2020 Council Recap
December 29, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The Mayor called the meeting to order and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urbandale City Council meetings continue to be held electronically.
The City Council approved a selection of new artwork pieces by various artists for display in 2021-2022 at the Urbandale Art Park. The Council also approved the purchases of “Flight” by Matt Miller, in the amount of $9,375; “The Sound of Color” by Tim Adams, in the amount of $3,000; and “Sunrise” by V. Skip Willits, in the amount of $2,700.
Urbandale City Councilmember Matt Blake will be placed on federal active duty orders with the Iowa Army National Guard at the end of January and the military service of Councilmember Blake will create a temporary vacancy on the City Council. The Council appointed Adam Kaduce to fill the temporary vacancy beginning on January 21, 2021 and ending when Councilmember Blake is relieved from federal active duty.
December 21 & 22, 2020 - City Council Special Sessions
The Mayor and City Council met in a special session on Monday, December 21 to interview nine candidates for a temporary appointment to the City Council. Councilmember Matt Blake will be placed on federal active duty orders with the Iowa Army National Guard this coming January and the military service of Councilmember Blake will create a temporary vacancy on the City Council.
The Council met again on Tuesday, December 22 to discuss the candidates for the temporary appointment. No official action was taken at the meeting. The Council will vote to appoint a candidate at the next regular Council meeting on Tuesday, December 29, 2020.
December 15, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The Mayor called the meeting to order and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urbandale City Council meetings continue to be held electronically. At the start of the meeting staff and board representatives from DART gave an update and overview of its transportation plans and funding needs for mass transit service in the Des Moines metro.
The City Council approved a $143,243.38 quote to configure and migrate the City to Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), a subscription service offered by Microsoft as part of the Microsoft Office product line. The City Council also approved a design services agreement in the amount of $34,780 for the design of the Barrett Park natural playscape and to conduct an online community input survey.
Urbandale City Councilmember Matt Blake will be placed on federal active duty orders with the Iowa Army National Guard for approximately nine months beginning on January 21, 2021 and the military service of Councilmember Blake will create a temporary vacancy on the City Council. The Council established the appointment process for the temporary vacancy of Councilmember Matt Blake. Applicants will be interviewed on Monday, December 21. The Council will meet again in a special session on Tuesday December 22 and an appointee will be considered at the meeting of December 29, 2020. All of the meetings are open to the public.
December 8, 2020 - Council Worksession
The City Council met for a worksession to discuss urban livestock in Urbandale, including chickens and bees. While no official action was taken at the meeting, the Council directed staff to begin formalizing ordinance language for keeping bees (but not chickens) in Urbandale. The ordinance will be reviewed and considered by the City Council at a later meeting.
December 1, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The Mayor called the meeting to order and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urbandale City Council meetings continue to be held electronically.
The City Council discussed and approved an amendment to the Special Bow Hunting of Antlerless Deer season that allows controlled bow hunting on City-owned property.
The Council approved the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The CAFR is compiled by the City’s Finance Department and audited by an external certified public accounting firm. The CAFR presents a wide variety of important financial information to help residents properly understand the City’s spending. Residents can review the Annual Budget, which primarily shows how the City plans to spend tax revenue, in conjunction with the CAFR, which shows the actual results of how tax revenue was spent.
The City Council approved the timeframe to receive applications of applicants seeking temporary appointment to the Urbandale City Council. Councilmember Matt Blake will be placed on federal active-duty orders with the Iowa Army National Guard for approximately nine months beginning in January 2021 and the military service of Councilmember Blake will create a temporary vacancy on the City Council. The City Clerk will receive applications via the City's online form from December 2, 2020, through December 15, 2020.
November 17, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
At the beginning of the meeting, the Mayor administered the oath of office to Police Officer Tanner Miller.
The City Council's work session on Race and Diversity held in August outlined five priority issues, with one of those issues being the formalization of Police Department standards. In an effort to move toward an Urbandale community that is more inclusive and accepting of all, a public hearing was held for the first reading of a new ordinance that would change the current Municipal Code to include the prohibition of biased based profiling. This policy is not new to the Urbandale Police Department, but due to current discussion on policing within Urbandale, the Des Moines metro, and the nation, it is the first policy the Police Department has recommended adding to the Urbandale Municipal Code.
The Council took two actions related to a potential new arena on the Urbandale side of Merle Hay Mall. The project would include a multi-purpose arena and a hotel. The Council approved a contract with a firm to conduct a feasibility and economic impact study for the project and an agreement related to legal work necessary to collaborate on the project with the City of Des Moines (the mall property is located in both cities).
November 10, 2020 - Council Worksession
The City Council met for a worksession to discuss the indoor pool reopening plans and mobile food units. Council directed staff to keep the pool closed through at least February 2021 due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. The City will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases in our community and adjust operations as necessary. In 2017, the City launched a pilot program for food truck vendors and has been modifying and adjusting the program to fit the community’s needs. Council directed staff to begin formalizing ordinance language for future adoption into the City code. The Council will meet again on Tuesday, November 17 at 6 PM.
November 3, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The Mayor began the regular meeting of the City Council by asking for a moment of silence in memory of Urbandale Police Officer Justin Martin. Officer Martin lost his life in the line of duty on November 2, 2016.
In Planning and Zoning items, the City Council approved two plats in the Highland Meadows residential subdivision creating 61 single family lots southeast of the intersection of Waterford Road and 170th Street. The Council also approved a site plan for a redesigned baseball field at Des Moines Christian School with consideration of field lighting to be considered at a future meeting.
