The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.
7 p.m. July 13, 2021, Newton City Commission meeting
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission approved a letter of intent to pursue a development agreement for an expansion of Cottonwood Crossing, the multi-family housing project at Southeast 24th and I-135.
The expansion is expected to add 50 duplexes, or 100 housing units of 1,550 square feet each, with three bedrooms and two and a half to three bathrooms (depending on the floor plan), and a two-car garage. They will be universal build, slab-on-grade, with a safe room/storm shelter built in. Each unit will be valued at $249,900 or less.
The proposed development will be directly to the south of the existing Cottonwood Crossing and includes 3.6 acres of City-owned property just east of Fire/EMS Station 3.
The total investment for the development will be about $23 million. The developer, Building Kansas LLC, will pay for all expenses in the development of the project area, including the cost of the public infrastructure.
In exchange, the City’s letter of intent includes a good-faith pledge to:
- Initiate the creation of a Rural Housing Incentive District (RHID) for the project area. An RHID provides a property tax rebate to help offset the costs of infrastructure serving the project area.
- Contribute $200,000 toward construction of the public infrastructure.
- Initiate an application for a Moderate Income Housing (MIH) grant of $450,000 from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation.
- Offer a $100,000 credit toward water and sewer tap fees and building permit fees for the development.
- Convey the 3.6 acres of City-owned land east of Fire/EMS Station 3 to the developer. In exchange, the developer will rezone and plat the land and construct a public street to provide access to the development.
Cottonwood Crossing’s first phase opened in 2017 and has consistently had a substantial waiting list, especially for its duplex units.
City staff will work with the developer to finalize a full development agreement for consideration by the Commission and begin the RHID and MIH processes.
The Commission received an update on the 2022 budget and directed City staff to notify the county clerk of the City’s intent to exceed the “revenue neutral rate.” As part of new State law, the City is required to hold an additional budget hearing if it anticipates that its revenues will exceed the previous year’s, even if its mill levy stays the same. Harvey County has estimated that Newton’s assessed valuation will increase by 1.3% next year, so even though City Commissioners have said they intend to keep the tax rate flat, the City expects to exceed the flat revenue number.
The City will notify the county clerk it intends to maintain its current mill levy rate of 62.535 and will hold official public hearings on the budget and the revenue neutral rate at 7 p.m. Aug. 24.
In other action, the City Commission:
- Received a report on American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The City has received its first allocation of $1.4 million, which will be used to make the City whole from losses experienced because of the pandemic. The City will receive another $1.4 million in 2022, which may be used for infrastructure improvements, assistance to residents or businesses affected by COVID-19, or to make up additional losses.
- Approved a resolution of support for continuation of Amtrak passenger rail service and expansion of the Heartland Flyer line from Oklahoma City through Wichita to Newton.
- Authorized staff to complete the application process with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the low-interest loan to finance replacement of the First Street water storage tank and painting of two water towers.
- Amended City Code regarding the height requirements of trees in the public right-of-way to help promote healthier tree growth. The height requirement over sidewalks was changed from 9 feet to 8 feet. Trees over streets or alleys will be required to clear a space of 12 feet over the curb and 14 feet above the crown of the street or alley.
- Approved a request from The Gathering to use the East Sixth Street parking lot on July 18 for Splash Sunday.
- Appointed Ben Mabry to the Community Development Commission.
For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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