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Housing development brought before Reinbeck Council

The Reinbeck City Council discusses city health insurance plan options with Lincoln Savings Bank Senior Vice President Gary Winterhof during the council’s regular meeting on Dec. 6. The council will next meet on Monday, Jan. 3 at 5:30 p.m. Photo by Darvin Graham

Efforts are underway on a project that would convert a downtown Reinbeck building into multi-family housing.

The Reinbeck City Council heard from Allan Rhodes, chair of the city’s Planning and Zoning Committee regarding a recommendation from the committee to approve a rezoning request on the property at 402 Main St. in Reinbeck.

The property is a 4,708 square-foot brick building constructed in 1910 that formerly housed an insurance office in the commercial space on the ground floor level.

The request, made by Brent Bovy and Andy Anderson, was to change the zoning from C1 to C2 in order to allow for apartments to be constructed on the first floor of the building. Bovy and Anderson are exploring the option to purchase the property and renovate it into a mixed-used multi-family building with 10 or more apartments and commercial space on the main floor.

Spurring the rezoning change is an Iowa Economic Development Downtown Housing Grant the potential buyers are looking to apply for to assist with their funding.

The Downtown Housing Grant provides up to $600,000 for properties with 10 or more housing units.

In order to accommodate that number of apartments a portion of the main floor would need to be used to locate three of the apartments.

Rhodes said the committee thought that although the request was a little out of line from an ideal development scenario, they were in favor of granting the request in hopes of revitalizing a vacant downtown storefront.

The council unanimously accepted the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Committee and will bring the rezoning request to a public hearing at their next meeting on January 3rd.

Later during the meeting, Bovy and Anderson addressed the council regarding the project and detailed a tax abatement request that they would be making of the city should the project move forward.

The abatement request would ask the city for a 20 year commitment toward the improvements made on the property. The new owners would still be responsible for the base level of taxes that are currently being paid, which for the most recent year were $1,278.

The 20-year abatement request would ask for 11 years abatement at 100 percent and would decline by 10 percent each year thereafter.

The council offered no opinion on the abatement request and are expected to address the matter at a future meeting.

A 2019 housing needs assessment provided by Butler-Grundy Development Alliance and INRCOG indicated a need within the Reinbeck community for rental housing.

Should the project proceed following the January meeting, the city would be required to be the applicant for the Downtown Housing Grant.

Bovy indicated the grant was a crucial component of their development funding strategy and that the costs of renovating a building of that age could vary depending on factors like asbestos or structural issues.

The IEDA Downtown Housing Grant program deadline for the next cycle is January 30 with the recipients to be announced in late March.

In other business…

The council voted to take no action on an updated city golf cart ordinance that would add UTVs under the same guidelines as golf carts to be allowed on city streets. The change was requested by a Reinbeck resident at a previous meeting who was not present Monday night. No council members spoke in favor of adopting the change to allow UTVs under the city ordinance.