The City Council approved the purchase of a new pumper truck for the Fire Department at a price that was eleven percent below the budgeted amount.
Before adjourning, the City Councilmembers congratulated Mayor Andeweg on being named Citizen of the Year by the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce. The Mayor advised that he and the City Manager will use a 14-day positivity rate of 8% or below for at least seven days as a guideline for the City Council to reconvene in person and a 14-day positivity rate of 5% or below before re-opening meetings to in-person public attendance at meetings.
October 20, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The City Council set the date for two public hearings to be held on November 17. One hearing will consider a change to the "Liquor Licenses and Wine and Beer Permits" section of the City Code, and the other hearing will consider adding language to the "Police Department" section of the City Code explicitly prohibiting biased based profiling. The Urbandale Police Department uses model policies of the best practices in law enforcement and current policy does prohibit police from profiling residents based on race or ethnic background.
The City Council approved an Engineering Services Agreement with Foth Infrastructure and Environment, LLC to address erosion issues along Beaver Creek. This project would design bank stabilization and restoration efforts to reduce future erosion and protect the trail that runs along the south side of the creek in the Northview Estates Wetlands area.
The Council took a moment to recognize the Urban Loop opening noting the many years it’s been under development and everyone who contributed to its success. The City Council will meet again on November 3 for a regularly scheduled Council meeting.
October 13, 2020 – Council Worksession
Catch Des Moines President & CEO Greg Edwards gave an update on the impacts of COVID-19 within the travel and tourism industry. This year, 305 events were canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. This had an estimated financial impact of more than $282 million to the Des Moines metropolitan area.
The Engineering and Public Works Department gave a presentation discussing an agreement (known as a 28E Agreement) with the City of Windsor Heights for the maintenance of the Urbandale/Windsor Heights Sanitary District (UWHSD). This agreement would allow the City of Urbandale to maintain UWHSD sewers in the City of Windsor Heights. The UWHSD would pay the City of Urbandale for all work performed in the UWHSD.
Staff presented a digital tour of completed and ongoing projects in Urbandale this year. The Parks and Recreation Department gave an overview of new amenities in the community including the All-Inclusive Playground, pickleball courts, and public art. Staff from the Engineering Department gave an update on completed street projects and the ongoing construction of the Parks and Public Works Maintenance Facility.
City Manager A.J. Johnson prompted a discussion on the reopening of City buildings as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council directed staff to create limited reopening plans for city buildings—including City Hall and the Library.
October 6, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell provided an overview of Polk County, regional and statewide COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, noting some positive trends in Polk County.
The City Council approved a contract for improvements to the Jackaline Baldwin Dunlap Park and Arboretum, including a memorial courtyard seating area, a paved plaza, and drainage improvements.
The Council approved changes to the Comprehensive Plan (the Comprehensive Plan helps provide continuity across time and gives successive city officials a common framework for addressing land-use issues) and to the Waterford Landing planned unit development zoning (a planned unit development is a designed grouping of both varied and compatible land uses, such as housing, recreation, commercial centers, and industrial parks, all within one contained development or subdivision) to allow approximately 18 units of attached two-family townhomes and approximately 14 single-family detached “villa” lots. The development is near the northeast quadrant of the intersection of Waterford Road and 170th Street.
The City Council approved an agreement with the Neighborhood Finance Corporation (NFC). This partnership will bring the NFC’s programs to a targeted group of neighborhoods in Urbandale. The NFC-Urbandale program area will be Aurora Avenue on the north, Hickman Road on the south and east of 86th Street to the east city limits. Residents in these neighborhoods will have access to NFC’s programs, including: first mortgage purchase loans, renovation and refinance programs, home improvement loan program, and the Front Porch exterior home improvement loan program.
The Council approved $300,000 to support several organizations from the newly-created health and social services budget. This is funded by the recently-approved Local Option Sales and Service Tax. Planned contributions and expenditures include: Urbandale Community Action Network, Urbandale Food Pantry, Neighborhood Finance Corporation, extension of Urbandale’s Making-a-Connection Camp and ISU Extension for community education programs.
Finally, in long-standing tradition, the City Council approved Friday, October 30 2020 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM as Beggar’s Night. All Beggar’s Night participants are urged to follow public health guidelines. Participating homes may leave porch lights on.
September 22, 2020 – Regular Council Meeting
The Mayor began the meeting by asking for a moment of silence to remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg was an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1993 until her death this year. Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, after Sandra Day O'Connor.
The City Council held a public hearing to consider bids for the Parks and Public Works Satellite Facility at the intersection of 170th Street and Waterford Road. The cost for this project was more expensive than previously estimated due to higher structural and utilities (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) costs. The Council accepted the low bid for $902,900 and it’s anticipated that this project would be completed by October 2021.
Last December the City Council approved an agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation and the City of Clive for the addition of turn lanes at the intersection of 128th Street and Hickman Road. The agreement included widening Hickman Road to six lanes and constructing dual left-turn and single right-turn lanes on each approach to the intersection. The Council approved and authorized the implementation of an addendum to this original agreement to increase the project limits easterly to the west ramp of Hickman Road and Interstate 35/80. The addendum will also add the construction of a 10-foot wide trail on the north side of Hickman Road from Deer Creek Trail to the entrance of Heritage Park (Lifetime Fitness location). The increased scope of the project results in a City share cost increase from $400,000 to $1,500,000.
The City Council approved agreements with a company operated by Signature Commercial Real Estate to provide financial assistance associated with two redevelopment projects: the remodeling and repurposing of the former Kmart store at 72nd and Hickman Road and the remodeling and repurposing of the former Aamco service station on the same site. The former Aamco is now a location for Primary Health Care and the former Kmart building is being marketed by Signature for potential sale or lease.
