Stoops: ‘Zoning will be rescinded’
Washington County Supervisor Stan Stoops told a crowd that the zoning ordinance will be rescinded.
Stoops made the statement during Tuesday morning’s weekly board meeting and after proposing a motion to ask the Planning & Zoning Commission prepare a report on the effects of rescinding zoning. He also said he wants to form an advisory committee to look into a stand-alone reverse setback ordinance. He also said that it’s important to have the stand-alone reverse setback ordinance in place before the zoning ordinance is rescinded.
Farmers who have attended zoning meetings have asked the supervisors to consider a reverse setback which would protect them from new homes built too close to their farms, especially to hog confinement buildings. The state of Iowa requires new feeding operations to be located a certain distance from rural residences in order to reduce complaints or conflicts.
Stoops said he has a list of names — mostly farmers — who, he hopes, will consider working on an advisory committee. He hopes to present the list of names to the supervisors’ meeting next Tuesday, March 19.
One of the sticking points about the process involved in rescinding the zoning ordinance is the amount of time the Planning & Zoning Commission needs to develop the report. At first, Stoops wanted to give the commission a two-week deadline. However, supervisors Ron Bennett and Bob Yoder thought the commission would need more time.
Zoning administrator Steve Lafaurie said the commission has taken about two months to complete a zoning ordinance amendment. He also said the commission may want to hold a public hearing.
Yoder made a motion to give the commission 60 days to develop the report, which began a discussion on when the 60-day time limit would begin. Yoder had wanted the 60 days to begin Tuesday, March 12, but a motion to begin the 60 days on April 2, which is the date of the commission’s next meeting, passed unanimously.
Lafaurie also said the commission will need legal advice. County attorney Larry Brock said he would make himself available to the commission.
That motion was the last one approved during the meeting. However, many county residents in the audience debated the pros and cons of zoning for more than an hour.
In other business, the board conducted a public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2013-14 Washington County budget, which they approved after closing the public hearing.
Bennett said that the tax asking was lowered by more than $500,000 and the tax levy is going down 5.6 percent.
The board also adopted a resolution supporting the Washington County Conservation Board’s application for a $52,000 grant from the Washington County Riverboat Commission. Conservation executive director Steve Anderson said that the grant would provide half of the cost of a project that includes draining one of the ponds at Marr Park before constructing a peninsula and a gazebo. New playground equipment is also part of the project.
Anderson said the conservation department has the remaining funds on hand and that the project will not use any county property tax dollars.