Eight candidates — Three seats.

WHO WILL BEST REPRESENT YOU?

Here is your opportunity to get to know the Pella City Council candidates and how they plan to lead if elected. The PACE Alliance posed the following eight questions to each candidate relating to community growth & development, taxes, and workforce. Below are their responses.

View the 8 Questions & the Candidates' Answers

Click the candidate’s name to view their answer. 

1. Workforce is an important element of any municipality’s economic development plans. What current and future challenges do you see regarding Pella’s workforce and what role does the City Council play in addressing those workforce challenges?

At-Large

Mark De Jong

Mark De Jong
(Incumbent)
AT-LARGE

Pella needs people. Marion County needs people. Iowa needs people. At the local level, the City must do all that it can to support this being a great place to live and work. This includes initiatives that support housing, cultural and recreational activities, health and educational systems, and our employers, large and small.

Tony Bokhoven

Tony Bokhoven
AT-LARGE

Workforce is important to industry and small business. The City Council does not dictate how a business incentivizes employees to stay in Pella. What we can do is :

  • Be advocates for affordable housing
  • Be fiscally responsible to not incur debt that increases taxes
  • Build and maintain infrastructure to support business and growth IE Pella fiber that was launched by the previous Council
Alan Pfadenhauer

Alan Pfadenhauer
AT-LARGE

I understand that the lack of a quality workforce is not only a concern for Pella, but also a national conversation.  Nationally, many businesses are struggling to recruit, hire and retain labor.  Pella is not immune to this shortage, but I believe that we have some unique things to offer in this conversation.  With that, Pella has been incredibly blessed for the several companies where their products are vital both nationally and internationally.  With that we are blessed to have several companies who employ thousands of people. Right now, we have companies looking to fill hundreds of positions, if the numbers I’ve heard are correct, closer to the ballpark of a thousand jobs.  Even with the economy the way it is, our local businesses seem to be booming!  We have to have solutions for housing.

The unique venues we can provide could also be attractive for people to stay/live in Pella.  How can we continue to offer bigger city amenities while still holding small town values?  Venues that give people reasons to stay in Pella.  How can we continue to offer bigger city amenities while still being a small city?

We are in an interesting time where we need good workers yesterday, yet need to balance how quickly we grow.  We can’t just grow for growing sake.  We have an incredible opportunity to grow, but the forward thinking of how to grow while staying a safe community.  City Council should be very intentional, we can’t jump at the first opportunity, and we can’t drag our feet.  One of the things I have learned in my life so far is; we need to do what’s best, not what’s easiest.  We need to do the next right thing!

Robin Pfalzgraf

Robin Pfaltzgraf
AT-LARGE

I have been working on the specific issue of workforce in our area for over a year as a member of the Central Iowa Workforce Development Board. Through an event by Workforce Development, Weiler Industries hosted a roundtable event for local employers, leaders, school superintendents, county supervisors, etc. and I was thrilled at the progress made to match future employees with employers in our local area.

Pella is a great place to live, work and play. We still have an issue of true “affordable housing” in our community that has not been met. I will continue to speak on behalf of the moderate income families in need of housing.

The city council has a responsibility to all members of our community. Making this a place to do all things (live, work and play) and making it affordable is the responsibility of the city council.

Ward 1

Lynn Branderhorst

Lynn Branderhorst
(Incumbent)
WARD 1

All economic indicators are telling us that workforce issues are occurring nationwide, and they are here to stay. As a City Council member, I feel we need to walk alongside our businesses, large and small, providing a support system that includes the following within our community:

  • Affordable housing
  •  Affordable cost of living, achieved by not increasing taxes
  •  Having a presence on local economic development organizations
  •  Involvement in the promotion of Pella as a wonderful community in which to live
Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson
WARD 1

We have a labor shortage in Pella. Most of our large businesses and many of our small businesses struggle to find people to fill their positions. This is especially true with our manufacturers, however it’s also evident in our restaurants and service industries. I see the role of the City Council as that of being forward thinking enough to anticipate the community needs of those workers regarding amenities, affordable housing and the things to make moving to Pella as the attractive and evident option. To make this happen will require ongoing conversations with stakeholders across our community to continually evaluate the needs they communicate.

