Board of Adjustment Minutes

July 5, 2011



Minutes - Woodbury County Board of Adjustment Meeting 

July 5th, 2011


The meeting convened on the 6th of June, 2011 at 6 PM in the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room in the Court House, Sioux City, Iowa.  Present were the following Board members: Brian Crichton, Russell Walker, David Scholten, JoAnn Sadler and Corey Meister.  Zoning staff John Pylelo and Peggy Napier were also in attendance. Rich & Patti Law, Doug & Fran Carlsen, Clint & Brandee Koedam, Blake Miller, Todd & Tara Shumansky, and Tom & Angela Kayo were present from the public. 


Chairman Brian Crichton called the meeting to order at 6 PM.


The first agenda item approval of the June 6, 2011 meeting minutes.

Ms. Sadler made a motion to approve the minutes as written.  Mr. Scholten seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.


The second agenda item was to a public hearing and consideration of Conditional Use Permit Application for Todd W. and Tara M. Shumansky.

On April 26, 2011 the applicants purchased 2 lots within the Kuhlmann’s Second Addition subdivision. On June 14, 2011 a conditional use permit application was received from the property owners for the proposed operation of a seasonal Halloween entertainment venue to be located on the two lots.  Lots 5 and 6 were established in 2010 by former property owner Theresa Kuhlmann as part of a six lot residential and commercial subdivision. 

The specific business related activities and areas listed within the application are a walk-thru corn maze, tractor drawn hayrack rides, a walk-thru haunted forest, a farm and fall activities area, a retail sales area/structure, a pick your own pumpkin field, a primary parking lot, overflow parking lot and a pick your own fruit tree area.

The location is bordered by Correctionville Rd on the North, US Highway 20 on the South, Charles Ave. on the West and Big Whiskey Creek on the East.

Information pertinent to consideration of the application includes the following:

  • Parcel characteristics: Lot 5 is zoned GC (General Commercial) and 6.843 acres in area. Lot 6 is zoned AE (Agricultural Estates) and 10.506 acres in area. Both parcels are irregular in shape and have significant areas within an existing flood hazard area (the 100 Year flood plain). This flood hazard designation significantly impacts the available uses and placement of structures within the two lots. FEMA’s proposed flood plain update will not significantly change the area within the flood hazard.

  • Adjacent zoning district designations:

            To the North:  AE (Agricultural Estates)
            To the East:  GC (General Commercial)
            To the South:  GC
            To the West: AE and GC

  • Access/egress:   The lots are serviced from two (2) paved drives accessing Charles Ave. a paved and county maintained roadway.

  • Parking: Primary parking is located south of the existing structures and abutting Charles Ave ROW. Parking surface will be aggregate stone. The number of available spaces will be 100. Overflow parking is located in the northwest corner of the facility also abutting Charles Ave. ROW. Parking surface will be vegetation. The number of available spaces will approximate 50.

  • Current use of Parcel: In the past land the parcels’ use was agricultural consisting primarily of row crops. Structures on the parcel were use for storage of agricultural equipment or personal property.
  • Existing Structures: 

    North Accessory Structure: 30’ by 60’
    South Accessory Structure:    42’ by 60’

  • Structures proposed to be placed into Commercial Use:  North structure is currently leased to a third party for storage.  South structure will serve as entrance to facility and used for ticket sales and a retail sale location for produce and products.

  • Hours of Operation:  Seasonal: September 1 through October 31; Monday through Friday 10:00AM to 11:00PM; Saturday and Sunday10:00AM to 11:00PM.

  • Security:  Woven wire fencing around 4 sides of the rectangular shaped facility. Fence will be 48” in height topped with 2 strand barbed wire. Fence will be supported by wooden posts spaced at 12’ intervals. All exterior doors of structures will be latched and locked after operating hours.

  • Lighting:   Undetermined at this time.  Awaiting comment from neighborhood.

  • Employees:  Undetermined at this time.  Dependent upon level of patronage.


Well and Septic system: The lots have no current well or septic systems. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is allowing up to 25,000 gallons per day to be pumped from Big Whiskey Creek for agricultural irrigation. Port-a-pots will be provided for patrons and employees during Halloween entertainment venue operations.


Notification:  The nineteen (19) property owners within 500’ of the parcel were notified by mail of the public hearing. As of June 28, 2011 no one has contacted the Zoning Office requesting additional information.  The Zoning Office also mailed notifications to the following departments or agencies requesting comment: 

Woodbury County Engineer: Mr. Pylelo had a telephone conversation with County Engineer Mark Nahra.  His concerns were for any potential for parking on the shoulder of Charles Ave. or anywhere within the county right-of-way on Charles Ave. or Hwy 20.

Iowa Department of Transportation: Received letter from IDOT.

Dear Mr. Pylelo:

In response to the Conditional Use Permit for Todd & Tara Shumansky and the adjacent US20 right of way.  The parking area directly west of the pumpkin field could potentially cause a sight distance concern within the intersection of US20 and Charles Avenue, if some overflow parking would utilize US20 shoulder or right of way.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call at the above address.


Kelly Mulvihill
Engineering Operations Technician

Fire Chief Lawton Fire Department: No response received to date

Siouxland District Health Department: No response received to date.


Staff Recommendation:

The application requests a conditional use permit for Lot 5 which is zoned AE.  Due to the proposed mix of uses staff recommends expansion of the application to also include Lot 6 zoned GC.

