More bills, little movement

The first funnel deadline is rapidly approaching, but little action has taken place on any of the bills – other than commercial property taxes – that we have been following.  Some more recently introduced bills of interest include:

HF 2221 allows an assessor to assign more than one classification to a mixed use parcel of property, and specifically allows a residential classification for a portion of a building used as a residence that is situated on stories above the ground floor and a proportionate share of the land upon which the building or structure is situated, even if the residence is not the primary use of the building or structure, so long as the building or structure consists of three or fewer stories and not less than 75 percent of the structural components of the building or structure are more than 30 years old.

HF 2179 clarifies the filing requirements for petitions to the city development board involving involuntary city development action by specifying that a petition for incorporation must be filed with the city development board by 5 percent of registered voters of a territory involved in the proposal, and a petition for discontinuance or boundary adjustment must be filed with the city development board by 5 percent of the residents of the city.  Current law allowing petitions for incorporation, discontinuance, or boundary adjustments to also be filed by a city council, a county board of supervisors, or a regional planning authority involved in the proposal remains in place.

HF 2254 modifies eminent domain. It would prohibit the removal of a property from the state historic register solely for the purposes of allowing it to be condemned, unless it is the Iowa DOT that is proposing to condemn.  Properties on the state historic register could only be condemned after a 2/3 affirmative vote in both the Iowa House and Senate, and approval by the governor.  The bill would also tighten the use of condemnation for lake projects in a number of ways, including requiring more extensive engineering studies, and a requirement that the condemning agency offer the property for sale back to the original owner after 2 years from date of condemnation if construction on the lake has not “progressed substantially.” The bill would also remove the authority of the Environmental Protection Commission and the DNR to use eminent domain to acquire recreational lands.

HF 2262 – another eminent domain bill, would prohibit the condemnation of property designated as native prairie or as a protected wetland by the DNR, or property established as a forest reservation or a fruit-tree reservation except after a 2/3 affirmative vote in both the Iowa House and Senate, and approval by the governor.

SF 2152 amends a provision enacted in SF 321 during the 2011 legislative session which authorizes the DNR to adopt standards for the disposal of wastewater from an on-farm processing operation which processes commodities into food such as a dairy, creamery, winery, distillery, cannery, bakery, or meat or poultry processor. Iowa Code 455B.172A currently provides that wastewater originating from the operation may be applied on land if a number of requirements are satisfied. The bill eliminates the requirement that the wastewater be land-applied by a person licensed by the department to dispose of sewage pursuant to Code section 455B.172(5).

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