Ward 3

Bruce Schiebout

Bruce Schiebout
(Incumbent)
WARD 3

Business is a vital element of any growing community and its employees are the frontline and face of any successful business. Currently there is a nationwide shortage of people who are looking for employment; this is not unique to Pella. As businesses we need to attract our workforce locally and regionally, retaining them with aggressive compensation packages, affordable housing and reasonable cost of living including taxes.

 

Spencer Carlstone

Spencer Carlstone
WARD 3

Attracting and retaining an adequate workforce is THE challenge in this chaotic season of global pandemic, economic pressure, and international uncertainty. Our local industry is thriving yet in dire need of all types of workers. There is only one realistic solution: Growing our community to meet that need. The city and its leadership has an obligation to do all in its power to create a favorable atmosphere and attitude towards growth. We have had little population growth according to census data, or our own commissioned studies, in the last 10 or even 20 years. And certainly not enough to meet the needs of our retail, service, healthcare and industrial sectors. The city council and it’s committees must continue to change our posture towards growth. Regarding future workforce challenges; that is dependent on us meeting our current challenges, and our willingness to meet the needs of our retail, service, healthcare, education, and industrial sectors.

2. What is your fiscal philosophy? Specifically, how do you view the balance between the overall tax burden of Pella residents and the need to make strategic investments in Pella’s future which requires public revenues?

At-Large

Mark De Jong

Mark De Jong
(Incumbent)
AT-LARGE

Over my 44 years on the Council, I have always supported a sound budgetary process. This continues today, with the support of our like minded City Staff. We are blessed that our ever increasing property tax base has enabled us to hold our property tax rates at the same level for 19 years. When we have had to borrow, it has usually been to support our revenue producing utilities. These pay down their obligations through user fees, not taxes. However, we are facing some big projects, that will require bold and creative decisions. Decisions based on the assumption that Pella will continue to grow and prosper.

Tony Bokhoven

Tony Bokhoven
AT-LARGE

The City needs to be responsible and advocate for the fiscal strength of Pella, and focus its spending on things that improve the reliability and safety of it’s public infrastructure while maintaining it’s public utilities. If the city plans to invest public funds, they should be focused on Utilities, streets and roads & public safety.

 

Alan Pfadenhauer

Alan Pfadenhauer
AT-LARGE

I believe in stewarding what we are given. I believe in being financially responsible and not wasteful spending.  However, I’m not a fan of penny pinching when it comes to things we need.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time and safely.  I think everyone likes to think about lowering the tax burden for residents, and ultimately, I would love to see that!  However, continuing to be a desirable place to live can come at a cost.  If it’s a need, let’s continue to grow at a manageable pace so we can continue to offer bigger city amenities to our small city.  Bringing in people helps our businesses and in turn our city.  If we help and keep our businesses of all sizes, we help our city!

Robin Pfalzgraf

Robin Pfaltzgraf
AT-LARGE

For the fiscal year 2020 Pella has a levy tax rate (without ag) of $10.20 per $1,000.00. We are actually one the lowest ten for city levy’s in Iowa. That definitely allows for us to do some projects, if the citizens want to support those projects.

I believe we owe it to the citizens to listen to them. If you have an opinion I want to hear it. We are voted on the council to make a decision representing the people, To do this, I promise to listen to the people.

The city of Pella is great. I have traveled all over southern Iowa, I have yet to find a city that is as vibrant. We need to make decisions responsibly so it remains that way. Only by continuing to make responsible, forward looking decisions, can Pella remain the wonderful community that it is today.

 

Ward 1

Lynn Branderhorst

Lynn Branderhorst
(Incumbent)
WARD 1

I view myself as conservative when spending taxpayers’ money. The city has learned that when excessive spending happens, it takes years to get our financial ship sailing successfully again. I take my fiduciary responsibility very seriously and feel strongly that we must always maintain our ability to keep our community safe and operational.

 

Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson
WARD 1

I would fall in the camp as most Pella residents and would want to keep our tax burden as low as possible.  Though our valuations have steadily increased, our tax rate has stayed the same for 20 years. This rate is much lower than neighboring communities our size. All the while, Pella has made significant investments to infrastructure, development and amenities that increase the quality of life for our residents.  My goal would be to be strategic in the use of public/private partnerships and creative financing/incentives to minimize the tax burden of our citizens on city projects moving forward.  Also recognizing the overall long-term financial benefit from these investments will be important.

