Meeting Minutes

Floyd County Board of Supervisors Meeting

November 28, 2011, 9:00 AM


The Floyd County Board of Supervisors met for special session at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, November 28, 2011 in the General Assembly Room of the Floyd County Courthouse with the following in attendance:  Chairman Dunkel, Supv. Kamm, Vice Chair, and Supv. Kuhn. 

Kamm/Kuhn moved to approve the agenda as presented.  Motion carried 3-0. 

Supv Kuhn informed the Board that the Upper Cedar River Watershed Improvement Authority grant application requesting $21,500 for the establishment of the watershed authority was approved.  Supv Dunkel attended the six-county County Social Services Commission where they approved to have Grundy and Tama Counties join the consortium.  Supv Kuhn attended a FMC Early Childhood Iowa meeting where they reviewed annual levels of excellence for providing services to children ages 0-5.

Kamm/Kuhn moved to approve Res #35-11 Interfund Operating Transfer, to transfer $117,000 from the General Fund to the Debt Service Fund.  Motion carried 3-0.

Kuhn/Kamm moved to set a drainage district #9 informational meeting for January 9 at 7 p.m. in the Courthouse General Assembly Room.  Motion carried 3-0.

Norm Klemesrud, County Attorney, requested hiring a temporary paralegal through a temp service to cover an absence due to maternity leave.  Klemesrud will provide contractual information at a future meeting for board approval.   

The Board noted the 2011 Weed Commissioner’s Report to be sent to the Iowa Dept of Ag and Land Stewardship. 

The Board noted the receipt of the Floyd County Memorial Hospital, d/b/a Floyd County Medical Center, audit report for the year ending June 30, 2011. 

The Board noted a resolution from the City of Nora Springs for the issuance of $280,000 General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2011.

