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Council gives nod to Tallcorn letter of support

Fencing ordinance passes, parking issue delayed

September 25, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

The Marshalltown City Council has approved a letter of support to the Iowa Finance Authority stating the city believes the Tallcorn Towers rehab would benefit Marshalltown.

At its Monday night meeting, the council voted unanimously to support the application of CommonBond Communities for the Brownfield Redevelopment Tax Credit Program, which would allow the company to push forward with its rehab of the building. The rehab will convert the 64 efficiencies and one-bedroom apartments in the housing development into 49 one-and-two bedroom apartments for low-income families while keeping rental rates roughly the same.

"They are working to fill in all the gaps in financing," said Michelle Spohnheimer, housing and community development director.

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The city council approved a resolution of a letter to Iowa Economic Development supporting CommonBond Communities application for acceptance into a tax credit program for the low-income apartment rehab.

Spohnheimer said the program is similar to other low-income and historic tax credits the company also applied for through the state.

Existing properties with lead and asbestos, such as Tallcorn Towers, are eligible for the tax credits.

"This would be a step in remediating those kind of hazards and help with the cost," she said.

The city's letter of support does not obligate it to pay any portion of the rehab.

Meanwhile, the council approved an ordinance change to fencing requirements that has been a topic of much debate over the past few months.

"The change that this would bring to the city would be to describe a little bit in more detail what we allow for residential and commercial fences," said Stephen Troskey, city planner.

Height and setback regulations for fences remain the same.

The issue came into crisp focus in May when a local man built a fence out of pallets.

Tom Clemons, of Marshalltown, said the ordinance change is a form of bullying where those unhappy with their neighbors' properties use city regulations and nuisance officers to get what they want.

"Unless the actions of a resident on his private property directly affects the safety or health of other residents, the city council should not pass any ordinance limiting the rights of the residents to use their property as they see fit," he said.

The resolution to adopt the changes passed. Council members Al Hoop, fourth ward, and Bob Schubert, first ward, voted against it.

Another hotly debated topic, limitations on back and side yard parking, saw its third reading pushed back. Leon Lamer, at-large council member, made a motion to discuss the issue further at a subsequent Committee of the Whole meeting, which narrowly passed 7-3.

That ordinance change would require residents to park their vehicles on a hard surface or gravel dug to a depth to prevent rutting.



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