Ward 3

Bruce Schiebout

Bruce Schiebout
(Incumbent)
WARD 3

My fiscal philosophy can be summed up in one word. Responsible! I think local government should assist the lead of private development but not carry the risk of such development. Also, that assistance should not put undue burden on the city and its citizens that would hinder it from fulfilling its primary function of providing and maintaining its infrastructure.

Spencer Carlstone

Spencer Carlstone
WARD 3

This is the area of greatest opportunity for me. I have much to learn about this part of city leadership. Stewardship of finances is key to a healthy community, and therefore, is one of utmost importance. I have heard as many opinions on this matter as I have had conversations during my ward rounds and have found a wide array of opinions. Infrastructural cost and responsibility are a primary duty of city government and public funds. The definition of infrastructure may bring much debate in the coming weeks. Infrastructure is certainly utilitarian things like roads and sewers. It is also things that help a community thrive; like healthy parks, performing arts, art and community centers, theatres and recreational facilities. I would be keen on analysing the return on any investment the city makes, wanting to assure best value for our tax dollar with an eye on how the investment can grow and develop our community.

3. What do you feel is the role of the City in promoting and leading economic development investment in Pella (i.e. housing, quality of life amenities, land development, etc.)?

At-Large

Mark De Jong

Mark De Jong
(Incumbent)
AT-LARGE

The City is not in the development business. However, we must support developers and their projects in every way that we can. This usually starts with installing utility services such as water, sewer, storm sewer, electric power, and streets. Helping get these services installed assists the developer up front, while the City’s costs are paid back over time.

Tony Bokhoven

Tony Bokhoven
AT-LARGE

I don’t believe the city should compete with private industry. There seems to be a trend of privatizing profit and socializing risk currently, and that is a recipe for repeating past financial strain. The previous two Councils and Mayors worked very hard to get us out of the deep debt we were buried under.  Our responsibility as Council is to :

  • Be advocates for growth
  • Maintain a responsible spending approach
  • Prioritize projects to align with responsible spending.

 

Alan Pfadenhauer

Alan Pfadenhauer
AT-LARGE

I want to see Pella push forward.  In a lot of ways, Pella leads the way when it comes to small cities.  Pella is a relatively safe, clean, high functioning city.  We have been blessed beyond belief with having several national and international businesses to pour into our community.  However, as we continue to grow to meet the needs of those businesses, we need to continue to compete with larger cities to help draw people for those jobs.  I believe we are behind and have quite a bit of catching up to do.  As you can see, there is plenty of potential as well as current projects underway.

Seeing how well the Fiber project has been accepted in the community, we need to keep providing better amenities that continues to draw people in.

Robin Pfalzgraf

Robin Pfaltzgraf
AT-LARGE

I believe promoting and leading economic development in Pella is a great part of the responsibility of the City Council.

I believe the City Council must continue the plan to develop truly “affordable” housing. I will continue to say there is little affordable housing in Pella. We can develop affordable housing options and still maintain the integrity of our neighborhoods and community.

We have a great quality of life. I believe it is the responsibility of city council to add amenities in a truly affordable, way so that life here is enhanced and it does not become a burden either for the city staff or for the taxpayer.

I could go on and on regarding growth. Responsible growth is the best way to enhance this community.

 

 

Ward 1

Lynn Branderhorst

Lynn Branderhorst
(Incumbent)
WARD 1

Development is wonderful as long as we:

  1. Are not repeating past financial mistakes that took this community years to correct
  2. Take a responsible spending approach
  3. Do not privatize profit and ask our taxpayers to assume the risk

 

Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson
WARD 1

The city should absolutely be proactive in looking for ways to attract people to live here, work here and start their business here. We have great schools, outstanding healthcare, a vibrant downtown, wonderful ways to celebrate our Dutch heritage, and most importantly, people that are committed to seeing Pella thrive.  The Prairie Ridge development is a great example of an effort to create affordable housing and bring amenities (i.e. Smash Park) that are not only great for our residents but will attract others from the greater Pella area to our community. It would my goal as a city council member to be proactive in development opportunities but in a way that keeps Pella unique.

Ward 3

Bruce Schiebout

Bruce Schiebout
(Incumbent)
WARD 3

See #2.