The Council will meet again on Tuesday, October 6 for a regularly scheduled council meeting.
September 15, 2020 – Council Worksession
The Mayor began the meeting by proclaiming September 13 through September 20, 2020, to be Welcoming Week in Urbandale. Welcoming Week is hosted by Welcoming America and is an annual series of events in which communities bring together immigrants and birthright citizens to affirm the benefits of welcoming everyone as equal members in the community. The Mayor encouraged all residents to celebrate our diverse heritage and culture, and to continue our efforts to create a community that is just, compassionate, and equitable for all.
Westcom Chief Darin Riney and Westcom Board Chair Matt McQuillen presented the Westcom Strategic Plan to the Mayor and City Council (the Westcom Dispatch Center is a consolidated public safety dispatch facility that receives public safety related calls and dispatches police, fire, and emergency medical services for the cities of Clive, Norwalk, Urbandale, Waukee and West Des Moines). The 5-year plan sets a vision and three goals for Westcom; including (1) the transition to an independent organization by 2025, (2) establish a service level agreement with Westcom’s partner agencies by 2023, and (3) develop a continuously evolving 10-year plan for growth.
The Chief of Police gave an in-depth presentation on the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Urbandale’s Police Department is a CALEA-accredited organization. CALEA accreditation reaffirms Urbandale’s clear commitment to procedural justice, ethical policing, community trust and engagement, transparency in service delivery, appropriate organizational culture, fairness in systems and processes, and consistency in what residents should expect from our Urbandale Police Department.
After Chief Rob Johansen’s presentation, the Mayor and Council discussed ways to ensure the standards of CALEA are formally recognized in the City Code with further consideration expected at a future meeting of the City Council.
September 9, 2020 – Regular Council Meeting
The Mayor began the meeting by reading a proclamation commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Urbandale Lions Club and recognized with appreciation the contributions of the Lions Club to the Urbandale community.
The City Council approved a preliminary plat and site plan for townhomes to be constructed near the roundabout at the intersection of 142nd Street and Douglas Parkway. There are two different styles of townhomes being constructed—those facing the streets will not have basements and those on the east side of the development will have basements.
The City Council approved an agreement with Confluence to complete final design plans for community signage at the 100th Street interchange and the Meredith Drive interchange. The design plans will be completed this year and the project will be ready to bid this winter.
Before adjourning, the City Council moved into a closed session to talk about current and pending litigation. The City Council will meet again on Tuesday, September 15 for a worksession.
August 25, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The City Council met via WebEx for a regularly-scheduled Council meeting on Tuesday, August 25. Due to increasing coronavirus cases in the region, City Hall continues to be closed to the public but City employees continue to work inside the building.
The Mayor began the meeting with a proclamation recognizing the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. On July 2, 1919, Iowa was the tenth state to ratify the 19th Amendment which ensured that the right to vote could not be denied or abridged based on sex.
The City Council approved a site plan for a new Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh to be built near the roundabout at 142nd Street and Douglas Parkway. The building will be around 6,000 square feet (of which 2,000 square feet will be for a coffee shop). The site plan also includes an outdoor patio seating area.
The Council also approved an aquatic programs partnership agreement with the YMCA of Greater Des Moines that provides swim lessons and fitness classes at a subsidized rate for Urbandale residents. Since closing the pool on March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parks and Recreation staff has been working to secure aquatic options for Urbandale residents until a decision is made on when the pool will re-open.
The YMCA will offer Urbandale residents swim lessons at a discounted price of $85 per session, which would include a 30-minute lesson held once a week for six weeks. This would be a $35 savings from what current non-YMCA members pay for lessons. The YMCA will also offer Urbandale residents the opportunity to purchase a monthly pass for aqua exercise classes at select YMCA locations for $50 per month. This pass would be exclusive for Urbandale residents only and would provide residents access to a minimum of 3 classes per week.
August 20, 2020 – Council Worksession
The City Council met for a work session on Thursday, August 20 to discuss race and diversity in Urbandale. The Mayor and Councilmembers shared their observations and perspectives on national, regional, and local events over the last several months. The Mayor and Council identified five issues that they wanted to address: mental health support, affordable housing for families and seniors, economics, formalization of Police Department standards, and preservation of families. After identifying those five areas, the Mayor and Councilmembers identified actions they could take to address them. Those potential actions will be summarized, staff will provide more information on them for the elected officials, and they will be considered at a future City Council meeting or work session.
August 18, 2020 – Council Worksession
The City Council met for a worksession on Tuesday, August 18 to discuss timing and logistics of the Capital Improvements Program as well as operational overviews and updates related to the Indoor Swimming Pool and COVID-19.
The Capital Improvements Program (CIP) is developed, reviewed, and updated every year to allow for a well-organized evaluation of all potential projects at the same time. If you have ever wondered when a street or building will be constructed you can always look to the CIP to find that information. Urbandale's CIP places a focus on preserving and enhancing infrastructure (like streets and bridges) while ensuring the efficient use of public funds. With a preliminary timeline now established, city staff will begin putting together a recommended CIP by November 6.
The Indoor Swimming Pool remains drained and indefinitely closed until the pandemic is better controlled. City Hall and public buildings are expected to remain closed through the end of September. The City Council will meet again for a worksession on race and diversity this Thursday, August 20.
