Supervisors OK joint meetingWork session planned for 6 p.m. April 18 at the Washington Public Library
Washington County may be on the verge of making history in the state of Iowa by rescinding the county’s zoning ordinance. Washington County Supervisor Ron Bennett told the audience at Tuesday morning’s Board of Supervisors meeting that no county in Iowa has ever rescinded a zoning ordinance.
Before the supervisors decide if they will rescind zoning, they directed the county Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) to issue a report on the effects of rescinding zoning. The supervisors gave P&Z two months from the commission’s April 2 meeting.
Zoning administrator Steve Lafaurie and P&Z chairman Don Kline spoke with the supervisors about the commission’s request to hold a joint work session with the board of supervisors.
“This commission has planned a work session for next Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m. and has requested that the supervisors join them so you can discuss your specific concerns about the zoning ordinance,” Lafaurie said.
The meeting will be held in the Washington Public Library.
Lafaurie also told the supervisors that an Iowa State University professor, Gary Taylor, will attend the work session, too. According to information provided by Lafaurie about Taylor, Taylor is a specialist in the Department of Community and Regional Planning. Lafaurie said there will be no fee for Taylor’s services.
Supervisor Stan Stoops asked Lafaurie and Kline if they have spoken to Taylor. Lafaurie said that he has spoken to Taylor.
“Did you tell him that the purpose was to rescind zoning?”
“He’s aware of that,” Lafaurie said.
“What more do we need to know?” Stoops asked.
Kline said that he thought the work session would provide a time for the supervisors to ask Taylor what they need to know.
“I already know,” Stoops said.
Stoops did say he would attend the joint work session.
“But my statement’s going to stay the same,” he said. “You need to know that.”
Kline said the commission has questions, “because they can see that what’s been in the meetings and what’s been in the papers wasn’t very factual. So I think they deserve a chance to address those questions.
“If they’ve been following along in the papers and listening to what we’ve had to say in the papers, they’ve had every opportunity, just like everyone else in the county, to try to convince — but we haven’t heard much from the commissioners except from you and Mr. Lafaurie,” Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said.
Seward also said, “I was a little put off to begin with that instead of the commission coming to us with questions about what our directives to you guys should be to carry out our policies, that you would ask us to come to you. But, I’ll get by that.”
Seward said he would attend the April 18 meeting.
Kline expressed his surprise that when he attended meetings about zoning, he was not asked to clarify inaccuracies made by others at the meetings.
Seward said, “It is our business to listen to what people had to say and it is everyone else’s business to be educated about it. Now everybody else can do their own research and apply their own standards and their own principles to what is being said and decide for themselves.”
County attorney Larry Brock said that P&Z will be responsible for the joint work session agenda and taking minutes.
The supervisors unanimously approved a motion stating they would attend the joint work session.