Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

Split vote on zoning resolution

Supervisors direct county attorney to draft resolution before June 25
By Linda Wenger | Jun 11, 2013
Supervisor Stan Stoops read aloud his motion to the other supervisors Tuesday morning.

The Washington County Board of Supervisors took another step forward to rescind the county’s zoning ordinance during the weekly board meeting Tuesday morning.
“I move that the board direct the county attorney to draft a resolution prior to June 25 for the enactment of an ordinance rescinding the zoning ordinance of Washington County, Iowa pursuant, to Iowa Code sections 331.302, 331.305 and 335.6,” Supervisor Stan Stoops said.
Bob Yoder seconded the motion.
Supervisor Steve Davis wanted to make sure that Stoops knew that what Stoops wants to do is “to stop everything” to do with zoning. He spoke in favor of modifying and changing the current ordinance instead. Otherwise, if the supervisors want to use zoning powers without the ordinance, they would have to start the process all over again.
Stoops said that if there is a need for a zoning ordinance, one could be developed again.
Supervisor and board chair Ron Bennett also prefers changing the ordinance that is in effect. He said the county spent $30,000 on the consultant who helped the county develop the ordinance. He also said that he understands why Stoops listens to the majority of voters, but he thinks Stoops should also listen to the minority of voters and be open to compromise.
“I want to trash the whole thing,” Stoops said.
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. called the zoning ordinance a “monstrosity” and said the county should get rid of it. If something is needed in the future, he said the supervisors could start small. He also said that the motion Stoops offered does not stop the conversation about zoning.
“The conversation isn’t over until the final vote,” Seward said.
Seward also said he had a conversation with someone Monday about a scenario. If county zoning is rescinded and cities take back their two-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction, could a city deny a request from a farmer to build a new confinement animal feeding operation facility?
Bennett said there is a case like that already.
However, during an Oct. 6, 2008, meeting of the Zoning Commission, consultant Gary Lozano of RDG Planning & Design said that Iowa code does not allow local governments to zone agricultural operations. Washington County’s Zoning Ordinance in Article 1: General Provisions 1.03 states that agricultural uses are exempt from county zoning.
Stoops’ motion was approved on a vote of 3 to 2, with Stoops, Seward and Yoder voting yes and Davis and Bennett voting no.
Later when members of the audience were allowed to speak, Kay Ciha of Kalona said that township trustees could be used to help residents settle disputes, such as fencing issues.
Bennett said that was “a good point.”
Washington County Attorney Larry Brock is out of the office from now until June 13. He had told the supervisors in a written opinion that his office could work on a resolution and draft an ordinance for the board’s review at the board’s June 25 meeting.

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