August 11, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The City Council met via WebEx for a regularly-scheduled Council meeting on Tuesday, August 11. Due to increasing coronavirus cases in the region, City Hall has been closed to the public but City employees continue to work inside the building.
The Urbandale City Council approved an agreement with MetroNet to begin construction of a network for high-speed fiber optic internet, TV, and phone service throughout the Urbandale community. MetroNet is a private sector provider based in Indiana. The company offers 100 percent fiber optic connections directly to homes and businesses with speeds ranging from 100 Megabits to 1 Gigabit per second. It will take approximately one year to build out the Urbandale system, with the first customers expected to begin receiving service in the coming year. The construction of this fiber optic network by MetroNet is being financed entirely by the company. No taxpayer funds are being used to finance or incentivize the construction.
The City Council approved an agreement with MSA Professional Services, Inc. for a Stormwater Drainage Study. With several major storms over the last few years, it has become apparent that the City's current storm sewer system in the older parts of Urbandale is not adequate to handle the stormwater to the satisfaction of the City and residents. The stormwater study will involve analyzing portions of the Beaver Creek and Walnut Creek Watersheds in eastern Urbandale, and then recommending an improvement strategy. The ultimate goal is to improve the existing storm sewer system and install storm sewer sump pump services on the new infrastructure. The Study will also include creating a priority list for improvements to assist with planning future capital improvement projects.
July 28, 2020 - Council Worksession and Regular Council Meeting
The City Council met for a worksession before the regularly scheduled Council Meeting for a discussion on MetroNet’s proposal to place fiber optic infrastructure in the City of Urbandale. No official action was taken at the worksession. Staff will continue to work with MetroNet to develop and bring forward a proposal for consideration at a later council meeting.
County Supervisor Robert Brownell presented information about the increasing COVID-19 cases in the county and also noted how the pandemic is affecting the mental health and wellbeing of people in our community.
Mayor Robert Andeweg signed a resolution unanimously approved by the Urbandale City Council encouraging the observance of public health practices like social distancing and the use of face coverings in Urbandale. These practices can help slow the spread of coronavirus and help keep Urbandale open for business. The safety of the Urbandale community has been the top priority for the Urbandale City Council since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The City has taken several steps to protect its residents, businesses, and staff with increased safety measures and operational changes. The Council established the 2020-2021 special bow hunt season for antlerless deer, allowing controlled bow hunting on public lands. The City’s participation in the bow hunt is based on recommendations from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Polk County Deer Task Force (PCDTF). The PCDTF recommended a controlled bow hunting program be conducted.
The Police Department has always been tasked with managing the crossing guard program to include hiring, training, and equipping the crossing guards. The demands of managing the crossing guard program have grown over the years and require significant police resources. The City Council approved a contract with a private company to provide twelve crossing guards for the community. Contracting crossing guard services will eliminate considerable liability as well as free up staff time in the Police Department, Human Resources, and Finance.
The City Council approved the use of a searchlight to commemorate the opening of the Meredith Drive and Iowa 141 interchanges in the Urban Loop. The searchlight will be on for a maximum of seven consecutive days, from dusk until approximately 11:30 p.m. This commemorative usage is anticipated to take place in August or September 2020. The searchlight will be rented using funds from the Urbandale Development Fund, a private fund held under Endow Urbandale at the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation.
After much discussion, the City Council did not permanently close the Indoor Public Pool. Instead, the pool remains drained and indefinitely closed until the pandemic is better controlled.
July 21, 2020 - Council Worksession
The City Council met for a worksession to review progress on major construction projects, an update on the FEMA Community Rating System, a stormwater update, and a discussion about telecommunications options for Urbandale.
The Public Works & Engineering department updated the Council on major construction projects in Urbandale including annual street maintenance, the Parks and Public Works Maintenance Facility and the status of major transportation projects like the reconstruction of 104th Street and 72nd Street, as well as the Urban Loop interchanges at Meredith Drive and Iowa 141. The department also presented information about FEMA’s community rating system and how Urbandale’s participation in this program benefits homeowners by helping to lower their insurance premiums.
The Economic Development department briefly introduced a potential project for additional telecommunications options for Urbandale. The City Council will meet again on Tuesday (before the regularly scheduled Council meeting) to do a deep dive on the topic.
Before concluding the work session, Mayor Andeweg initiated a discussion on the possibility of the City Council encouraging the use of face coverings by the Urbandale public. It is expected that the City Council will consider this topic at their regular meeting on Tuesday, July 28.
July 14, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The City Council met via WebEx for a regularly-scheduled Council meeting on Tuesday, July 14. Due to increasing coronavirus cases in the region, City Hall has been closed to the public but City employees continue to work inside the building. When City Hall is eventually re-opened, residents may notice new protocols put in place (such as face coverings in common areas). The City of Urbandale is taking extra precautions to keep staff healthy and ready to serve the public. These new precautions are in addition to sneezeguards, deep cleaning, and social distance floor markings.
The City Council accepted a bid to construct community entrance signs at the intersection of 100th Street and Hickman Road and near Urbandale’s border at 156th Street south of Maple Drive. It is anticipated that this project would be completed by May 2021. These signs are part of an overall community entrance signage master plan to identify and enhance major entrances into the Urbandale community.
The Council set a public hearing for July 28 to consider changing the fireworks section of the City Code to allow only civic and governmental entities to seek Council approval for the use of fireworks within the City.
The Council approved a site plan for Casey’s General Stores to build a convenience store at the southwest corner of Meredith Drive and 114th Street at the north end of the Aurora Business Park. The property will be just east of the soon-to-open Meredith Drive and I-35/80 Urban Loop interchange. The building will be predominately brick and have access to the Urbandale trail and sidewalk network.
