Minutes of Board of Zoning Hearing for Gerald Bill to rezone 3.02 acres of property located at 1549 Rampart Avenue in the NEľ of Section 14-T96N-R16W, Floyd County, Iowa, from AG to C-1 for the purpose of maintaining a trucking operation that exists on the subject property.
Board members present were Thomas Schwab, Duane Koch, and Michael Goddard. Also present were Jeff Sherman-Administrator and Misty Day, Assistant. Roll call of Board members was taken and three (3) of the (5) members were present, with Board members Susan Nelson and Dean Tjaden being absent.
The Board opened the meeting with the election of officers. Motion to appoint Thomas Schwab as Chair was made by Duane Koch and was seconded by Michael Goddard. Motion to appoint Susan Nelson as Co-Chair was made by Thomas Schwab and seconded by Duane Koch. Roll call vote was taken and the appointments were unanimously approved. Board members Susan Nelson and Dean Tjaden were absent for the election of officers.
Gerald Bill nor a representative on his behalf were present for the start of the hearing. A call to the phone number listed on the Petition to Rezone resulted in a busy signal. Charles Perry was present for the hearing and identified himself and his interest in the hearing as a neighbor. He also presented the Board a letter of objection to the zoning request, which is attached and made a part of the record by this reference herein. Discussion was had concerning which neighbors the notice was sent to and it was determined that it was sent to all property owners who had property within 500 feet of the subject property, including Robert Marker, Charles Henely, Richard Schultz, Virginia Neeley et al, Allen Calhoun, Charles Perry, Erick Michalson, and Leonard Bornstein. A notice was also sent to Gerald Bill and Anthony Bill.
Assistant Misty Day updated the Board on a few housekeeping matters while the Board awaited for the arrival of Mr. Bill or an authorized representative. Assistant Day informed the Board of an upcoming Intro to Planning & Zoning Workshop that she planned on attending. Previous Board members had also attended this workshop so if any new members wanted to attend or if any of the previous members wanted a refresher, they were welcome to attend the workshop in Clear Lake on March 31st or the one in Decorah on March 30th. Assistant Day will send registration information to the Board members when it is available. Assistant Day also let the Board know that they have implemented a new review process for all surveys before they can be recorded. The Auditor, Assessor, Engineer, Recorder, and Zoning Departments all met and revamped the land division form that was prepared last year, which was then sent to the surveyors to review. The intent is to have the surveyors get approval from each of the departments
before a survey is recorded. Assistant Day also informed the Board of the future move from their current office to the vacant office upstairs where Public Health used to be located.
Administrator Jeff Sherman made another call to Applicant Bill. Applicant Billís wife informed the Administrator that she would call Applicant Bill and have him come in, as Anthony Bill, the actual owner of the trucking operation, was in Texas picking up a broken-down truck. The Board allowed Charles Perry to state his case, with Chair Thomas Schwab stating that his letter was very much to the point. Charles Perry stated that he personally does not have any problems with Gerry or Tony and that he gets along with them just fine. Heís worked with Gerry probably a lot more then Tony over the years, but what obviously happened was Tony started running a little truck line hauling a little grain with only a few trucks, and he also kept cattle on the subject property and did farming with his father, Gerald Bill. The operation has now grown to the thirty-five (35) truck range, with five (5) more trucks having been added just recently. The business continues to grow and from what Mr. Perry understands of the
zoning thereís no real limit as to how big they can grow as long as they remain on the 3 acres that are the subject of the Billsí rezoning request. Additionally, Mr. Perry stated that he gets a fair amount of diesel and exhaust coming across to his property, they have spotlights on all night, thereís trucks coming in and out all night, and Mr. Perryís not sure if itís normal, but a lot of the truckers do the engine breaking when they come up through the highway so you hear the hammering of the trucks, which are just the sight, sound and exhaust problems that go with it. Mr. Perry does think there is increased truck traffic, as well as a safety hazard at the top of hill when you come from the West, because the trucks come in on the gravel road next to the subject property, and a person comes up right on top of those trucks when they are pulling in and out due to the lack of visibility over the hill. Mr. Perry continued to state that since he has lived out there, there have been nine (9) new homes built
along the road that have a taxable valuation of approximately $2.5 million or an average of $271,000.00 per house, which generates $3,000.00 in taxes per property or about $266,000.00 worth of taxes for the County. In addition, Mr. Perry stated that the highway is the logical place where a lot of people want to build a home. When you look at the total assessed value on the Billsí property, the buildings are assessed at $19,000.00 and really an increased value has been generated through the commercial business. So one of Mr. Perryís questions is, is a commercial enterprise really very conducive to the housing project that may come through that area? Mr. Perry also stated that through working at the bank and being president of Area Development, they have built development parks in the County and City and had ground that was properly zoned for commercial development. Mr. Perry continued to state that he had development ground South of town; Steve Schwartzrock has ground that is available; Gil White has
a development park that is zoned for commercial use; up across from Buy-Low thereís a building and some ground that is probably available; Area Development still owns the White site which has a lot of concrete and a lot of space on it. Mr. Perry stated that there are places available for development which are zoned for development and thatís where you want development. He appreciates that Mr. Bill has created some jobs, but those jobs would be there if the business was in the right location too. Mr. Perryís feeling is that the operation is really out of place at its current location and part of his concern is how much bigger will they get. Erik Michalson, a neighbor across from the subject property, is working in Kansas City now, and his wife, Stephanie, was working and couldnít come to the hearing, but Mr. Perry visited with them and their feelings are pretty much the same and their letter addresses their concerns as well. The objection letter submitted by Erik Michalson is attached hereto and made
a part of the record by this reference herein. Mr. Perry stated that the Michalsonsí issue is that they are probably looking at putting their house on the market in the future and the trucking operation is really going to impact the value they are looking at by being right across the road.
