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Adel places temporary moratorium on bitcoin businesses

Mayor Buddy Duke called to order the Special Called Meeting of the Adel City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. 

Council Members present were Terry McClain, Greg Paige, Walter Cowart, Celestine Hayes, and Jody Greene. Others present were City Manager Mark Barber, City Clerk Rhonda Rowe, City Attorney Tim Tanner, and other members of staff and the public.

Councilman McClain gave the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Resolution #23-07 (Moratorium)

Mayor Duke opened up the special called meeting to discuss a potential moratorium regarding the issuing of permits or licensing of crypto mining or data center facilities located within the city limits of Adel.  

City Manager Barber said three members of the Council had requested the meeting for the purposes the Mayor mentioned and to do further research on these type of organizations. Mayor Duke then opened the floor up for discussion among the three members that had requested the meeting.  Councilman Cowart said that regarding the proposal, this will be temporary. “We simply need a common-sense regulation to prevent a disaster moving forward,”   he said.

Councilman McClain added that he agreed: “We just need to be sure we have our T’s crossed and I’s dotted for the City, which is what we were elected to do to make sure the City is in the best position that it can be.”

Barber added that it is a 180-day moratorium, which can end sooner than that; it just cannot exceed that.  Councilwoman Hayes asked what happens after 180 days, do they renew it or what happens. 

Barber said he was assuming that if the moratorium passes, staff will get direction from Council as to what they would like to look at and have brought before them during this 180-day period. “They can discuss and make a decision based on that information,” he said.

Councilman Cowart said they had spoken with the city attorney and he had put something together.

City Attorney Tanner said he was working on it. He said to Councilwoman Hayes that what she was probably looking at was an amendment to the existing zoning ordinance, or that would be his suggestion in looking at other amendments and moratoriums across the United States, as this is a new technology. “It might be a suggestion to put a special exception or conditional use for these type facilities to go along with the zoning,” he said. “That is more than likely what we will be looking at.”

Councilman Greene asked if staff thought it would take six months to come up with something on this or could it be done in a shorter period of time.

Barber said the City would probably stay with the 180 days for the moment “because as we go forward, there may be additional research that Council would like for us to provide. But yes, as we move forward with the first area, we’ll be keeping the Council updated as we go along. It won’t be at one time. We’ll present the first phase, and that might beg for another question.”

Councilman Greene added, “So, we’ll know a little ahead of time instead of just a few hours ahead of time?”

“Yes, you will get a reporting update as we go along,” Barber said. “Once we satisfy Council, if it’s before 180 days, the moratorium will be lifted at that time.”

Tanner said, “It will require a text amendment to the zoning ordinance, so you will have to go through the zoning process to change it. Some people think that rezoning applies to certain pieces of property; sometimes you can have a text amendment that applies to all properties across the boundaries of the City. You would have to go through the Planning Commission process, although it’s initiated by the City. You would have public hearings for people to speak for or against the change, and then it comes back ultimately to you for a decision.”

Mayor Duke then asked for the wishes of those who called the meeting.

Councilman McClain made a motion to adopt the resolution that the city attorney has put together as written.  Councilwoman Hayes provided the second. City Attorney Tim Tanner read the resolution into the record. There was no further discussion, and after a call of the votes, all members voted in favor.

There was no further business, and the meeting was adjourned.

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