The Council also approved the purchase of ten additional police body cameras. The Police Department had been gradually expanding the body-worn camera program. Recent events across the country have highlighted the need for body-worn camera use more widely and the City has accelerated the timeline to expand the body camera program. A timely receipt of state forfeiture funds by the City will defray the cost of the cameras.
The Council’s last action at the meeting was to approve an agreement with Goldfish Swim School located in Urban Town Center at 86th Street and Douglas Avenue to offer swim lessons at a reduced rate in light of the recent closure of the City of Urbandale’s indoor pool.
June 30, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The meeting was rescheduled midday on June 30, 2020 to be a videoconference-only meeting in response to increasing COVID-19 cases in Polk County. The City of Urbandale prioritizes the health and safety of the community and will use the technology available to maintain social distancing while conducting the essential business of the City.
The City Council approved the first reading of the proposed rezoning of the Ashford Ridge Apartments property located on Patricia Drive just south of Douglas Avenue. This rezoning would accommodate the rebuilding of an apartment building that was destroyed by fire in early 2020. The planned unit development zoning will also make minor adjustments to parking and other site development standards. When the destroyed apartment building is replaced, there would be a total of four buildings with 108 two-bedroom and 12 one-bedroom units.
In an example of regional cooperation, the City Council approved Urbandale’s participation in the joint operation of a central salt storage facility for winter use with six other communities.
After Council discussion and input from community members, the City Council considered and approved a request for a private fireworks display at a residence in western Urbandale.
The Director of Parks and Recreation provided detailed information to the City Council about the indoor pool located on Aurora Avenue. The staff recommendation is to close the pool given multiple challenges that have been made more difficult by the Coronavirus. The Director also provided information about interim aquatic options for patrons. The City Council made the decision to table consideration of the permanent closure of the indoor pool to the regular City Council meeting of July 28, 2020.
The Mayor closed the meeting by reminding the community of the fireworks planned for Saturday, July 4 at 10 PM and advising that the use of fireworks without a permit is prohibited in Urbandale. The Mayor also commented that there would be a future follow-up on the Listening Session on race and diversity held last week.
June 23, 2020 - Council Worksession
The City Council met for a worksession regarding building code updates and how it relates to the Urbandale community. The Community Development Department presented highly-technical information, relating to code administration, plan reviews, and field inspections.
Urbandale’s building codes are a set of rules that help specify the standards for constructed objects such as homes and office buildings. The main purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety, and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures.
The City Council gave staff direction to move forward on drafting an update to the building codes and preparing an ordinance for adoption at a later council meeting.
June 16, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The Mayor began the meeting with an official Mayoral Commendation on the 50th Anniversary of Living History Farms. The first employee of the Living History Farms Foundation was hired in 1970 and the development and renovation of buildings and exhibits on Living History Farms’ five hundred acres has continued for five decades. In the last year, over 80,000 visitors from 50 states and 17 countries came to Living History Farms in Urbandale.
The City Council approved a bid for a 100-stall parking lot at Walnut Creek Regional Park. The lot will cost about $366,000 and is part of a multi-year upgrade plan for the park. The City Council also approved Small Business Relief Grant awards to 38 Urbandale businesses and recommend to Greater Des Moines Partnership and Iowa Center for Economic Success execution of contracts with awardees.
Communities across the country have been having important conversations about race and Urbandale will, too. Next Thursday, June 26 at 6 PM at the Urbandale High School Performing Arts Center, the Mayor and City Council will host a listening session with the Urbandale community.
June 2, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
Mayor Andeweg began the meeting by asking for a moment of silence to call to mind and reflect on how we can each contribute to easing the very difficult tensions our community, state and nation are experiencing in the wake of the unfortunate events in Minneapolis.
The Council officially added to the City Code new traffic signals at each side of the future Meredith Drive interchange with I-35/80 and at Meredith Drive and 112th Street in the Urban Loop.
The City Council considered a request for a private fireworks display that was to be held on June 13 at a home in western Urbandale. A motion to approve the private fireworks display did not receive a second. A second to a proposed motion is an indication that there is at least one councilmember besides the mover that is interested in voting on the motion. Without a second, the request was not voted on and the private fireworks display was not approved.
The City Council approved changes to the policy for determining what types of buildings qualify for a Class A Office Incentive. The guidelines are now more objective and environmental sustainability elements were added as a requirement for the Class A Incentive.
The City Council approved purchases of trash containers, trail resurfacing projects, and approved a non-union salary schedule reflecting a three percent increase.
May 19, 2020 - Council Worksession and Regular Council Meeting
The City Council met by videoconference for a worksession regarding the future operational plans for the Indoor Public Pool. Staff from the Parks & Recreation Department presented ideas and options for what operating an Indoor Pool would look like amidst coronavirus. After an hour of discussion, the Council adjourned the worksession, noting a final decision would be made in the future, and called to order the regular council meeting.
The Council accepted "Onward Urbandale", the City of Urbandale Plan for Recovering from COVID-19. The plan provides guidance for a phased reopening of facilities and activities. The plan is guided by three main principles:
- Provide the valued services that our residents, visitors, and business community have come to depend on and utilize regularly
- Safeguard the health of City employees and the public
- Remain adaptive to changing situations and guidance from authorities
The plan also documents strategies for functions like communications, enforcement, and finance.
Due to coronavirus, most of the Fourth of July activities were cancelled this year except for the annual fireworks display. The Council approved a request from the Urbandale Fourth of July Committee for a $15,000 contribution to put towards the fireworks display—ensuring that fireworks would continue in Urbandale.
