Some land use bills moving forward.

In a session slowed by a divided house and senate, the Iowa legislature has recently moved some land use-related bills forward.

HF 603 (formerly HF 64) passed the house by a vote of 91-6 on March 22 and has been messaged over to the senate.  It makes a number of changes to eminent domain authority.  Among those, it generally raises the bar for most state agencies by requiring a showing of public use/public purpose by clear and convincing evidence (a higher standard than previous).  It also increases the procedural requirements for condemnation for lakes, prohibits condemnation of land on historic register, limits cities use of eminent domain outside city limits, and severely limits condemnations to aquire recreational lands.  There are more details to it.  It is worth reading.

SF 321 passed the house 91-8.   This bill provides for on-farm processing operations which manufacture products from commodities originating from that farm or another farm such as a dairy, creamery, winery, distillery, or cannery. The bill requires the DNR to adopt standards for the disposal of wastewater or septage from that operation. The standards for disposal of wastewater must provide for disposal by land application, at a wastewater treatment system, through a subsurface absorption system, or through a disposal system that discharges into a public water. The department must also adopt by rule standards for the disposal of septage to a septage lagoon or septage drying bed. 

SF 489, the bill to implement the recommendations of the Smart Planning Taskforce report from November 2010, has been referred to a senate appropriations subcommittee. 

HF 300 has been assigned to a subcommittee in the House Ways and Means Committee.  Its companion bill in the senate (SF 395) has also been referred to a subcommittee of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  HF 300 would keep platted lots assessed as acreage or unimproved property until improved with permanent construction.  Right now a platted lot is assessed as residential 3 years after platting or upon development, whichever comes first.  From a planning perspective, this bill has the potential to promote sprawl.  In other states with assessment rules similar to what is proposed, it has been shown to result in buy and hold by developers because there is no negative tax consequence to speculation on the fringe of urban areas.

March 1 legislation status check

The funnel deadline for bills to keep moving (must be passed out of a committee) is Friday, March 4.  SSB 1068, the study bill that carries many of the recommendations of the Smart Planning Taskforce,  passed out of the State Government Committee on February 28 (the link is not to the current as-amended version).  SSB 1068 will now receive a Senate File number.

SF 321 is the successor bill to SF 269, discussed below, concerning wastewater discharges by on-farm processing operations.  It also passed out of committee yesterday.

Bills recently introduced, but not yet through committee:

SF 297 and SF 336 both deal with the notification requirements of meetings of the boards of condominium and homeowners associations.

HF 430 would protect agricultural operations from nuisance suits under certain circumstances (commonly referred to as a right-to-farm law.  NOTE: the Iowa Supreme Court struck down Iowa’s previous right-to-farm law in a nationally-famous case, Bormann v. Kossuth County, in the 1990s).

HF 413 would provide a property tax exemption for commercial property in an urban revitalization area that has been vacant for more than six months and meets other criteria.

HF 388 would no longer allow cities to adopt ordinances providing for the use of a designated amount of the increased local  sales and services tax revenues attributable to retail  establishments in an urban renewal area to fund urban renewal  projects located in that area.  Existing ordinances could be amended or repealed only.

HF 357 would change the authority of city zoning boards of adjustment to grant variances, by allowing the granting of area variances upon a showing of ‘practical difficulties’ rather than unnecessary hardship.

Smart planning survives. More new bills introduced.

HF 45  which contained the repeal of Smart Planning as it left the Iowa House of Representatives, was amended and passed by both the Senate and House without the Smart Planning repeal.  Smart Planning lives. 

