Legislative update 5/11, thanks in major part to Iowa League of Cities

I am shamelessly co-opting a good portion of the Friday legislative update from Robert Palmer and the Iowa League of Cities’ for this post regarding the progress of TIF legislation and cell tower siting.

An amendment to HF628, the bill that impacts Iowa’s Urban Renewal law, was filed online last week. The amendment removes the language related to ratcheting up by 7.5 percent the bases of TIF districts that do not currently have a sunset until no increment remains and replaces it with new language that would:

  • Make changes to the definition of “blighted area” under Code Section 403.17;
  • Set a sunset for pre-1995 economic development TIF districts in year 2035 and all future economic development TIF districts would continue to have a 20-year limitation, which is current law;
  • Set a sunset in year 2040 for any current slum and blight TIF district and all future TIF districts formed for slum and blight would be limited to 25 years, which is a change from no current time limitation to these districts;
  • Allow the Department of Management to make rules to implement the new limitations.

The bill still creates a reporting requirement for the Legislative Services Agency to separate out the total TIF debt from annual TIF debt on the existing forms in a report to legislators and would prohibit TIF from being utilized on future public buildings.

HF655, the “Iowa Cell Siting Act,” passed out of the House on Thursday morning with an amendment by a vote of 59-39. The goal of this bill is to provide a standard set of regulations in relation to wireless broadband deployment. It prohibits cities and counties from considering several important factors in making their determinations on the siting of new cell towers.  House Chamber Rules were suspended to allow Amendment H-1336 to be attached to HF655. The amended bill attaches the flood mitigation language that was originally removed from the Iowa Economic Development Authority Omnibus bill in the House Ways & Means Committee. The flood mitigation portion affects the cities in the Des Moines metropolitan area.

Iowa legislative update 5/4

HF557 amending the requirements for establishing, financing, and dissolving Rural Improvement Zones, has been succeeded by HF615.  HF615 passed the Senate on April 29 by 49-0 vote.

HF556 – The Iowa Cell Siting Act – is now succeeded by HF655.  It will likely be brought up for debate soon.

HF 619 addresses the use of eminent domain authority for creating lakes for drinking water sources.

HF 628 would make several modifications to Iowa’s urban renewal law by modifying requirements for the annual report prepared by the legislative services agency, establishing restrictions on the use of divided revenues, and modifying the methodology for calculating the amount of divided revenues.

Iowa legislative update, 4/28

The land use related activity seems to have narrowed to a few bills.

Cell towersHF556 passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee with a 14-9 vote.  It would provide a uniform set of regulations for the approval of new towers by local governments, thus preempting local zoning on several issues.  The FCC ruling issued last fall (blogposts here) addressed collocation of facilities and substantial modifications to existing facilities.  This legislation is primarily directed at new tower siting, and would provide standard definitions, uniform application standards and a streamlined process.

Abandoned nuisance properties:  The sections addressing abandoned nuisance properties and flood mitigation were stripped out of HF385.  before passing out of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Eminent DomainSF449, a bill relating to procedures and requirements for condemning property and disposing of certain condemned property, passed out of the House 92-3.  It previously passed out of the Senate 50-0. The bill specifies that the authority to condemn property is not conferred on an acquiring agency unless the governing body for the acquiring agency first approves a preliminary or final route or site location of the proposed public improvement.

Iowa legislative update March 23

It starts to get a little crazy, with companion bills, new versions of previously introduced bills, etc.  No guarantees that I have all of the most relevant bills.

Residential occupancy restrictions:  HF161 passed out of the House on a 74-26 vote and was referred to the Senate.  The Senate’s milder version of the residential occupancy restriction bill is now SF458. The Senate version would permit a city to have an occupancy limit, but would require the city to establish a waiver process to allow a property owner to make the claim to the city’s board of adjustment that their property is suitable for occupancy beyond what the city ordinance allows.

Open meetings:  SF384, passed out of the Senate on a 50-0 vote. Among other things, it would now exclude weekends in the calculation of 24-hour notice requirements, and require advisory committees to comply with open meeting requirements, whether or not the advisory committee has any policy-making functions.

Cell towers:  HSB167 is now HF556.  It would provide a uniform set of regulations for the approval of new towers by local governments.  The FCC ruling issued last fall (blogposts here) addressed collocation of facilities and substantial modifications to existing facilities.  This proposed Iowa legislation is directed at new tower siting.

Abandoned nuisance properties:  SF233 passed out of the Senate on a 49-0 vote, and was referred to the House.  The House companion bill is now HF385.  It does a lot of things, but relevant to city planning it adds due process and clarity to the process for addressing abandoned nuisance properties, and expands the reach of the process to commercial properties (currently applies only to residential properties).

Eminent Domain:  SF449, a bill relating to procedures and requirements for condemning property and disposing of certain condemned property, passed out of the Senate 50-0. The bill specifies that the authority to condemn property is not conferred on an acquiring agency unless the governing body for the acquiring agency first approves a preliminary or final route or site location of the proposed public improvement.

Tax abatement for nuisance residential properties:  SF278, a bill that creates an abatement schedule for individuals who want to clean up and redevelop residential properties, passed out of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. It now has a successor bill SF480.  It allows a city or county to grant an exemption of less than 10 years and less than 100 percent of the value added. The amendment also requires the property owner to disclose any and all other sources of public benefit so the local government can know the full context of the economic need.