Upon reviewing the file, it was determined that Mr. Billís trucking operation has 33 trucks and 59 trailers as of June, 2009. Mr. Perry stated that Tony stopped in around November to tell him about this hearing and told Mr. Perry that he just added five (5) more trucks. Mr. Perry also stated that the workers all park their cars at this location and itís a pretty congested little lot. Chair Schwab inquired as to whether we had any feeling as to how long this operation has been in business. Mr. Perry stated that he came to town in í86 and he built is house out there in í91. At that time, Gerry was a pattern maker in Waterloo after he left White when White shut down, so he was basically doing just a little bit of farming. Tony fed cattle out of there for a couple of years so he would guess somewhere around í95. He started initially just hauling some feed, he had a couple of feed trucks and hauling a little bit of feed for a hog confinement, Iowa Select, and when Iowa Select started hauling their own feed Tony started hauling really anything he could find to get on the trucks. The bulk of it would probably have started in the late nineties and has really gone up from there, with most of it having really started in the last ten (10) years. Mr. Perry also stated that you want businesses to be on a fair footing, and is it fair to one business to not be zoned and not meet regulations when other businesses have to comply with zoning and other regulations. Itís not exactly fair to competitors. The Board inquired as to how old the houses in this area are. It was determined that Mr. Perryís and the Michalsonsí homes are the oldest homes in that area. The newer houses started being built in 1991 with several of them having been built in the last two (2) years. Mr. Perry reiterated that the residential has generated a pretty sizable amount of taxes for the County over that time period. Board Member Goddard inquired as to whether we need to address the numbers as the numbers are pretty substantial. Board Member Koch stated that he wasnít even sure if the three (3) acres subject to the zoning request even supports the number of trucks he has now. Discussion was had concerning the size of the lot and where it is located in relation to the buildings on the lot. In addition, Mr. Perry stated that he wasnít sure how they can split the house away from the lot that is the subject of the rezoning request as they do all of the dispatching out of the house and is a part of the business. Upon reviewing the Plat of Survey with the Board Members, Mr. Perry also added that they are not even parking in the area that is subject to the rezoning request, and is questioning whether the business is really contained to the three (3) acres shown on the Plat. Discussion was also had about what generated this request to begin with. It was determined that Supervisor Dunkel contacted the Zoning Department to find out what this property was zoned based on a call he received. Mr. Perry stated that there have been a little bit of issues
and a little bit of complaints with burning that they have been doing up there. They donít really know what is being burnt but it smells like tires once in a while, and he thinks there have been complaints about that. It was determined by Administrator Sherman that the DNR had received a complaint concerning tires that were buried near a waterway to the north of the property and that the Bills have complied with the DNR in mitigating the problem. The original complaint came from County Conservation who were the first to find the tires. Further discussion was had concerning the layout of the property in relation to the buildings. A map provided with Mr. Billís application was reviewed in relation to the plat of survey. Discussion was had as to where they park on the property and it was determined that they park in the feedlot, which is not part of the 3 acres that is subject to the rezoning request. Discussion was had concerning whether Anthony Bill understood he needed to be present for the hearing.
It was determined that he was aware although he was originally told the hearing would take place at 9:00 a.m. instead of 8:30 a.m., but a written notice with the change of time was mailed to both Anthony Bill and Gerald Bill. Chair Schwab inquired as to whether there was any precedence of the Bills having operated here for some number of years. It was determined that there is no Ďgrandfatheringí of an illegal use, unless they were operating prior to the County having zoning. It was further determined that Floyd County has had zoning since at least the early 1970s and this operation was not operating prior to the Countyís zoning. Discussion was had concerning whose name the property is in and whose business it is. It was determined that Gerald Bill is the owner of the property and Anthony Bill is the owner of the business, and that there is a business name of Anthony Bill Trucking. Discussion was had concerning the property being zoned commercial. It was determined that if the rezoning took place and
the Bills no longer owned the property, any other business allowed under a commercial zone could move in and operate on the property, including a junk yard.