Other recently introduced bills:

SF 269:  A bill for an act relating to wastewater discharges by on=farm processing operations  (companion bill is HF 295).
SF 246:  increases penalties for knowing violations of the open records and open meetings laws, and creates the Iowa public information board.
HF 341: Eliminates the Climate Change Advisory Council and the requirement that the DNR provide the governor with an annual report on greenhouse gas emissions. 
HF 319: Exempts 100-year old houses from residential property taxes if more than 50 percent of structure is original.
HF 305: Prohibits the DNR, any city, county, or other governnmental entity from using a FEMA floodplain map for any purpose unless that specific map has been approved by the state legislature. 
HF 300:  Provides that a platted lot will be assessed as acreage or unimproved property until the lot is actually improved with permanent construction  (eliminates “or three years from recording of plat, whichever comes first” language from 441.72).

Legislative update, February 15

The pace of new legislation has slowed.  The following land use-related bills have been introduced in the last week.

HF 269:  Would require a municipality proposing an urban renewal project that utilizes TIF moneys to consider and apply the smart planning principles.

HF 258: Would permit hunting preserves for wild boars.
HF 213: Would require meetings of the governing boards of homeowners associations and horizontal property regimes (condos) to be open to all members of the associations, and require notice thereof.

More new legislative proposals

New bills as of February 8:

HF 177: A bill for an act allowing for the recall of elected officials of political subdivisions and providing a penalty.

HF 176: A bill for an act relating to the implementation of federal law or policy by state administrative agencies.  This bill prohibits any state agency from establishing rules more stringent than any applicable federal rules on the same subject.

HF 169: A bill for an act relating to zoning restrictions applicable to the location of a winery within the limits of a city.  This requires any city to allow a winery issued a “native wine permit” under Chapter 123 of the Iowa Code in any zoning district “having agricultural or horticultural activities as permitted uses.”

HF 163: A bill for an act relating to disaster mitigation and predisaster planning by providing for comprehensive watershed management planning, creating a watershed management grant program, providing floodplain management regulation incentives, creating a predisaster hazard mitigation grant program, and making appropriations.

Latest bills introduced

In addition to the bills discussed in my January 25 post (see below), the following bills have been introduced:

HF 151:  A bill for an act authorizing a rural water district to declare bankruptcy, and including effective date provisions.

HF 135: A bill for an act relating to the division of instructional support program property tax revenue for urban renewal purposes and including effective date and applicability provisions.

SF 115:A bill for an act requiring that certain housing constructed using public funds incorporate minimum universal design standards relating to accessibility.
SF 112: A bill for an act relating to the procedures for approving the use of property as a shooting range (would amend Iowa Code 657.9).

Update on Smart Planning repeal, other land use-related bills

HF 45, the “Taxpayers First Bill” that includes repeal of last year’s Smart Planning Act, passed the Iowa House last Wednesday.  An amendment to remove the Smart Planning repeal was offered by Representative Charles Isenhart (D-Dubuque) but did not pass.  The bill has been transmitted to the State Senate.  

Other bills directly or indirectly related to planning that have been introduced include:

SF 11:  A bill for an Act delegating to counties the permitting and enforcement powers of the department of natural resources in relation to 2 certain sewage disposal systems and authorizing penalties.

SF25:  A bill for an Act relating to open records and public meetings and including effective date provisions.

SF28:  A bill for an Act relating to local and regional planning and establishing a state office of planning and geographic information systems within the department of economic development and making appropriations.

SF 53:   A bill for an Act relating to disaster mitigation and predisaster planning by providing for comprehensive watershed management planning, creating a watershed management grant program, providing floodplain management regulation incentives, creating a predisaster hazard mitigation grant program, and making appropriations.

HF28:  A bill for an Act authorizing counties to adopt county legislation relating to the siting of confinement feeding operations.

HF38:   A bill for an Act relating to the assessment and taxation of platted lots and including effective date and retroactive applicability provisions.

HF59:  A bill for an Act providing for the adoption of complete streets policies for certain highway projects. 

HF64:   A bill for an Act relating to eminent domain authority and procedures and including effective date and applicability provisions.

Many bills do not make it past introduction.  We will only be reporting on the progress of these bills if they gain traction over the coming weeks.





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