 

Spencer Carlstone

Spencer Carlstone
WARD 3

I touched on this in a previous question. City leadership can shape the attitude and atmosphere of the community towards growth and development. Pella has many great reputations that we all enjoy. However, there are several I would like to change. Specifically, we have a reputation of antagonism to commercial and residential developers. I think this has landed us in our current housing, dining and entertainment shortfalls.

4. One of the vital roles a municipality takes on is the provision of community and recreational facilities and programs. How would you approach this role if elected to the City Council?

At-Large

Mark De Jong

Mark De Jong
(Incumbent)
AT-LARGE

During my time on the Council, I have witnessed the “ Quality of Life “ programs and facilities take up an ever larger part of the City’s budget. This is not a criticism, but rather reflects what people want and expect in 2021. Compared to some of our neighboring communities, we are, at present, in catch up mode. Exceptions would be our wonderful Sports Park, Water Park, and Kiwanis Park. Over the next twelve months some very serious planning and decision making has to happen on both the cultural and recreational fronts. In the past, these kinds of amenities have usually been financed through public/private partnerships. I look forward to this being the case in the future.

Tony Bokhoven

Tony Bokhoven
AT-LARGE

We are blessed to have numerous state of the art sports fields and complexes, and wonderful parks that provide enjoyment for all age groups.  It is very easy to fall into the “pet project” mindset when it comes to sports facilities and recreational buildings. Its imperative that we consider the overall expense in staffing and maintaining these projects, not just the cost to build them.  To build or not to build these types of facilities should be the result of the voting public if the expense is coming from the Citizens.

Alan Pfadenhauer

Alan Pfadenhauer
AT-LARGE

I want people to be out and active.  I would love to see today a little like the “old” days, where kids could get out and have a place to play and just be a kid.  How do we get parents out with their kids to promote time spent with families, and not just numbing out on technology?  I have already been talking with people about what they would want to see around our city.  Several people have mentioned some of the old ball fields.  How do we either keep them up and keep improving them or is there a better use for that space.  Knowing that we are fortunate enough to have an amazing sports complex, and the potential for a new indoor REC Center, can some of these other fields be turned into something else?  I know another citizen talked about the dog park that was floating around as a possibility a few years ago.  I like functional spaces, if they would be used, let’s do it right.

I would also love to continue to see investments in the Arts.  I have been blessed with not only a love of sports, but also of the Arts.  I have been involved in the arts since I was little.  I love music, used to do quite a bit of art, was involved in Speech, etc.  I don’t want to see the beauty and creativity of the Arts lost.  Pella has two schools who not only have incredible sports programs that have incredible coaches that pour into student athletes.  Pella Community and Pella Christian Schools have amazingly talented Arts programs, whether that be band, choir, art, speech, etc.  We have a lot of success in these areas as well.  It is a huge need for our city to keep fostering creativity and venues to use these passions, talents and offer avenues to continue to promote well-rounded and a wholistic community.

Robin Pfalzgraf

Robin Pfaltzgraf
AT-LARGE

First, can we afford it? How will it be paid for? Will it become a tax burden to our citizens? The Federal Government is offering so many grants these days. I think there are options available that have not been considered. I also believe that we should only advance projects that we anticipate being done well and improving our community and what Pella has to offer.

Ward 1

Lynn Branderhorst

Lynn Branderhorst
(Incumbent)
WARD 1

Pella has wonderful parks and programs for citizens of all ages. When looking at expansion of these buildings, one must have an understanding of the complete cost of building and operational expenses as well as the ability to staff larger new recreational facilities. Ultimately, it is the voting public who decides on large new recreational buildings by voting yes or no to their construction after receiving information from the city council.

Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson
WARD 1

I’m ‘all in’ regarding this issue. I think having diverse, vibrant recreational offerings and facilities for youth, families, and adults is absolutely necessary for a community to thrive.  These offerings should be for all ages and include art, athletics, music & theatre.

Since this is becoming a ‘hot button’ issue pitting the arts vs. athletics, I need to be clear on this: this is not a one or the other issue…it is ‘both’ issue. Both athletic and fine arts opportunities can and should exist for the residents of a thriving community. In my lifetime, I’ve invested huge amounts of time to both. As a high school student, I was in concert choir, swing choir, concert band, jazz band and marching band. In fact, I was the kid marching in my shoulder pads at halftime.  I was also a 3-sport athlete. The lessons I learned from ALL of these experiences have impacted my life greatly…and I am so grateful.  The question then becomes about the money – how do we do both?  My response would be to let Pella’s Comprehensive Plan guide us and to put our dollars toward that which impacts the most people while driving a successful, fiscally sound future.

