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City Council discusses Fountain Hills

The city will be offering 18 lots in the Fountain Hills Subdivision, located near Highway 14 and South 12th Avenue West, to a developer or developers for free after reviewing their proposals.

The city staff will recommend the most creative and high quality design to the council.

City Administrator Bob Knabel said he’s already heard of several developers who are interested in the property.

“There is some interest there and it’s going to be interesting to see how it takes place and develops,” Knabel said.

Since the properties are being offered for free, the city will not offer a tax abatement on the property to the developer. The city believes making the land free is an incentive enough. The city has also already paid for road infrastructure, sewer and other utility infrastructure in the sub-division.

Despite this, Bryan Friedman, director of development and finance, said the property faces some challenges for development.

“Looking at the property, it’s not the easiest site to build on, so use that creativity to design with nature, with the trees, with the hills, and find a way to make those assets to the development,” Friedman said.

The proposals are due on Sept. 9 and both Friedman and Knabel said the timeline is aggressive.

“Free lots should be enticing to folks and we expect a quick turnaround,” Friedman said.

At the last council meeting, the council voted down a proposal for a minor subdivision at Cardinal Hills Golf Course. The proposal failed 5-1.

At Monday night’s meeting Councilor Noreen Otto said she was excited to read the proposals from the developers for Fountain Hills Subdivision.

“A couple weeks ago, we were talking about a housing development and this is the type of project I can get excited about supporting,” Otto said.

At Monday night’s meeting, Dennis Julius also stated he would not be running for re-election.

“It’s been an interesting experience,” Julius said. “But I think it’s time to at least give somebody else a chance to step up and have an opportunity to learn about the city government system and serve the public and influence the future of Newton.”

Julius has served on the City Council for nine of the last 12 years. Applications to be placed on the ballot for city council are due on Sept. 19.

At the beginning of the meeting, Pete Koppin, a lifelong resident of Newton who spoke at the June 16 council meeting, again spoke about the city’s new nuisance ordinance.

Koppin mentioned a specific property that has a car sitting in the front lawn. He said this is a violation of the nuisance ordinance and it has been reported multiple times but nothing has been done about it. Koppin said officers have approached his door to cite the resident for his unseemly lawn, but he doesn’t answer the door. Koppin said the city should have enacted a towing provision into the ordinance.

“With a beautiful home on the north and a beautiful home on the south, we don’t have to put up with that,” Koppin said.

Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at dhon@newtondailynews.com.

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