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Supervisors hold first reading of subdivision, zoning ordinances

January 15, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday held a public hearing and first reading of the county's 2013 subdivision and zoning ordinances.

Steve Hallgren of Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission, who has been handling zoning administration for the county, was on hand to answer any questions about the subdivision regulations. Hallgren said the Emmet County Planning and Zoning Commission had reviewed the regulations which had been further reviewed by county engineer Roger Patocka and sanitarian Aimee Devereaux.

Hallgren said the subdivision regulations deal with everything from property splits between property owners to subdivisions for commercial and industrial purposes.

After approving first reading of the subdivision ordinance, the board discussed when building permits are required in the country.

Hallgren, who has been handling zoning administration for the past three years, said the ordinance doesn't change anything but sets down in print what has been done during that time.

Hallgren said everyone in the county is asked to submit building permit applications; however, the county determines who is exempt. He said he and zoning administrator Dar Lewis look at applications and mark those falling under farm use as "permit exempt".

County attorney Doug Hansen said while ag buildings are exempt from the zoning ordinance, if it's left to individuals farmers to determine what's exempt or not, there could be errors. Hansen noted there are a number of operations that appear to be ag but which are commercial.

And just because a building is exempt from requiring a permit, that doesn't mean it's exempt from taxes - another good reason to require that those building in the country go through the permitting process whether a permit is required or not.

Serious problems could arise of someone thinks a building is for ag use but it turns out to be commercial.

"There is a possibility that building will have to be torn down and built again," Hansen said.

"Ninety percent of this stuff is going to be pretty clear," Hallgren said.

As far as the updated zoning ordinance is concerned, Hallgren said 30-40 pages dealt with the county's new wind ordinance. And Hallgren said if something's not working in the ordinance or something needs to be added, it could be amended.

Board chair Alan Madden thanked zoning commission members for their work on the ordinance.



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