Ward 3

Bruce Schiebout

Bruce Schiebout
(Incumbent)
WARD 3

Pella has had a rich history of private and public partnerships to provide recreational facilities in which to organize and operate our recreational programs. Once constructed, the upkeep and maintenance falls on the backs of the citizens. This is why I think a patient and prioritized approach to such facilities is important. For instance, we no longer provide a basketball league for our youth because of the loss and lack of will to restore the Community Center’s Gymnasium, which in comparison to the cost of other proposed projects, is minuscule.

Spencer Carlstone

Spencer Carlstone
WARD 3

I agree that recreational facilities and programs are a primary responsibility of the municipality. I emphasize health and wellness daily. I would like our city to increasingly emphasize health and wellness. Facilities and their condition reflect a community’s attitude and priorities. While we have been developing our outdoor amenities, we are extremely deficient in indoor recreational facilities. A top-tier recreational center with multiple gyms with seating, competitive pool with seating and a fieldhouse would enable year round activities for citizens to enjoy. It would also allow Pella to host competitive tournaments and meets, bringing thousands of visitors during the winter months. For instance, our competitive Aquatics team, as well as our high school swim team, travels all over the state to practice and compete but has no home facility up to the task. Building such facilities would also increase adult recreational programming, which I feel is underdeveloped. Lastly, having a top-tier facility would attract new residents increasing our workforce. Another thought, I would also like our city to improve pedestrian and bicycle friendliness.

5. Pella has a significant amount of aging infrastructure which collectively will need to be addressed over time. This is particularly true in Downtown Pella where a failure of our infrastructure could lead to significant challenges for Downtown businesses. What is your vision for the future of Downtown Pella regarding infrastructure modernization?

At-Large

Mark De Jong

Mark De Jong
(Incumbent)
AT-LARGE

This is a vital and expensive project area. The difference between resurfacing a block of street, and a complete redo (water, sewer, storm sewer, electric, and paving) is roughly a million dollars. The rehabilitation of the Ost Port alley area is a perfect case in point. However, we have to keep moving forward. The downtown area is of prime concern. Renovation may have to happen incrementally, but the project must get under way in the near future.

Tony Bokhoven

Tony Bokhoven
AT-LARGE

In 2017, we as Council and Mayor at that time did an extensive review of the aging infrastructure in the Downtown area. At the same time streets and sidewalks were evaluated and prioritized. These plans must be followed through on and completed and valued as a high priority.

Alan Pfadenhauer

Alan Pfadenhauer
AT-LARGE

I do think Pella is filled with beauty.  My first thoughts are, and always will be, are there places that safety is a concern?  Whether that means streets, sewer, buildings themselves, etc.  Address those first and move from there.  Our small businesses are also a big part of our heartbeat here in Pella.  We need to be able to keep businesses open and operating.  Our downtown can be a hopping place, can attract many people from out of town, in which they spend their money here.  We need to keep our downtown clean, safe and beautiful.  I’m sure we are also all very aware that we need more and better parking closer to downtown.  I want to look into solutions and options for that as well.  People who drive through, especially on Saturdays, know how busy it is and how hard it is to find parking.

Robin Pfalzgraf

Robin Pfaltzgraf
AT-LARGE

Infrastructure is arguably the hardest part. It’s expensive and often we don’t see a lot “for our buck”. Several years ago I was talking to a business owner who had a problem with water in their basement. It was all about the infrastructure. The bad water lines, made for a flooded basement, which made for a compromise of their building and a basement that could not be used. None of that is good for the business, the city or our citizens.

This needs to be taken care of before a problem becomes an emergency. We are making progress but there is more to go!

Ward 1

Lynn Branderhorst

Lynn Branderhorst
(Incumbent)
WARD 1

In 2017, the council recognized our failing sewers and crumbling streets and prioritized the process of rebuilding them. We must continue this plan; it is one of the main functions of city government.

Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson
WARD 1

This issue became real to me a few weekends ago when visiting another town where they were undertaking this process of infrastructure work along with a downtown building project. The downtown was a ghost town as fences were up for safety reasons, streets were torn up, etc.  As we look at replacing Pella’s downtown infrastructure, we need to be smart about how to do it as to minimize the impact on our businesses and citizens. Should it be done systematically over time? Should it be done in bigger chunks to shorten the time frame? Addressing the infrastructure needs should be an ongoing issue, money should be budgeted for it in each budget cycle, and we need to be prepared larger investments should the need arise. We also need collective feedback to understand how to make these improvements while balancing the schedules and seasons of our business and residents.

Ward 3

Bruce Schiebout

Bruce Schiebout
(Incumbent)
WARD 3

This is the primary responsibility of municipal government and has been a priority with previous councils. In 2017 a study was performed with much citizen input and was approved by council at that time. An overall design was presented and a patient and prioritized schedule was proposed and implemented. We will be finishing the first phase of that this fall with the completion of the Oostpoort Alley portion. Next is the alley way south of Franklin between Main and Broadway.

Spencer Carlstone

Spencer Carlstone
WARD 3


Our community is widely known and admired for this history and how it has been remembered, embraced and preserved. The Pella Historical Society and others work tirelessly to continue this work and investment as evidenced by the recent Historical Village and Scholte house projects. Investments well made. The history of Pella, a city of refuge for a group of dutch immigrants, and all that they built and accomplished have given us, the citizens of Pella, a meaningful and lasting identity. As an engrafted member of this community I have adopted this story, right down to worn out wooden shoes. And I want that to continue for generations. With some dear friends with vision, I have been a part of restoring and repurposing several historical buildings downtown. While difficult, it was a labor of love and has garnished much admiration of its own. It is that admiration of our history, through people enjoying our building with new life, that brings me joy. I am for historical preservation. I am for reimagining and repurposing historical buildings as need arises for present and future enjoyment. The historical downtown sewers are one “historical” piece I am not interested in saving. I am well aware of the city’s shortcomings when it comes to downtown infrastructure. The city needs to reverse the approach of past leadership and take responsibility for the complicated ownership, easement and utility issues downtown. Some steps have been taken and some improvements are underway. I look forward to seeing the past missteps corrected. Lastly, I would like to see the pedestrian and parking improvements realized. A healthy heart allows for a healthy body; a healthy downtown brings identity and vibrance to a community.

6. The development of major corridors within a municipality can be done strategically to assist with economic development efforts. What major corridors, if any, in Pella do you believe the City Council should focus on regarding development?

At-Large

Mark De Jong

Mark De Jong
(Incumbent)
AT-LARGE

Let’s focus first on areas near the Central Business District. Going North on Main, there is a little potential, but not much. Their is some potential going East on Washington. There is also some potential going West on Washington and South on Broadway. To me, the most obvious candidate is Main, south of the Marion County Bank drive-through. Continuing south to Oskaloosa St. is the old power plant site. A garden setting is proposed as the anchor of a redevelopment area. Of concern here, is that once one gets to the Clark St intersection, there is a tremendous amount of truck traffic.

Tony Bokhoven

Tony Bokhoven
AT-LARGE

Urban Renewal & corridor revitalization were a focus of a public survey and study completed in 2017. At that time it was determined and decided that the Oskaloosa Street Corridor was the area of focus. This needs to continue to be led by a partnership of the City committee and private citizens.

Alan Pfadenhauer

Alan Pfadenhauer
AT-LARGE

One area I think needs attention is on Vermeer Road. I want to look into solutions that would help that intersection at Vermeer Road and E. 8th. Personally, I drive that route every day, as do many of our citizens and workforce. It is a main road in and out of Pella, passes by Vermeer, gets school traffic as well as a main artery of travel for those developments east of the Pella Middle School and the High school. I see too many close calls, long lines backed up on E.8th St. and you have walkers and distracted drivers. None of that is a good combination.

Robin Pfalzgraf

Robin Pfaltzgraf
AT-LARGE

I have served on Planning and Zoning for six years. I am on the Oskaloosa Street Corridor committee.

I believe Oskaloosa Street should be a priority. It has so much potential! The idea of another area of town to stroll is exciting. It is certainly walkable from downtown and would be a beautiful welcome to Pella from that exit!

I think we could also work on getting our visitors down some of our side streets to see the businesses offered that are just out of the square visibility.

