All posts by Kari Carney

2015 Best Development Awards

Now Accepting Nominations for the 2015 Best Deve1000FRIENDSBDAlopment Awards

1000 Friends of Iowa’s Best Development Awards program is designed to bring attention to cities, companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals who demonstrate how responsible development and planning practices provide benefits to the community, the environment, and quality of life for future generations. Nominated buildings and projects help advance sustainability across our state by considering site placement, design, water efficiency, energy management, materials and resources used, indoor environmental quality, public use, and long-term benefits. There’s no entry fee to submit an application. Deadline is December 15, 2015. Apply today!


  • New Residential
  • Renovated Residential
  • New Commercial/Civic
  • Renovated Commercial/Civic
  • Mixed Use
  • Leadership
  • Storm Water Management


Contact Lori Schervish at or Kari Carney at with any questions.

4″ Topsoil – Final Hearing with the Administrative Rules Review Committee

The Administrative Rules Review Committee will hold its regular, statutory meeting on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Room 103 , State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa.

At 10:20 a.m. the 4″ Topsoil preservation at construction sites will be reviewed and voted on.
•NPDES general permit no.2 — topsoil preservation at construction sites, 64.15 Filed ARC 2054C.

Please attend. This will be the final meeting that allows a rule change which will eviscerate a rule adopted in 2012 to reduce storm water runoff from new construction sites. The rule previously required developers to put at least four inches of topsoil back on sites. Thanks to a lobbying campaign from home-builders, the new wording requires topsoil replacement “unless infeasible,” without defining that term. So any developer who doesn’t feel like spending money to put topsoil back can claim it would have been “infeasible” to do so. This will not improve water quality in Iowa. It is important to have plenty of people present who will represent water quality and homeowner concerns.

MPO – Public Input Meeting

The Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will host a public input meeting to receive comments on the Federal Fiscal Years 2016-2019 Transportation Improvement Program (FFY 2016-2019 TIP) Draft. The meeting starts at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 23, 2015, in the MPO’s Meeting Room, 420 Watson Powell, Suite 200, Des Moines, IA.

The TIP contains four years of projects MPO member governments anticipate implementing using federal transportation dollars. The TIP is the programming document for all surface transportation projects that receive Federal funds, including: street and highway, transit, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian projects in the MPO Planning Area Boundary. The MPO updates the TIP annually and at member governments’ request. The MPO informs the public as to what member governments’ and participating agencies’ intentions are regarding these projects and the use of these federal dollars.

The MPO will host the public input meeting using the open forum format to encourage the meeting attendees to express their views, to share their opinions, and to ask their questions regarding the proposed projects. One may share their opinion with the MPO staff in three ways: 1) orally at the meeting; 2) in writing via forms available at the meeting; or, 3) by submitting written comments to the MPO before the June 23,
2015, meeting but prior to the close of the comment period on July 16, 2015.

The FFY 2016-2019 Draft TIP is viewable on the MPO’s website,, or one may request a paper copy at (515)-334-0075 or

Dakota Access Pipeline – Transport Bakken crude oil across Iowa

The Iowa Utilities Board has tentatively scheduled its review of the Dakota Access Pipeline to transport Bakken crude oil across Iowa. The board could act by the end of the year on the request.

The 350-mile project involves construction of a 30-inch diameter hazardous liquid pipeline crossing 18 counties in Iowa. Dakota Access is expected to ask for the authority to use the state’s power of eminent domain to condemn properties owned by persons who refuse to sell easements to this company for this use.

Full details about the schedule, the procedures and documents can be found at

If the company follows the tentative schedule set by the IUB, the board will consider this matter during public hearings in November and be ready to make a decision in December or early January.

Before the Iowa Utilities Board can act on this matter, it must receive a document called Exhibit H which lists every property to be included in the grant of eminent domain. In order to expedite the matter, the board has published the following tentative schedule, which runs on two tracks:

July 27 — all petitions to intervene in this matter must be on file with the IUB. Petitions submitted after that date will be granted only with good cause.