A seasonal Halloween entertainment venue is not specifically listed as a use in the Outdoor recreation enterprises section of Woodbury County’s Land Use Summary Table.  The mixed use activities applied for has a component potentially agricultural exempt; i.e. growing corn for the corn maze and growing pumpkins for the pumpkin patch. However the proposed use of the parcel and any structures for seasonal entertainment is not agriculturally exempt.

Some of the entertainment uses could be interpreted as allowed on the southern lot under its general commercial zoning designation. At the same time the general commercial zoning may not permit some of the Lot 6 agricultural uses should they be categorized as not agriculturally exempt.   It is the staff opinion that the proposed mixed use requested in the application requires a conditional use permit for the total facility; i.e both Lots 5 and 6.  

Staff is of the opinion the below conditional use standards within Section 2.02(9) of the ordinances can be met and recommends approval of the conditional use permit application. However, any permit approval should provide conditions are in place to mitigate any undue adverse impact on adjacent property. 

Section 2.02(9) of the County’s zoning ordinances (Copied Below) govern conditional uses. This ordinance language include requirements be met to grant any conditional use. The impact of hours of operation, security, right-of-way infringement, noise, lighting, and other potential nuisances should be considered along with other issues raised within the public hearing.

(Location information, assessor parcel information, aerial and recent on-site photos taken of the parcel were included in packets sent out to the Board members.)


Mr. Shumansky explained he wanted to expand his seasonal Halloween activities from 4th St. in Sioux City.  Lots 5 and 6 on the corner of Hwy 20 and Charles Ave. would be a good fit partly because the majority of the land is in floodplain and can’t be used residentially and partly because Lot 5 is zoned GC (general commercial).  According to Shumansky noise and lighting would be minimal, parking would be accommodated, and most activities would be during the day with no activities going past 11 pm.

Angela Kayl lives across from Lot 6.  Kayl has no issues with agricultural activities on Lots 5 and 6, but is against Halloween entertainment activities.  She is against everything that will cause a negative impact on their property value or will cause potential harm to her 2 young children.  She cited available land to the east that does not have residential neighborhoods around it.

Doug Carlson’s house is across from the north end of Lot 6.  He does not want excessive noise, music or lights to negatively impact his residence. He also does not want people walking along the right of way of Charles Ave.  Shumansky said he would mow a path within the fenceline for customers.

Chairman Crichton pointed out CUP (conditional use permit) means Shumanskys will have to tailor their activities to whatever conditions the Board of Adjustment places upon them such as what time activities must end.

Brandee Koedam while she can appreciate the creative ideas, they moved there for safety and privacy.  The Correctionville Rd. and Charles Ave. intersection is dangerous for the residents.  Customers for the pumpkin patch activities might make the roads even more dangerous.

Clint Koedam is concerned about future uses of Lot 6.  If he is allowed to use it as part of Halloween activities now, what might he be able to do in the future.

Mr. Pylelo explained he can do what he wants with Lot 5, but not Lot 6.  This was the purpose for getting a CUP, to make it clear what he can and can’t do with Lot 6.

Tom Kayl said he can hear the leaves rustling from these lots from their front yard.  Halloween activities would be too loud, there would be more lighting needed than anticipated, and the peace of their property would be diminished.

Mr. Shumansky this meeting was about learning what obstacles there were and what it would take to overcome them.  Some would be easier than others, but he expected they could work them out.  The activities would be no approximately 45 days in September and October.  Some of the activities would only be on the weekends, and some would only be for a couple of nights. Shumansky sees this as a family oriented business and doesn’t see teenagers as a problem.   

Mr. Pylelo pointed out the reason Lot 6 was attractive to both the citizens and Mr. Shumansky was the same; there could be no building on this lot and could only be used for “outdoor” activities.


Mr. Meister made a motion to close the public hearing.  Mr. Scholten seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.



Board member Corey Meister thought the idea was great but wouldn’t vote for it without more specific information on things such as noise control in haunted forest, parking lighting and how many days specific activities would occur.  Mr. Shumansky asked to have some kind of cushion on the timing.

Board member David Scholten asked why the entire layout couldn’t be rearranged.

Board member Russell Walker said the concept of “We were here first” doesn’t hold water.  Something else has always been there.  Lighting shouldn’t be an issue.  Lights are already an issue with neighbors on Correctionville Rd.

Mr. Crichton’s issues were more with traffic and parking than anything else.

Mr. Shumansky asked if it would help if parking was expanded to the east.  He suggested the north parking lot be used for employee parking only. 

Mr. Pylelo suggested the more the activities could be moved from Lot 6 to Lot 5, the more agreeable it would be.  He also suggested Shumansky get advice from professionals such as IDOT (Iowa Department of Transportation) and the County Engineer.  

Mr. Pylelo asked if the Board wanted to make a decision tonight or if they wanted to table it until more specific information was available to alleviate some of the issues.


Mr. Walker made a motion to table the Conditional Use deliberation until August 1st after suggested communication with the surrounding neighbors has occurred and details are ready to present regarding lights, noise and other discussed issues.  Mr. Scholten seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.


The next item was any Citizen wishing to be heard by the Board.

There were no citizens wishing to be heard by the Board.


The next item was Planning and Zoning Office updates.

Mr. Pylelo presented updates on the Missouri River flooding issues.


Mr. Meister made a motion to adjourn; seconded by Mr. Scholten. Motion carried 4-0.

Meeting adjourned 7:55 AM.
Next meeting is Tuesday, August 1st, 6 PM.