The City Council will meet again for its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 2 at 6 PM via WebEx. Please check the Agenda Center for more information.
May 12, 2020 - Council Worksession
The City Council met by videoconference for a worksession on economic development incentives and an update on the City’s coronavirus response.
Staff from the Economic Development Department presented an overview of how the city currently provides tax incentives for new business and development in Urbandale. Staff explained the three types of tax incentives and how businesses and developers access the incentives—showing the short- and long-term property tax impacts of new developments that receive incentives. The City Council provided perspectives on employment requirements and architectural standards for developments that receive incentives.
The City Manager gave the Council an overview of the City’s Coronavirus response. The City plans to have staff working at City facilities again beginning on Monday, May 18, pending guidance from the Governor’s Office. The City Manager explained that the status of normal summer schedules and programming is still to be determined. Finally, the City Manager shared a draft plan for the City’s recovery from COVID-19.
May 5, 2020 – Regular Council Meeting
The City Council meeting began with a proclamation recognizing Police Week 2020. Across the nation, May 15 is recognized as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls is designated as National Police Week. This recognition has particular importance for Urbandale as the community remembers the ultimate sacrifice made by Urbandale Police Officer Justin Martin in 2016.
In Planning and Zoning items, the City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone property at the northeast quadrant of the intersection of Goodman Drive and 74th Street to create eight residential lots. This rezoning will be considered again at the next meeting. The Council also approved a site plan for a new 112-room Homewood Suites hotel on Plum Drive west of 86th Street and approved the preliminary plat for a 12-lot subdivision near Douglas Avenue and 142nd Street.
The Council approved bids for police department equipment and roadway salt in anticipation of the next winter driving season.
April 21, 2020 – Regular Council Meeting
The City Council met for a regular council meeting this evening via videoconference. This is the fourth time since the onset of Iowa’s Coronavirus response that the City Council has met by videoconference.
After reading a proclamation related to Arbor Day in Urbandale (a “Tree City USA” community), the Council spent the first part of the meeting discussing planning and zoning items.
One notable project is Lillis Lofts, an affordable housing development planned to be built just southwest of Merle Hay Mall—the site plan and plat was approved for this project. Site plans for both Iowa Bankers Association’s new headquarters office building on Northpark Drive in the Urban Loop and a building addition for Emmaus House in Downtown Urbandale were approved by the Council. Plats were also approved for the creation of new lots on the former K-Mart site at Hickman Road and 72nd Street. This action opens new opportunities for development at the former retail store site.
A site plan was also approved to build an open-air shelter and parking lot to serve visitors to the Walnut Creek Regional Park. The shelter and parking lot will be built to the east of Walnut Creek, and south of Aurora Avenue. The new parking lot and large shelter are identified in the Capital Improvements Program and will be constructed in two phases.
In mid-March, Governor Reynolds began issuing orders to restrict operations of certain businesses as a means to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. While these measures were a public health necessity, the impact on businesses in Urbandale has been severe. The Council approved a contribution of $101,970 to a regional small business relief grant program to help fund and create an effective way to assist impacted Urbandale businesses. Other participating communities are considering similar contributions. These funds would be allocated to support Urbandale businesses with successful applications. For more information in the coming days, please watch the City’s COVID-19 Business Resources page.
The Council also approved a settlement negotiated by the City’s insurance provider and authorized the Mayor to sign the agreement and release.
April 14, 2020 - Council Worksession
The City Council met for a worksession this afternoon via videoconference. This is the third time since the onset of Iowa’s Coronavirus response that the City Council has met by videoconference.
Neighborhood Finance Corporation (NFC) Executive Director Stephanie Preusch updated the Mayor and City Council on the work the NFC is doing and the opportunities they could offer Urbandale residents. NFC provides lending programs and other services to facilitate targeted neighborhood revitalization in Polk County and other areas of Iowa through partnerships with residents, governments, community-based organizations, and the business community. NFC lending is based on neighborhoods or lending areas and is designed to complement a larger revitalization strategy that could be created by the City. The Council expressed interest in the program and asked staff to continue evaluating a program like this for Urbandale.
City Manager A.J. Johnson and Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell presented preliminary information to the Mayor and City Council on a program designed to assist businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Council asked staff to prepare more information for consideration at the April 21 City Council meeting.
The City Council will meet again for its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 21 at 6 PM via WebEx. Please check the Agenda Center for more information.
April 7, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The City Council met in regular session this evening via videoconference. This is the second time since the onset of Iowa’s Coronavirus response that the City Council has had to meet by videoconference. The new process is working well, presentations are being shared, and comments from guests are being made.
Tonight, the City Council approved development agreements with four developers investing in new projects in Urbandale:
- Remarc Enterprises, LLC for 4404 Merle Hay Road. The project is a major rehabilitation and expansion of the building for Broken Arrow Wear.
- Unity Center Pointe, LLC for a new building at 5200 100th Street. The new 13,000 square foot medical building is being constructed for a new Unity Point clinic.
- 8860 Northpark Drive, LLC. for a new multi-tenant office building at 8860 Northpark Drive. The 10,000 square foot building will house a dental practice plus two additional suites for lease.
- Iowa Bankers Insurance and Services, Inc. for a new building at 9001 Northpark Drive. The 60,000 sf office project will be the new headquarters for the Iowa Bankers Association.
