Council moves on townhome, apartment issues

A plan for new townhomes and a long-dormant proposal for some new apartment buildings, both located near downtown, received some assistance from the Fort Dodge City Council on Monday.

The council moved to add the Second Avenue South site of the townhomes to a Housing Urban Renewal Area, a move which would make it eligible for tax increment financing money.

Also, the council disposed of an alley to make way for the construction of an apartment building along South Eighth Street, north of Fifth Avenue South.

Townhomes

Twelve townhomes are proposed to be built on a city-owned parking lot along Second Avenue South between Ninth and 10th streets.

JMAE LLC, a company related to Foutch Brothers LLC, of Kansas City, Missouri, plans to have the first six townhomes done by the fall of 2019.

They will be two-story buildings with two or three bedrooms. They will have a selling price of about $225,000.

The council voted 5-1 to add the site to the Housing Urban Renewal Area and to approve the use of tax increment financing to help pay for infrastructure needed for the townhomes. The proposal before the council calls for giving JMAE LLC up to $330,000 in tax increment financing money.

Tax increment financing occurs when increased property tax revenue from a designated area is reinvested in that area. When tax increment financing is used for a housing project, 43.71 percent of that increased revenue must be set aside for housing initiatives to support low and moderate income people.

Councilmembers Kim Alstott, Dave Flattery, Dean Hill, Terry Moehnke and Lydia Schurr voted yes. Councilman Jeff Halter, who is opposed to using tax increment financing for housing projects if the projects don’t remove blight, voted no. Councilman Neven Conrad was absent.

Apartments

In 2016, Metro Investments, of Cedar Falls, proposed three apartment buildings just south of downtown Fort Dodge. Two were to be on South Eighth Street and one was to be on South Seventh Street, north of the Canadian National Railroad tracks.

After much criticism from surrounding property owners, the plan for the apartment house on South Seventh Street was dropped, and the plans for the other two were seemingly put on hold.

Those plans are apparently alive again, although no information on when construction might begin was available at Monday’s council meeting.

However, the council did vote to give the developer a previously vacated alley that runs north and south between Seventh and Eighth streets, south of Fourth Avenue South.

At the same time, the council voted to retain a 20-foot-wide storm sewer easement in the area.

Those two moves were approved without discussion.

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