The Board discussed the proposed amended zoning ordinance which is scheduled for a third reading on December 13.  Chuck Souder, representing citizens and area farmers, provided the following goals regarding county zoning: 1) ditch the ordinance in its present form, 2) determine how the ordinance will benefit Floyd County, 3) remove the conflicts and misinterpretations from the ordinance as it applies to the Attorney General’s opinion and the state code regarding acreage use and thresholds, 4) if an ordinance is insisted up, that the perceived benefits are recognizable; 5) if this is a taxation/equity issue, then work with the assessment process. Joe Myhre, NIACOG representative, responded that the benefit of having an ordinance is to protect land uses, adjacent property values, fire districts were the main reason for zoning, also to regulate the aesthetics of property, signage, category uses, parking for commercial uses, adequacy of light and air, yard setbacks.  Approx three-fourths the counties in Iowa are zoned.  Zoning in Iowa started in 1920 and in Floyd County in 1967.  Supv Kuhn stated that the recently approved comprehensive plan was approved last month and helps explain the purpose, growth, preservation of agriculture, and best uses of the areas.  Souder questioned why an inferior government body would want to adopt an ordinance in conflict w/state code.  Clark McGregor, commented about an ordinance in Worth County being thrown out.  Supv Dunkel commented that zoning is intended to protect rather than to take a person’s rights away.  Myhre responded to Mike Hruska’s questions about a permit being required for the erection of a play house and a deer stand because those examples would be considered accessory structures subject to setback requirements.  Erwin Johnson commented that the penalties of $500 plus jail time for violators of the ordinance are disproportionate to the crime, the recourses for appeal to the court system if denied by the Board of Adjustment can be costly and an unpleasant, and although he does not want this ordinance to pass, it should at least have a means to take issue up with the supervisors before going to the court.  Norm Klemesrud, County Attorney, replied that for building permits there is no appeal process to the Supervisors, the legislatures recently bumped fines for all offences, the Supervisors could change the penalties as long as they do not exceed what is allowable by Iowa Code, and explained that the magistrate process of incurring fines and sentencing, ensuring that no judge would order jail time for being non-compliant and that a fine would likely be the harshest punishment.  Bruce Hovden, County Assessor, commented that the Comprehensive Development Plan does not cover all issues for assessing, the zoning ordinance also does not cover all the issues but can be used as a guide and in instances where commercial parcels, such as Tony Bill Trucking, are surveyed out they can be assessed properly where otherwise an assessment classification is based on “primary use”.  Hovden stated that the County Assessors across the state have let the Iowa State Association of Counties and legislatures know of inconsistencies and problems with rural designations and would like to have a definition of a farm; they have proposed a subsection in the Iowa Code that says the assessor could consider property that contains both residential dwellings and agricultural presence to be agricultural only if it contains 10 acres or more of row crop acres of working farm land or that the specified property produces $2,000 of net farm income.  When asked of the benefit of having acreage threshold, Hovden said he would like to have an acreage threshold in the statute.  Klemesrud responded that he believes the county needs to establish a threshold for the presumption of agriculture; if it is below 15 acres, other factors would be consider as to whether or not to treat the property as ag.  Doug Lindaman presented a letter to the Board identifying what he believes to be a three-tier common law practice which priorities ag land over business and business over residential and suggested adding his proposed “common law” language to the ordinance.  Supv Kuhn countered Lindaman’s common law practice theory with a “first in time-first in right” theory giving rights to people who live in the area and the legal and legislative issue would be the rights of a resident when someone new moves to the area and changes the environment which affects property values.  Supv Kamm commented that the 15 acres was intended to protect farm land; Myhre commented that he originally proposed the county write a 35-acre requirement in the ordinance.  Hruska and Souder questioned the Zoning Commission’s and Supervisor’s recent approval of a petition to rezone farm land from ag to residential so a new housing development could be built. Supv Dunkel responded that if someone wants to sell his land for a purpose other than farming, the county is not going to stop it.  Jim Frisbie suggested that the purpose of the ordinance was to protect the best taxable value of the property rather than the best use of the property and that a better way to protect property value would be to do something about all the junk sitting around.  Klemesrud stated that Iowa Law with respect to County Home Rule allows counties the power to regulate what does not violate state law.  Klemesrud also explained the only way to regulate ag land for preservation purposes is to do so in Iowa Code 335.27 with a 300 acre parcel.  Supv Kuhn mentioned that the purpose of the permitting process is to ensure the purpose of the building, the ag exemption issue has not been challenged, and farmers are use to filing paperwork such as federal subsidies or Family Farm Credits with the Assessor.  Kuhn questioned attendees about what they find so restriction or objectionable with the permitting process.  McGregor responded about the county having no business needing to know about a farmer’s operation, this is an invasion of privacy, and even though the permit process may be easy, it does not make it right. Souder proposed a shorter ag exempt building permit form simply questioning if the building is for ag purposes.  Tom Schwab, Zoning Commission Chair, said the building application was put together with the assistance of Farm Bureau representatives and was not intended for zoning to be punitive but rather protective.  Klemesrud added that the zoning office not only deals with zoning but they also deal with flood plain and septic systems; the form aids them in covering other aspects of their job.  Paul Van Ausdall questioned the restriction on the number of employees for small businesses and the limitation on the number of dogs someone can have.  It was explained that the ordinance does not prohibit those activities but a petition to rezone or a conditional use permit which would allow neighbors to voice their position on situations exceeding the ordinance limitations may be required.  When questioned about permits being required for shingling or residing a house, Misty Day, Zoning Assistant, stated that a permit would not be required for that type of work but a permit would be required if there were changes to the foot print of the structure, such as adding on a room.  Supv Kamm countered remarks about not having more farmers on the Zoning Commission with the commission members fairly covering the breakdown of cross-section of people and farmers and other employment identified in the Comp Plan.  Jim Hughes commented that we don’t want one more rule.  Boge commented on this ordinance as being an infringement on his rights and by raising the number of acres the county is stifling 4H kids, the future of our country, who are raising livestock on small farms.  Wayne Koehler commented on equitable taxation, zoning and taxation are separate issues, and if there are abuses or misclassifications of properties, that may need to be addressed to the assessor but not through a zoning change.  Koehler provided information on court cases regarding zoning and taxation.  Koehler appreciates clearing up definitions and activities that were not thought of since the 1960’s and the 1984 ordinance.  Myhre stated that there are not many changes between the old and new ordinance other than the 10-15 acres; a permit was required with the old ordinance.  Grandfathering, remnant acres and severing the farmstead were discussed.  Kuhn suggested doing away with the 15 acres for the number of acres, leaving in the ag exempt application for all new construction, and add language for a single family farm dwelling.       

Future agenda items:  Zoning ordinance on next Monday’s workshop.

Kamm/Kuhn moved to adjourn.  Motion carried 3-0.


ATTEST:  ________________________________             ____________________________________

            Gloria A. Carr                                                           Warren K. Dunkel, Chair

            Floyd County Auditor                                            Floyd County Board of Supervisors


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