Ward 1

Lynn Branderhorst

Lynn Branderhorst
(Incumbent)
WARD 1

In 2017, the then-city council developed the Oskaloosa Corridor project. The project was well received by citizens, who were asked to offer their input into the project. 8,000 cars per day travel this corridor, making it a prime location of focus in creating an urban renewal area.

Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson
WARD 1

The first focal point should be Prairie Ridge Development now that it has come to fruition. Other areas should ultimately be determined by Pella’s Comprehensive Plan. As the representative of Ward 1, I see exciting opportunities in our ward: the Oskaloosa St. corridor (see the 2019 report), the extension of E. University St. past the north side of the Sports Park to 250th Ave., and the land around the east interchange. Continuing this effort for our ward and our community will be a priority for me.

Ward 3

Bruce Schiebout

Bruce Schiebout
(Incumbent)
WARD 3

I feel that the revitalizing of the Oskaloosa St. corridor has the most potential and is the area I would like us to continue to focus on. In 2017 a committee was formed, lead by council member Branderhorst, to pick and work with an engineering firm. They solicited citizen input and developed the vision for the future renewal of this historical corridor. I fully support the vision of this committee.

Spencer Carlstone

Spencer Carlstone
WARD 3

I would love to see the Oskaloosa Street corridor project completed including the park and food truck area by the depot.  I would like to see a similar development strategy on our Washington street corridor.  I also think we could improve our 4 main “entrances” to Pella with cohesive signage.

7. What is your philosophy regarding zoning? What is your assessment of Pella’s current zoning regulations?

At-Large

Mark De Jong

Mark De Jong
(Incumbent)
AT-LARGE

Zoning is a critical part of managed development. To make the zoning code a living, working document, the Comprehensive Plan has to be regularly reviewed and updated. My philosophy has is that we should approach proposed projects from a perspective of “how can we make this happen” rather than “why this can’t happen”.

Tony Bokhoven

Tony Bokhoven
AT-LARGE

This is a topic that has been in conversation for years and determined that many of the City’s codes and ordinances deserve a review based on priority. This is a mountainous task and needs to be considered in and among civic priority. This is not something you do arbitrarily and in a batch process. First and foremost we need to maintain our unique Dutch heritage and culture and evaluate areas based on historic impact and community needs.

Alan Pfadenhauer

Alan Pfadenhauer AT-LARGE

I believe having a vision, especially for zoning is extremely important.  I believe we have been set up very well with generations past.  Vision provides a clear trajectory and keeps you focused on the journey.  I’m still in the process of going through all of our current regulations.  But I will say this, I’m a common-sense guy.  If it makes sense, let’s move forward.  I’m not sure at this point I can make a hard and fast decision, but I like where Pella has traditionally been.

Robin Pfalzgraf

Robin Pfaltzgraf
AT-LARGE

Well, I think the Planning and Zoning Committee is wonderful! In all seriousness, the citizens must understand that even when there are conflicts every single one of us wants the best for Pella and our citizens.

Pella succeeds because we are strict and don’t do things “willy nilly”. With that, some things don’t make sense. There are cases we rezone because it only makes sense to do that with the development that has formed around it.

Again, I say all these decisions should be carefully considered and the long term impact considered. We should not be afraid to make changes as long as those changes are made responsibly.

Ward 1

Lynn Branderhorst

Lynn Branderhorst
(Incumbent)
WARD 1

Zoning has been an issue in Pella for years and will take:

  1. A review of old zoning issues and policies — a very time-consuming process
  2. Development of new zoning policy
  3. A meeting of citizens, staff and elected officials to determine what community “feeling” we want for the place that we call home
Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson
WARD 1

I have a lot to learn in this area. In general, zoning laws are in place to regulate and control land use to ensure complementary uses of land that adjoin or are in the same area. The Planning and Zoning Committee has worked hard over the years to appropriately zone certain areas. Issues arise when there is a request to change how a zone is rated. If issues arise, the council will need to consider each one carefully. Does the change fit into the comprehensive plan? What are the ramifications of the change? Does the change make sense? Who does the change impact and in what way? All of these perspectives will be important in making zoning decisions.

