(a)   No public improvement, any part of the cost of which is to be specially assessed upon the owners of property in the city, shall be made without the approval of council. Before property in the city may be specially assessed for public improvements, council shall establish regulations sufficient to require preliminary legislation declaring the improvements necessary; to ensure the affected owners receive notice of the proposed assessment, an opportunity to examine plans for the improvement, and the ability to be heard in at least one public forum before the assessment is authorized by council; to divide assessed costs equitably among the city and affected property owners; to provide for repayment over an appropriate period of time; and to establish an opportunity for owners to make damage claims arising from the improvements and have those claims heard.
   (b)   Council may by a two-thirds vote of all members specially assess the cost of a public improvement upon affected property owners. However, if the owners representing a majority of the foot frontage of the lots to be assessed petition council for the improvement and assessment, council may approve the special assessment by a majority vote.