury Living who have appeared at previous council meetings say their company wants to build as many as three complexes in Tama and Toledo, These would be aimed at meeting some of the housing needs for an expected influx of employees when Iowa Premium Beef reopens the former Tama Pack here.

Article Photos

Dotted yellow line added to this satellite photo from the Tama County Assessor’s website shows the general area a West Des Moines developer is seeking an option to buy from the City of Tama. The white, wavy line at the top is the old South Tama Recreation Trail access to the STC Elementary, West 13th Street is at the bottom and Sesame Drive and West 14th Street intersect at point marked “A.”

Current Board of Adjustment members are Cecil Bearden, Sue Carnahan, Mike Wedmore and Jim Plantz. A fifth seat is vacant.

On Monday night, the council was faced with a series of issues and concerns about the Indian Hills site:

-because the city owns the property, the request for rezoning must be made to Board of Adjustment on the city's behalf.

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-Newbury Living only wants to have an option to purchase the land estimated in size at about four acres.

-the developer wants the price, if it ultimately decides to make the purchase, set at $60,000.

-the option would run until July, 2015.

-the company, is applying for Community Development Block Grant funding and will not hear a decision on approval until January, 2015.

-if approval is granted federal requirements must be met for the site including an archaeological assessment with a decision not expected until July.

-the property is currently zoned for single family residential, and will require approval of a special use exception according ot City Attorney Dan Rathjen.

-Gary Zigler, who lives in the Indian Hills Addition said neighbors had himself are concerned such a housing unit would lower property values for the homes which have recently been built there.

-City Clerk Judy Welch said another resident of the area telephoned her office on Monday to express concerns about added traffic in an area which the caller said already had a lot of traffic and street parking issues existed now.

Cemetery Decoration Change Passes 2nd Reading

A change to require removal of cemetery decorations from four down to two weeks following Memorial Day passed a second reading of the Tama City Council on a 4-1 vote Monday night.

Council member Crystal Kaufman voted " no" as she did on the 1st reading two weeks ago.

The issue comes back for a 3rd reading on Aug. 4 before the change can become official.

The change was sought by the cemetery sexton to allow the cemetery to be properly mowed and maintained more quickly. It is contended the decorations hinder the mowing process.

The Oak Hill Cemetery Association has voiced opposition to the change.

In other business Monday the council:

heard an update from Dana Davis-Hanson and Coleen Davis on plans for the Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale to be staged Aug. 7-9 at the Lincoln Highway Bridge Park and along 5th Street in Tama. They said some businesses along 5th Street (original Lincoln Highway route through Tama) have agreed to allow yard sales on their property. In addition, some residents are also planning sales on their own yards, they said. Food will be available. Entertainment will be featured at the park on Saturday.

The Buy-Way sales are being held on the same weekend as the 100thanniversayr Meskwaki Powwow wets of Tama, they noted.

said an new furnace and air conditioning should be budgeted next year for the city street department and public works director's offices. The furnace now in use is 20 years old. A previous request had been made to air condition the offices this year.

approved renewal of membership in the Tama County Economic Development commission an annual cost totaling $4,316.

learned of a need for a Tama member to fill the vacancy of Robert Tyynismaa on the Tama County Foundation Board - Northeast Iowa Community Foundation.

approved outdoor liquor service for the Tama American Legion Post 73 on July 25 and 26 and Aug. 2 and 3.



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