Ward 3

Bruce Schiebout

Bruce Schiebout
(Incumbent)
WARD 3

Pella needs to decide what it wants to be in the decades to come. Do we want to be a West Des Moines, an Ankeny or an Ames? If that is the case, then long term, the existing Planning and Zoning code would serve our community well in the decades to come. If we would like to keep our smaller community persona, then they may be too restrictive. This is something that the future leadership needs to determine. Either way, after recently going through the re-zoning process myself, I found staff to be very helpful and the P&Z commission to be very thorough.

Spencer Carlstone

Spencer Carlstone
WARD 3

A strong zoning system and comprehensive plan is important to thoughtful growth. I think our zoning is thorough with a process to adjust if needed.

8. What is your position on the use of Planned Urban Developments (PUDs) or Tax Increment Financing as municipal economic or residential development tools?

At-Large

Mark De Jong

Mark De Jong
(Incumbent)
AT-LARGE

Tax Increment Financing is an essential tool for moving development and redevelopment projects forward. It usually involves the infrastructure that gets a project jump started. The costs are paid back over time as the project builds out.

Planned Unit Developments arise when a developer proposes a project that doesn’t quite fit the code criteria. If the proposal is judged to be beneficial to our community, a negotiation takes place. Both sides give and take until a good result is worked out.

As Communities compete for investment dollars, both of these tools are useful for making the improvements happen here in Pella. I am a supporter of both oh these tools.

Tony Bokhoven

Tony Bokhoven
AT-LARGE

A PUD is a useful tool that can make provisions and accommodations for unique development factors. TIF, if used properly, can be the difference in a projects viability and determining factor of it becoming a reality.

Alan Pfadenhauer

Alan Pfadenhauer AT-LARGE

I don’t see a problem with PUDs.  I think they can be great for communities.  However, I think we need to be careful how many we approve.  As we talked about earlier, we need to continue to draw in younger people to fill work positions in our amazing local businesses.  We need a lot of housing units and unfortunately PUDs typically aren’t geared towards younger, working class families. To me, we have to weigh the options between the cost and what we gain in terms of how many units it brings in.

TIFs, Tax Increment Financing, can also be a good thing when used properly.  I think you really have to weigh the project on an Impact vs. Effort model.  Does the cost justify the effort and the outcome?  I can see how they can become a slippery slope very quickly.  Is the risk of a project worth the potential gain it brings?  Again, a lot of this comes back to stewarding what we have.  I don’t have a problem with spending money that will be used well.  I typically wouldn’t have a problem borrowing the money if the return meets the needs of the city.

Robin Pfalzgraf

Robin Pfaltzgraf
AT-LARGE

I am a fan of PUD’s. Casey’s is a perfect example of how that PUD made that building look as nice or nicer than any other Casey’s. A PUD can require that we “pretty up” a project to fit the esthetics of our town. It also can protect the local neighbors by maintaining a minimum standard of the developed areas.

I am also a fan of TIF but I want to say that those options should be allowed for all developers that choose to request one or it shouldn’t be offered to any. We need a tax base to support our community. Again, no decision should be made without weighing the pro’s and the con’s of that decision as well as how it would impact other developers if they had the same options.

Ward 1

Lynn Branderhorst

Lynn Branderhorst
(Incumbent)
WARD 1

A PUD can be a useful tool when working with zoning issues that need to be addressed, as long as this system is not abused.

I am in favor of TIF if it is used in the proper manner, which is to make a positive impact on our community. With the high cost of infrastructure and building materials that we see currently, TIF can make a difference in determining whether development is a dream or a reality for our community.

Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson
WARD 1

I’m in favor of using these tools to attract development, again, in instances where it makes sense and has the biggest impact. I would seek to be on a council that problem solves and tries to figure out how to attract development instead of putting up road blocks or stalling projects and forward momentum.

Ward 3

Bruce Schiebout

Bruce Schiebout
(Incumbent)
WARD 3

I feel that PUDs can be beneficial in working around some of the details and road blocks of our zoning laws as long as the negotiation stays within the intent and structure of the law. Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) is a very useful tool to spur growth where it otherwise may not have happened. We must be careful not to overuse it though as the additional work load and services provided can be significant with no additional revenue entering the General Fund to offset these additional costs.

Spencer Carlstone

Spencer Carlstone
WARD 3

PUDs are a valuable tool in a city’s development toolbox. It gives the city flexibility and input into the process to improve the outcome for both developer and city. TIF is another tool that recently has been useful in inducing and accomplishing development. I am looking forward to learning more about all the tools in the city’s development toolbox.