The City Council also approved the sale of two bonds (the way the City “borrows” money to finance projects) after receiving favorable bids: one for $4.97 million and another for $11.36 million. Interest rates will average 1.96% and 1.85%, respectively, over the 10-year term of the bonds. The City of Urbandale’s bond rating as approved by Moody’s Investor Service is Aa1, a reflection of the City’s financial strength and fiscal management.
And the City continues to conduct business as usual (as much as possible) as the Council approved the purchase of fuel for City vehicles at a very competitive rate that is expected to cover municipal fuel needs for approximately two years.
March 24, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
Tonight was a first for the Urbandale City Council. Restrictions on public gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a meeting be held by videoconference. One of the first actions of the meeting was Mayor Andeweg’s proclamation that a time of emergency exists in the City of Urbandale.
This was the first time that the Mayor has had to invoke this emergency provision. The proclamation has the purpose of allowing “… the City of Urbandale to act quickly and decisively to implement the disaster response plan of any State or Federal agency, or to otherwise act in the best interest of the residents and businesses of the City of Urbandale…” The Mayor affirmed that any powers under this proclamation are used judiciously.
The Public Hearing on the amendment to the Waterford Landing Planned Unit Development was continued to the next City Council meeting on April 7, 2020. The City Council established Public Hearings on development agreements for four economic development projects to be held at the April 7 City Council meeting. The City Council also approved the purchase of a van for the Parks and Recreation Department and a contract for Emergency Medical Services billing software.
March 10, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
The regular session of the City Council began with a request from the Mayor for Fire Chief Jerry Holt to report on the Sunday, March 8 fire at the Ashford Ridge apartment complex. The Chief explained that no residents or firefighters were injured in the incident. The cause of the fire, which began outside the building, is currently unknown, but an investigation into the apparently accidental cause is expected to conclude in the coming days.
Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell provided an update to the City Council, focusing on the County’s response to COVID-19. The Supervisor urged good hygienic practices and referred the public to their website for more information.
The Council unanimously approved the budget (for the upcoming fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2020); cutting the City’s property tax levy by thirty-six cents (3.4 percent). The total operating budget of approximately $54 million maintains the exceptional city services that Urbandale residents have come to expect and also funds four new positions (including two new police officers), a health and social services function, and increased funding for stormwater management. The Council also took steps to initiate the sale of bonds to fund major projects for the 2020 construction season.
The Council also commissioned artist Clint Hansen to create and install public art sculptures on both the east and west sides of the Douglas Avenue interchange. More information is available on the City’s website.
The Council will meet again on Tuesday, March 17 for a monthly worksession. Watch the Agenda Center for more information or to view complete details on any of the Council Agenda items.
February 25, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
Mayor and City Council began their Tuesday meeting by formally recognizing and thanking everyone involved in two successful CPR life-saving events. Seconds count in an emergency, and it takes a dedicated Urbandale team to answer the call. The City of Urbandale is grateful for the following people who helped save a life:
Successful CPR Event on December 8, 2019:
Bystander Cathy Hale, Dispatcher Alex Kerr, Police Officer Brad Frick, Firefighter/Paramedic Coden Tennison, Firefighter/Paramedic Nick Porter, Fire Lieutenant Cory Macumber, Driver/Engineer Drew Stiles, and Firefighter/Paramedic Adam Tryon.
Successful CPR Event on January 20, 2020:
Bystander Eric Shimla, Dispatcher Chinyere Nwogu, Police Officer Micheal Ploeger, Firefighter/Paramedic Logan Derry, Firefighter/EMT Jackson Salter, Driver/Engineer John Ouverson, Firefighter/EMT Cory Seaton, Fire Lieutenant Dan Birkett, Driver/Engineer David Langley, Firefighter/EMT Josh Lux, Firefighter/EMT Brady Mausser.
The Council opened a series of public hearings and reviewed bids for various projects around town including the NW 54th Avenue reconstruction project and the Police Station roof replacement project.
The Council also approved an agreement for design services for Phase II and III of the Jackaline Baldwin Dunlap Park and Arboretum Master Plan. Once the designs are completed the City will have construction plans to build a memorial courtyard, seating area, paved plaza, and primary entrance enhancements for the Arboretum.
The Council will meet again on Tuesday, March 10. Watch the Agenda Center for more information or to view complete details on any of the Council Agenda items.
February 18, 2020 - Council Worksession
Mayor and City Council met for its February worksession over the Noon hour on Tuesday. The single topic for this session was stormwater: what it is, how Urbandale handles it and what can be done to limit the damage it causes to public and private properties. Engineering staff delivered a presentation to the Council.
Stormwater has been an important topic in Urbandale for years, but especially after the extraordinarily damaging floods of June 30 and July 1, 2018. While the City has been investing in infrastructure and practices to address older problematic areas and prepare for more intense rainfall, there will always be some storms that will overwhelm the best-designed systems.
The Council concluded their meeting by giving staff direction to map the drainage basins on the east side of the city and, as the budget allows, to contract with engineers to study those basins and provide recommendations on how to address problems within them. Meanwhile, city programs and regional efforts are in place to help homeowners address stormwater problems on their properties. For more information, visit https://www.urbandale.org/256/Storm-Water
February 11, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
City Council began their Tuesday meeting by formally accepting the donation of the Urbandale Miracle League Complex (special surface baseball field) and thanked all those involved in the fundraising and success of this project.
