City Council Discusses Stop Sign Removal At South 7th Street and 5th Avenue East

Oskaloosa City Hall

Oskaloosa City Hall

By Eduardo Zamarripa, CRI Weekly News

Oskaloosa, Iowa – On Monday night, the Oskaloosa City Council approved the second reading of an ordinance to change the intersection at South 7th Street and 5th Avenue East from a four-way stop to a two-way stop. The ordinance passed on a 4-3 vote.

Council members Tom Walling, Doug Yates and Scottie Moore voted against the ordinance. The ordinance still has to pass a third reading before it’s approved.

The Public Works Department performed an all-way stop analysis at the intersection. There were no reported crashes at the intersection of South 7th Street and 5th Avenue East from 2010-12. That’s why the staff’s recommendation is to remove the stop sign on South 7th Street, but keep the sign on 5th Avenue East. However, city council members expressed concerns with the performed study.

“I want to wait at least a year because I think our study has failed because that building (Webster School) has changed,” Walling said.

Yates agreed with Walling.

“As I thought back on that crash history, I as well wondered if (we) were comparing apples to apples at least, because of all the changes we’ve made on South 7th (Street),” Yates said.

Councilman Jason Van Zetten had a different take.

“I just don’t see how that sign adds safety to that spot,” Van Zetten said.

Moore chimed in and said that, because the pre-school has doubled in size, the council should wait to have newer information before making a decision. Council member Aaron Ver Steeg responded to Moore.

“How new can that be if the school’s been there for 100 years?” Ver Steeg said.

In addition to the discussion on the ordinance, earlier in the meeting, the council received three community comments in favor of keeping the stop sign.

“That stop sign is the only way that I get onto that street to go back home. Without the stop sign, traffic would just be very congested,” said Oskaloosa resident Staci Wright. “I just don’t know how taking a stop sign out that we stop for less than 30 seconds, how we can put our children, and adults, at risk to get hit, or someone get hurt.”

The ordinance still has to pass a third reading in the next city council meeting before it’s approved.

Along with the stop sign removal, the third reading of the ordinance to establish a ‘no parking’ zone along the South side of 5th Avenue East between South 7th Street and South 8th Street did not pass for a lack of a second motion.

The council unanimously approved two items regarding the apartment complex that Overland Property Development Group is looking to build in Oskaloosa.

The first item considered approving an application for Enterprise Zone benefits with the state of Iowa. According to the City’s agenda:

“Enterprise Zones are designed to stimulate development by targeting economically distressed areas in Iowa. The City of Oskaloosa has one Enterprise Zone designated and approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IDEA).”

The City created a nine-member commission to be responsible for reviewing and recommending the IEDA applications by local developers to receive tax incentives pertaining to Enterprise Zones. The development group intends to construct 48 low-income multi-family units and invest approximately $8.5 million on the project within Oskaloosa Enterprise Zone 1.

The second item approved conditional support for Overland Property’s application for Section 42 federal low-income housing tax credits. The developer needs state tax credits to help finance the $8 million project. The developer is also looking for a local match from the City in the amount of 6 percent. That’s about $480,000.

The development project is conditional upon the project receiving tax credits through the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA). However, in order to receive these credits, the City needs to approve the conditional support resolution by the IFA’s deadline date of Dec. 9. The City’s agenda explained the following:

“Therefore, this resolution is conditional upon the developer meeting all of the City’s zoning, building, and public infrastructure requirements. In addition, since the developer is requesting financial assistance for the project, the City’s support is also conditional upon the legislative actions necessary to consider providing tax increment financing for the property and a detailed development agreement with terms mutually acceptable to the parties.”

The council also approved three different pay requests. The council unanimously approved two of those:

  • Pay request No. 3 to Delong Construction Inc. in the amount of $154,186.33 for work completed on the West Area Sanitary Sewer Improvements Project
  • Pay request No.2 in the amount of $67,093.75 to Norris Asphalt Paving Co. for the C Avenue East and North 3rd Street Pavement Rehabilitation Project

The third pay request approved by the council passed on a 5-2 vote. Van Zetten and Ver Steeg voted against the request. The motion approved pay request No. 4 in the amount of $14,050.27 and authorized the acceptance of completion for work completed on the South 7th Street Pavement Rehabilitation Project by Norris Asphalt Paving Co.

In addition to that, the council also unanimously approved a change order for a net decrease of $7,545.60 to the contract amount for the West Area Sanitary Sewer Improvements Project to DeLong Construction Inc.

The city council unanimously approved the following items:

  • First reading considering an ordinance to establish a ‘no parking’ zone along the South side of E Avenue East from North 11th Street to North 12 Street
  • First reading considering an ordinance to establish a ‘no parking’ zone along the West side of North 9th Street from A Avenue East to C Avenue East (The city council received two comments against establishing the ‘no parking’ zone, and one comment in favor of establishing it.)
  • First reading considering an ordinance to remove a ‘no parking’ zone along the South side of 3rd Avenue East from South 7th Street to South 11th Street

The next City Council meeting is on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.

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