Applicant Gerald Bill arrives to the hearing. Chair Schwab stated to Mr. Bill that he is the signed applicant for the request for zoning change and inquired as to the structure of the business and whether he had any interest in the business. Mr. Bill stated he had not interest in the business; his son keeps his trucks out there because the insurance is a lot cheaper then trying to keep them in town. Mr. Bill stated that he didnít know very much about this, his son has been taking care of the matter and he had a truck blow up in Texas and was unable to be at the hearing. Board Member Koch inquired as to whether Mr. Bill could tell them what the operation is. Mr. Bill stated that they have a trucking business and they haul feed from Algona. They do travel out of state and they provide maintenance for their trucks. Board Member Koch asked for further information about the business, including how many trucks they have. Mr. Bill stated that he was unsure as to how many trucks they had but he thought it
was thirty some trucks and probably fifty some trailers, with 25 to 30 employees including drivers, office staff, and maintenance staff. Chair Tom Schwab pointed out that there doesnít seem to be good continuity in the fact that he owns the property but has no interest in the business. Mr. Bill reiterated that he has not been involved in the business and in fact he doesnít even own the building on his property, his son does. Board member Duane Koch asked if Mr. Bill had any idea if Tony planned on expanding the business any more. Mr. Bill stated that he will if he doesnít go broke first, as heís always looking to expand, but he isnít sure how much bigger they can get, because they are pretty swamped now. Chair Thomas Schwab inquired as to whether the applicant can put together a business plan and reapply if the application was denied today. Administrator Sherman did not know the answer to that. NIACOG representative, Joe Myhre, indicated that most ordinances make an applicant wait a year before
reapplying, however, Assistant Day quickly glimpsed through the ordinance and could not find any provision regarding the reapplication process.
There were no additional parties present or any additional letters in support of or against the zoning change.
A motion was made to deny the application to rezone 3.02 acres of property located at 1549 Rampart Ave in the NEľ of Section 14-T96N-R16W, Floyd County, Iowa, from AG to C-1 for the purpose of maintaining an existing trucking operation by Duane Koch and was seconded by Michael Goddard. Roll call vote was taken and the application was unanimously denied.
Chair closed the hearing.
Motion to adjourn.
The meeting with NIACOG concerning the changes to the Comprehensive Plan and Ordinance took place after the zoning request hearing. Joe Myhre and Dan Schroeder from NIACOG were present for the meeting. NIACOG presented the Board with the revised, written portion of the Comprehensive Plan. It was determined that it was not complete as NIACOG has gotten as far as the Local Government Finances section to-date. NIACOG also presented the Board with a survey they want to mail to 200 random residents to get their input as to where they think the Countyís priorities for development should be. This will help the Board determine where they need to focus and help them develop the future land use map. NIACOG also pointed out that Floyd County has an average CSR rating of 76 which is within the top five (5) counties in the State of Iowa. Discussion was had concerning the Avenue of the Saints future land use map and whether we want to make changes or keep the plan, which was originally put together by
Veenstra & Kimm, Inc. The Board took a look at the proposed interchanges and agreed interchanges by Charles City, Floyd, and Rudd looked good, but the intersection for Rockford and the Nora Springs interchange should be revised. NIACOG then went over the survey with the Board to get their input. Discussion was had concerning the future land use map allowing the Board the opportunity to correct any zoning mistakes that may have been made over the years. For example, if a property was zoned I-1 and itís not the best location for an I-1 district, the future land use map can designate that area AG so that I-1 company can not rezone any more property in that area I-1 because the future land use map says they canít. The I-1 company will still be allowed to exist and operate where itís at, but they can not purchase and rezone any more land other then whatís already been zoned I-1. Discussion was had concerning whether we want to add an area on the survey for residents to identify problem areas
in the County that should be addressed with the future land use map. It was determined that the other comments section would be sufficient, as the Board does not want to weed through needless complaints. It was determined that Floyd County Memorial Hospital should be added to the list of hospitals, otherwise the survey looked good and could be sent out next week. NIACOG will email the cover letter that goes along with the survey to Administrator Sherman for his review prior to mailing out the surveys. The next meeting with NIACOG will take place in March and will be tentatively scheduled for March 9, 2010, unless conflicts were to come up.
Jeff D. Sherman