The Council moved forward many projects that will improve the quality of life in Urbandale, addressing sidewalks, streets, storm sewers, and parks:
- An annual program to repair over 100 places in Urbandale’s sidewalk system
- Work to repair storm sewer intakes in the neighborhood south of Meredith Drive and east of 100th Street
- Repair of concrete streets in several areas of Urbandale
- A trail connection in the northwest part of Walnut Creek Regional Park
- Construction of four pickleball courts at Walker Johnston Park
- Installation of an accessible restroom at the Miracle League complex
- Purchased two new street sweepers and a mosquito fogger
Bids were submitted by various companies for all of these projects, and the great news was that almost all of these projects had bids that were less expensive than estimated. Lower bids mean quality projects are completed with less money.
The Council also advanced the Merle Hay Apartments project near the southwest corner of Merle Hay Mall.
The Council will meet again on Tuesday, February 18 for a work session on stormwater management. Watch the Agenda Center for more information or to view complete details on any of tonight’s Council Agenda items.
February 4, 2020 - Budget Worksession
City Council met for a budget worksession last night. Members are making preliminary decisions on the budget for the next fiscal year, with final decisions to be made by the end of March. Council gave staff direction to build a budget that includes these aspects:
- Planned reduction in the city property tax levy of 36 cents per thousand dollars of valuation
- Overwhelming majority of local option sales tax revenue will be applied to the City’s outstanding debt, reducing principal and interest payments.
- Creation of a Health and Social Services function in the budget that can be used for community services for residents or projects that generally support the quality of life in Urbandale.
- Funds increased for the Urbandale Public Library to restore Library opening hours which were reduced last year.
Public hearings on the budget will be on Tuesday, February 25 and again on Tuesday, March 10. After those hearings, Council will make final decisions on the budget for the July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 fiscal year.
January 28, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
Your Urbandale City Council met in regular session last night. Mayor Andeweg administered the Oath of Office for two new Urbandale police officers: Bryce Andrews and Carlos Pacheco-Meza. The Mayor welcomed these new officers and thanked them and their families for their service to the community. Urbandale’s budget reflects the City’s priority for public safety. Over a quarter of the City’s expenditures are for police, fire, emergency preparedness and animal control.
The City Council approved the installation of a yield sign at the intersection of 149th Street and Sheridan Avenue on the recommendation of the City Engineer. Traffic control signs and signals are governed in Urbandale on the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) which helps to ensure that the proper controls are in place for safe and efficient traffic flow. City staff worked with the neighbors to hear their concerns and address those using guidelines from the MUTCD.
City Council also made decisions on those routine but important items that keep the City going, including heating and air conditioning improvements at City Hall, agreements with neighboring cities and outfitting of police vehicles.
January 25, 2020 - Budget Worksession
All-day budget work session for Mayor and City Councilmembers where City Manager and staff presented a proposed budget for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2020. The proposed budget would reduce the City of Urbandale property tax levy by 36 cents per thousand dollars of taxable valuation.
Major themes from the budget presentation and discussion included: Partnerships, Efficiency, Service and Technology. The Mayor and Council asked questions about every department and function with these following highlights from the day:
- Inter-city Partnerships: Urbandale collaborates with West Des Moines and Clive to fund and operate WestPet, the animal control service for the three cities;
Urbandale and Clive collaborate both on the closest unit response to send whichever City is best positioned to respond to an emergency and on the third fire station being built at 152nd Street and Meredith Drive.
- Energy and Fuel Efficiencies: Conversion of standard streetlights to LED’s will save another $6,000 this year and approximately $90,000 per year over conventional streetlights. Bulk fuel purchases save approximately 40 cents per gallon for fuel compared to the market price.
- Quality of Life: The Council is focused on providing excellent services and amenities for the people of Urbandale, keeping in mind the needs of those with less means than others.
- Leveraging Technology: Urbandale is moving to cloud-based services, eliminating vulnerable tape and conventional servers. Cameras, GPS and sensors allow Urbandale to monitor equipment, system performance, inventories and maintenance needs.
The next Council Meeting is Tuesday, February 4 to continue budget discussions. Two formal public hearings on the budget will be February 25 and March 10. Watch the Agenda Center for more information
January 14, 2020 - Regular Council Meeting
Last night the City Council approved the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) for 2020 through 2025. The CIP defines major infrastructure projects, building or equipment purchases over five years and how those are paid for. The City of Urbandale goes through a thorough process for developing the CIP: staff prepares a recommended plan which is forwarded to a CIP Committee made up of city elected officials, representatives of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, school district representatives and citizens. The CIP Committee reviews every project in the plan and after a public hearing, makes a recommendation to the City Council on the projects and the timing of them. The City Council then considers approval of the CIP as they did last night.
The CIP is available online for review. A sample of projects slated for 2020 include:
- Preliminary designs and citizen survey on potential community recreation, senior citizen and aquatic facilities for Urbandale
- A Parks and Public Works Maintenance Facility on Hickman Road to consolidate currently separate operations into one efficient facility
- Installations of a restroom, drinking fountain and utilities at Deer Ridge West Park
- Construction of pickleball courts at Walker Johnston Park
- A five-fold increase in creek and stream drainage improvements
- $2 million in street rehabilitation
- Improvements to Douglas Avenue between 100th Street and North Walnut Creek (near Walker Johnston Park)
- Installation of a traffic signal at 112th Street and Meredith Drive
- Various water main projects throughout Urbandale
City Council approved site plans for a Kwik Star convenience store at Plum Drive and 100th Street, a four-unit condominium townhouse project at 10112 Meredith Drive, an addition at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and a child daycare center at 128th Street and Meredith Drive.
City Council authorized the purchase of new equipment for the playground at Golfview West Park, one of over 50 parks available to Urbandale residents and visitors.
The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11. Watch for agendas and minutes for all meetings in the City’s Agenda Center.