A number of the citizens of Tama have spoken and while they are not completely opposed to the Newbury Living Iowa Premium Beef housing project, they are opposed to the location.
Some 35 Tama residents were present at the Tama City Council meeting on Monday, Aug. 18. Those citizens went to the meeting to have their voices heard regarding their opinions on the location of the Newbury Living Housing project. While a majority of the citizens present stated they were not opposed to the project itself they had several concerns about the location. Most of those concerns centered around the safety of the location of the housing project.
The Newbury Living housing project at the Indian Hills location was set to be a two story (72 feet wide, 220 feet long) 24-unit building, with units being either two or three bedrooms designed for workforce housing. Newbury Living would be seeking assistance from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program loan which requires that 51 percent of the units are income restricted meaning that the occupants of a single apartment could not make over $47,700 a year. Target rent for the units are $625 for two bedroom and $725.Newbury Living focuses on senior living and low income housing. "Newbury Management works very hard and has residences that are well maintained," said Newbury Living attorney Bob Rafferty.
Tama resident Jerry Jones (second from left, in background) poses safety issues as a concern involving the proposed apartment complex in the Indian Hills Addition during a city council public hearing on the granting of an option on the property on Monday night, Aug. 18.
The West Des Moines development firm sought to possibly build the complex on a portion of city-owned property in the Indian Hills Addition on Tama's northwest side. Newbury Living had asked for an option to purchase the property for $60,000.
The company wanted the option to run to July, 2015, with the project dependent upon securing CDBG?funding.
After Rafferty explained the project to the council the floor was opened for questions and comments from citizens.
Bob Youngman expressed concern about the town absorbing a project like this posing the question, "If you are getting low income housing out of this, a grant for this, how does it not become low income?"
Rafferty responding the housing project is for affordable housing versus low income housing, saying "It's our understanding that there is a need for housing in this area."
Emily Babinat, expressed interest in the project saying, "I think it's a really good idea because this community really lacks affordable housing and middle income housing. Some of the homes for sale are above the income range of the people of this area. If our town wants to grow we have to build housing for people to grow with it. If we don't have housing for people to live in our town won't grow."
More citizens including Jerry Vaske and Diane Kesl continued to express concerns for safety on the streets in Indian Hills. "There is a lot of us who have young children in that neighborhood and when this happens we are not going to let our children ride their bikes up and down the streets because the traffic is going to be too heavy," Kes said.
Jerry Jones expressed his concerns and was received with applause by the citizens after saying, "I have one question, this is for the city. There was worry about the law suit reference with the accident on old 30. The area was not built for the amount of people that this complex is going to put in there so if someone gets hit or someone gets killed like what has happened before is the city going to except the responsibility of a law suit being placed against the city because they have rezoned this from a residential area to a multi-zone area. Who is going to accept the liability if someone gets hit up there? Are we willing to accept the liability because there will be a lawsuit."
After everyone had their say Council Member Steve Baier addressed the room, stating that the council was elected by the people and for the people of Tama. Baier then made a motion to reject the option to purchase real estate in Indian Hills. The motion was seconded by Kenny McAdoo and was met with a unanimous roll call vote by the council members.
The Newbury Living Housing project will proceed with working with the STC school board regarding the old primary school lot. The possible process will now start with the school board making a request to the Board of Adjustments to rezone the lot for low income housing.
In other business the council:
unanimously approved a resolution in support of the building of the Marshalltown Cancer Center. CEO John Hughes was present at the meeting to show floor plans for the new Toledo Clinic and MMSC cancer center.
voted unanimously to sell 1311 Trojan Road to S and B properties.
voted unanimously to fix the radio system for the fire sirens as they are not functioning properly. This is contingent on if the batteries are no longer functioning properly as well as if raycom cannot fix the problem. The cost to replace the radio system is $1700.
unanimously approved to complete mudjacking at the following locations: Washington between 13th and 14th, 11th between Seymore and Washington and South first and State. The budget for this project is $15,000 and if there are enough funds the location of McClellan between 6th and 7th will also be completed.
A new chart recorder for the water plant will be purchased.*
A public hearing was set for Sept. 2 for amending the FY 2015 Budget.
*Council Member Doug Ray expressed that he had received some complaints regarding weeds at the old school property on Hwy 63.
Mayor Dan ZImmerman thanked Ivan Turnus for putting in new electrical outlets costing $288 with no charge to the city. at Lincoln Highway Bridge Park
Mayor Zimmerman would like the council to begin the consideration of hiring a sixth police officer after Iowa Premiem Beef opens.
The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday Sept. 2 as Monday Sept. 1 is a holiday.