Spencer City Council Chambers sign

Council supports IGL Construction housing development

George Moriarty knows Spencer needs more housing. It make sense, then, that the at-large city councilman was excited to be part of a 7-0 unanimous vote Monday night approving a resolution of support for a housing project planned by IGL Construction at 221 32nd Avenue West. “Hallelujah!” Moriarty exclaimed following the vote. According to an agenda memo from city staff, the homes are meant “to meet the growing workforce housing need in the region.”

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

City council notes: June 1, 2020

The Spencer City Council discussed the following during its regular meeting on June 1. First filing of ordinance concerning planned unit residential development approved

The Spencer City Council held a public hearing on and then voted 7-0 to approve the first filing of an ordinance that makes a number of changes to city code regarding planned unit residential development (PURD). Changes to that code, according to an agenda item memo from staff, will allow for smaller lot sizes in new developments, which helps the city in creating more workforce housing. The recommendations were included in the city’s economic development strategic plan that was completed by David Toyer. The amendments are:

Reducing the required PURD common open area from 10% to 5%Reducing the required PURD minimum site size from 5 acres to 1 acreEstablishing the following minimum standards:Minimum lot area: 4,000 square feetMinimum lot width: 40 feetMaximum height: 45 feetFront yard setback: 20 feetSide yard setback: 5 feetRear yard setback: 15 feetMaximum lot coverage: 80%

Final filing of solid waste rates and charges increase approved

The council voted 7-0 to approve the third and final filing of an ordinance that increases solid waste rates and charges effective July 1.

Map of Iowa counties with April 2020 unemployment rates

Clay County unemployment rate 10.5% in April

The unemployment rate in Clay County climbed to 10.5% in April, showing how COVID-19 closures and related workforce changes have affected area jobs. April’s rate is a significant increase from the 3.7% rate in March. Clay County’s unemployment rate in April 2019 was 2.7%. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said last week that April was the first month Iowa truly saw the impact COVID-19 has had on the state’s unemployment rate. “We remain hopeful that as we reopen the state and more people return to work, the rate will decrease quickly and this unprecedented rate will be a very temporary one,” Townsend said.

Iowa Workforce Development

New Iowa unemployment claims total 67,334; 281 in Clay County

The U.S. Department of Labor reported 67,334 initial unemployment claims in Iowa filed between March 29 and April 4. The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims in Iowa is 92,962, according to Iowa Workforce Development (IWD). Unemployment insurance benefits paid to claimants totaled almost $27.6 million. IWD stated the following industries had the most claims:

Health care and social assistance, 9,632Manufacturing, 9,218Retail trade, 8,088Accommodation and food services, 7,123Construction, 2,696

IWD data shows Clay County had 281 initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending April 4, 325 initial claims for the week ending March 28 and 155 initial claims for the week ending March 21. Iowans can file initial and weekly unemployment claims online.

city of spencer iowa new logo

City of Spencer February building permits

The City of Spencer in February issued six building permits on projects that together totaled over $4.35 million in construction costs. Fees for the permits totaled $5,015. Here’s more information about February’s permits, as provided by the city. Weasy’s Lounge, 216 Grand Avenue, exterior facade remodel, $50,000 construction cost, $150 permit fee

Nicholas Applegate, 316 Grand Avenue; renovation of main level into taproom and brewery, lower level to be storage; $100,000 construction cost, $215 permit fee

Residential project, 1612 Country Club Lane, new single-family dwelling, $800,000 construction cost, $1,650 permit fee

City of Spencer, 101 W Fifth Street, install wall sign at city council chambers entrance, $2,205 construction cost, $0 permit fee

Community Housing Initiatives, 503 E 19th Street; rehabilitation work for 52 units to increase accessibility, upgrade electrical, upgrade mechanical, no change to buildings on site; $3,400,000 construction fee, $3,000 permit fee

City of Spencer, 101 W Fifth Street, install Main Street sign at east side of building along First Avenue West, $0 construction cost, $0 permit fee