The Ames City Council unanimously approved a demolition permit for the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house Tuesday.
Due to flood damages and repair expenses, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority has put in a request to demolish the current structure in order to rebuild the house.
The house was built in 1930 and owned by Kappa Kappa Gamma for 70 years.
“You know how people say ‘A place has good bones and just needs a little renovating?’” said Gail Sheluga, a community member who spoke at the public form. "Well [the Kappa Kappa Gamma house] looks good, but our bones are weakening.”
Sheluga said she is the current house director for Kappa Kappa Gamma.
This demolition would make the house qualified for a temporary reduction or elimination of property taxes. Currently, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s rent covers the cost of insurance, long-term maintenance, property taxes and updates to the house, according to an email sent from Jessica Gunter, account manager for MJ Sorority.
At-large Rep. Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen said she expressed concerns from an environmental perspective of the demolition, though she understands the reasoning for the demolition.
“I’m torn on this one," Beatty-Hansen said. "I think the demolition definitely has an environmental impact [...] it can take decades for even an energy efficient building to make up for the fact you just demolished the old one. So, there’s something that I think I’m really hesitating about where we incentivize doing that with a tax abatement. It would be one thing if we were allowing them to it if they can afford it [...] to abate the taxes from it when it’s going against one of our goals, I have a hard time with that.”
The Council voted unanimously to approve the demolition request and discuss the tax abatement another day.
In addition to approving the demolition request, the Council also unanimously approved to amend the first passage of the Zoning Code which will regulate stacked parking.
During the review of the Rental Code and Vacation Lodging Ordinance, there was a discrepancy in the parking standards for a single-family home, according to the Council Action. The code will provide parking requirements in the Rental Code and the Zoning Ordinance of the Ames Municipal Code, where all the regulations, city laws and codes can be found.
The Council also voted to amend the second passage of the ordinance which will regulate massage establishments.
The ordinance was drafted in order to prevent human trafficking and would require managers of the businesses to be Iowa residents, designated in writing, given the responsibility to provide information and be compliant.
The practitioners cannot provide massage services between midnight and 5 a.m. and are required to provide photo identification and licenses in plain sight.
The next City Council meeting will be at 6 p.m., Tuesday in the Council Chambers at City Hall.