Rural Improvement Zones:  HF 249 is now HF557, which passed out of subcommittee of Ways and Means.  It would amend the requirements for establishing, financing, and dissolving Rural Improvement Zones

Latest legislative activity (and a good amount of it)

SF233 passed out of the Senate on a 49-0 vote, and was referred to the House.  It does a lot of things, but relevant to city planning it adds due process and clarity to the process for addressing abandoned nuisance properties, and expands the reach of the process to commercial properties (currently applies only to residential properties).

SSB1218 is the Senate’s version of the residential occupancy restriction bill (the House version is HF161).  The Senate version passed out of Local Government committee on a 10-4 vote. The Senate version would permit a city to have an occupancy limit, but would require the city to establish a waiver process to allow a property owner to make the claim to the city’s board of adjustment that their property is suitable for occupancy beyond what the city ordinance allows. If they can meet the other requirements put in place by a city, then the city may grant them additional occupancy.

SF384, the successor to SSB1073, passed out of the Senate State Government committee unanimously. Among other things, it would now exclude weekends in the calculation of 24-hour notice requirements, and require advisory committees to comply with open meeting requirements, whether or not the advisory committee has any policy-making functions.

HSB167 passed out of the House Commerce committee.  It would provide a uniform set of regulations for the approval of new towers by local governments.  The FCC ruling issued last fall (blogposts here) addressed collocation of facilities and substantial modifications to existing facilities.  This proposed Iowa legislation is directed at new tower siting.  I will provide a more detailed review if/when it progresses.

HF249 a companion to SF 128, passed out of House Local Government committee.  It would amend the requirements for establishing, financing, and dissolving Rural Improvement Zones.

HF457 would require the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to collect information and submit an annual report to the Iowa Legislature about the amount of current and future anticipated debt for cities related to water and wastewater infrastructure. It also prohibits the environmental protection commission from adopting rules that are more restrictive than he federal Water Pollution Control Act, the federal Clean Water Act, and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act relating to wastewater or storm water system or plant construction designs unless the commission determines that more restrictive requirements are necessary to protect public health or the environment.

HF195 passed out of the House Economic Growth subcommittee.  It limits the grounds for designating an area as an urban revitalization area, striking many of the stated reasons for such a declaration from Iowa Code 404.1(2).  Also amends approval requirements.

SF152 – Passed out of Senate Judiciary subcommittee.  It provides, among other things, that the authority to condemn property is not conferred on an acquiring agency unless the governing body for the acquiring agency first approves the final route or site location and design of the proposed public improvement.

Bills introduced on cell tower siting, open meetings

HSB167 would provide a uniform set of regulations for the approval of new towers by local governments.  The FCC ruling issued last fall (blogposts here) addressed collocation of facilities and substantial modifications to existing facilities.  This proposed Iowa legislation is directed at new tower siting.  I will provide a more detailed review if/when it progresses.

SSB1073 proposes to make several changes to Iowa’s Open Meetings and Open Records Acts, generally creating greater openness in government activities. Among other things, it would now exclude weekends in the calculation of 24-hour notice requirements, and require advisory committees to comply with open meeting requirements, whether or not the advisory committee has any policy-making functions.

This week at the Iowa legislature

SF278, formerly SF25, authorizes a city or county to provide a property tax exemption for value added by improvements to residential property that is a public nuisance.

SF243 would remove the exemption for farm houses from county building codes and county zoning regulations.

HF268 adds watershed management authorities to the list of eligible applicants for local watershed improvement grants.

HF249, a companion to SF 128, would amend the requirements for establishing, financing, and dissolving Rural Improvement Zones..

Iowa Legislative update – Second this week

Bills recently introduced:

HF208 allows the inclusion of of residential property in new or amended self-supported municipal improvement districts (SSMIDs), and allows cities to amend existing ordinances creating the SSMID to tax the residential property as part of the SSMID (with exceptions).

SF233 does a lot of things, but relevant to city planning it adds due process and clarity to the process for addressing abandoned nuisance properties, and expands the reach of the process to commercial properties (currently applies only to residential properties).

Iowa legislative update

Two more bills introduced:

SSB1175 would change the variance standard from unnecessary hardship to practical difficulties, and allow a city, by ordinance, to give decision-making authority for special exceptions to a body other than the zoning board of adjustment (presumably the planning and zoning commission)

HF195 limits the grounds for designating an area as an urban revitalization area, striking many of the stated reasons for such a declaration from Iowa Code 404.1(2).  Also amends approval requirements.

 

Land use-related bills introduced in Iowa Legislature

We are approximately one month into the Iowa legislative session, and the following land use-related bills have been introduced thus far.  None are past subcommittee stage.

SF152 – Provides, among other things, that the authority to condemn property is not conferred on an acquiring agency unless the governing body for the acquiring agency first approves the final route or site location and design of the proposed public improvement (think “pipeline”).

SF128 – Amends the requirements for establishing, financing, and dissolving Rural Improvement Zones.

SF25 – Authorizes a city or county to provide a property tax exemption for properties declared to be public nuisances in the amount of the actual value of improvements added to the property.

HF59 – Preempts local regulation of firearms,  firearm accessories, and ammunition.  Makes an exception for “the enactment or enforcement of a generally applicable zoning or business ordinance that includes firearms businesses along with other businesses, provided that an ordinance designed or enforced to effectively restrict or prohibit the sale, purchase, transfer, manufacture, or display of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition otherwise lawful under the laws of this state, which is in conflict with this section, is void.”

HF161 – Prohibits cities, after January 1, 2016, from adopting or enforcing “any regulation or restriction related to the occupancy of residential rental property that is based upon the existence of familial or non-familial relationships between the occupants of such rental property.”

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