Fact Sheets

In addition to posts on recent development in planning and zoning law in the Midwest, we are offering fact sheets to help address common questions and explain basic concepts. This area is under construction. We will be adding a lot of new material and refining its organization over the coming weeks. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or encounter any issues accessing these pages.

These fact sheets represent best practices in planning and zoning in Iowa, but are no substitute for legal advice. Only your city or county attorney is qualified to give you advice as to how the specific facts in your case affect you.



Responsibilities of Land Use Decision-Makers

Iowa Laws Relating to Planning and Zoning

Legislative v Quasi-Judicial Decisions


Comprehensive Planning:

The Purpose of the Comprehensive Plan

Adopting a Comprehensive Plan

Being an Effective Planning Commission

The Elements of a Comprehensive Plan

Iowa Smart Planning Principles



The Zoning Ordinance

Nonconforming Uses

Special or Conditional Uses


Spot Zoning


Ethics and Meetings:

Rules of Decorum for Audience at Board of Adjustment Hearings

Conflicts of Interest

Pre-hearing Ethics Checklist

Ex Parte Contacts