Public comment requested on zoning
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. March 5, at the Washington County Extension office, residents will have the chance to tell the supervisors what they think about the county zoning ordinance.
Supervisor Stan Stoops shared that information, Tuesday morning, during the board of supervisors’ weekly meeting. He said the supervisors will hold a work session similar to the work session held in Richmond last week. The supervisors will listen to county residents, but they will not be able to take formal action.
Board chairman Ron Bennett said the supervisors have received many e-mails on zoning and he said they would welcome more. E-mails may be sent to them at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
County attorney Larry Brock presented a detailed procedure the supervisors will need to follow if they want to repeal the zoning ordinance. The first step will be to ask the Planning and Zoning Commission to make recommendations about retaining and/or repealing the ordinance. After the meeting, Stoops asked Brock how to word a motion at a future meeting directing P & Z to make the recommendation.
Brock said the supervisors can follow P & Z’s recommendation or they can reject it.
When asked what legal steps would need to be taken to place a moratorium on enforcing the zoning ordinance, Brock said the procedure would be the same as repealing the ordinance.
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. asked Brock where he (Seward) could find the sections of Iowa Code. Brock said to look up Chapter 335.3, 335.5, 335.6 and 335.7. Seward also asked Brock if Brock had looked at the administrative code and Brock said he had not.
Stoops said that he campaigned against the zoning ordinance in last year’s general election.
“I’m going to do what I said I would do,” Stoops said.
P & Z chairman Don Kline wondered why the supervisors would hold a March 5 work session if they already knew they would vote to repeal zoning.
Stoops said there are issues to be addressed, such as protecting farmland from “urban creep.” He also said that he wants to hear the concerns of the people in the county and that the supervisors might hear some answers that would address the concerns.
After hearing about concerns for economic development if zoning is repealed, Supervisor Bob Yoder doesn’t think the zoning ordinance would help draw new companies and jobs to the county. He said “cottage industries” are prominent in his district and that zoning hinders cottage industries.
Yoder also said the county does need new companies and jobs to come here. He said the county needs economic development and the tax base needs to increase.
Seward helped conclude the discussion by saying that there are many philosophical differences and that further comments could wait to be aired at the work session.