August 21–IUB staff will issue a report on the petition (except for matters related to Exhibit H) identifying any
additional matters that Dakota Access should address in its public testimony.

September 8–Dakota Access and any interveners supporting the pipeline must submit direct testimony and exhibits.

October 12–Office of Consumer Advocate and any interveners opposing the pipeline must submit direct testimony and exhibits.

October 26–Dakota Access must file rebuttal testimony and exhibits.

In conjunction with the above schedule, Dakota Access must also file its Exhibit H document. The company is free to follow this schedule or adjust its filing decisions. If the Exhibit H filing is delayed, the entire review process slides back.

August 10–Dakota Access may file Exhibit H.

September 14–IUB staff will issue a report on Exhibit H identifying any additional matters that Dakota Access must address in its prefiled testimony.

September 23–Dakota Access and any interveners supporting the pipeline must file testimony addressing the issues raised by IUB staff concerning the Exhibit H document.

If these steps are completed timely, the two review tracks merge on October 12th with the submission of comments by the Office of Consumer Affairs and interveners opposing the pipeline.

The Utilities Board has scheduled two weeks for the public hearing during the period between November 12th and December 2nd.

On January 20, 2015, Dakota Access, LLC, an Energy Transfer Company, filed its petition for permit with the Board regarding a proposal to build a crude oil pipeline (the Dakota Access Pipeline, a.k.a. Bakken Pipeline) across Iowa. Public informational meetings in each involved county were held throughout Iowa during December 2014. For more details, visit the HLP-2014-0001 informational page and review frequently asked questions about eminent domain.

Anyone seeking to file objections, comments, and letters of support in this docket may do so by using the Iowa Utilities Board’s Electronic Filing System (EFS), citing docket number HLP-2014-0001. Click on the “Submit Filing” tab and follow all instructions to log-in as a guest, upload documents and receive a filing ID number.

EPC – 4″ Topsoil – May 19th in Davenport

A reminder that the  EPC will discuss the comments on the 4″ topsoil rule and the proposed change when it meets May 19th in Davenport.

Location:  Davenport East Branch Library, 6000 Eastern Avenue, Davenport, IA
Time:  10:00 AM – EPC Business Meeting begins
Upcoming Meeting Information:  May 18 & 19, 2015 EPC Tour & Meeting Materials

During  March, 2015, the EPC received some 700  comments which raised many important questions, and  the Commissioners should ask to hear responses by the DNR  to these issues raised.

Additional comments and attendance at the meeting will be important.   Their decision is expected at their June meeting.

Bakken Pipeline – Iowa House and Senate consider bills

The Iowa House and Senate are considering bills that would restrict eminent domain legislation by requiring at least 75% voluntary easements from landowners, effectively stopping the plans for the proposed Bakken Pipeline in Iowa.

If you think the Bakken Pipeline should be stopped, please take a minute to fill out this action alert to contact your Iowa House Rep/Senator letting her/him know they should support this legislation.

4 inch topsoil – Des Moines Register – Editorial Position

The Des Moines Register took an editorial position in yesterday’s edition supporting the 4 in topsoil rule as it applies to new construction under the headline: “Don’t erode topsoil rule for new homes”.

The editorial notes:  “Last year, more than 140 Iowans wrote to the state asking that the four-inch rule be retained.  At the same time, just over 100 individuals — almost all of them employed by construction, development and real estate industries — wrote in opposition to the rule.  (A full 12 percent of those opponents are executives of Hubbell Homes and its affiliates.)”

The editorial closes by noting “[the four-inch rule] not only protects consumers from unwittingly buying properties that have been stripped of their topsoil, but also protects what is arguably Iowa’s single most valuable resource.  And without this rule individual homeowners, as well as our cities and counties, will incur costs that dwarf the expense associated with topsoil preservation.”