The Woodbury County Zoning Ordinance Section 2.02-8 requires the following documentation to be submitted as part of a variance application.

  • Specific description of the proposed variance request including the section of the ordinance from which a variance is requested.
  • Mapping drawn to scale showing the subject property, all structures and other improvements with the proposed variance identified thereon.
  • A statement in response to the standards and other considerations for approval of the conditional use within Section 2.02-8-F (1) of the Woodbury County Zoning Ordinance.
  • A certified abstractor's listing of the names and mailing addresses of all owners of real property lying within 500 feet of the subject property, except that in the case of a conditional use to allow an airport or a sanitary landfill, or construction of a telecommunication tower, the certified abstractor's listing shall include a listing of the names and mailing address of all owners of real property lying within one (1) mile of the subject property.
  • A filing fee of $300.00 payable to the Woodbury County Treasurer.  The owner(s)/applicant(s) shall pay the additional costs associated with the processing, printing, and the mailing of notifications of the public hearings when the number of mailings required exceeds 30.  The owner(s)/applicant(s) shall pay the additional costs of the legal publication notice(s) in newspaper(s) when the fees exceed $100.00.



  • Application is filed with the Community and Economic Development Office.
    • Right to seek variance.  A request for a zoning variance may be filed by any person aggrieved by a provision of the zoning ordinance that limits their intended use of property.
    • A variance is intended to provide necessary relief from the requirements of the zoning provisions of the Zoning Ordinance that would create unnecessary hardships or practical difficulties.  
  • Application is placed upon the Board of Adjustment agenda for consideration.
    • The Board of Adjustment shall hear and decide on requests for a variance pursuant to subsection 2.01-5. D subject to the procedures, standards and conditions set out in this subsection and Section 335 of the Iowa Code.
  • The Board of Adjustment holds a public hearing.
  • The Board of Adjustment renders decision on the variance application based upon the standards and other considerations in the Zoning Ordinance (Section 2.02-8.F).


  • In order to grant a variance, the Board of Adjustment must determine that:
    • Granting the variance will not be contrary to the public interest or the gen-eral intent and purpose of this title in that it:
      • Adversely impacts nearby properties;
      • Substantially increases congestion of people, buildings or traffic;
      • Endangers public health or safety;
      • Overburdens public facilities or services; or
      • Impairs the enjoyment, use or value of nearby property.
    • Granting the variance is necessary to assure that the owner does not suffer an economic hardship.  (Note: Increased financial return or reduced costs to the applicant are not adequate cause for a finding of hardship.)  A finding of economic hardship must be based on each of the following:
      • The property cannot yield a reasonable return if used in compliance with the requirements of this title; 
      • The property has unique physical constraints that result in its inability to be used in compliance with the requirements of this title; and 
    • The hardship is not a result of actions by the owner. 
  • No variance shall be granted which would permit the establishment of a use within a given district which is prohibited therein;
  • No variance shall be granted which is so commonly recurring that it is a de facto amendment of this ordinance; and
  • No variance shall be granted that is more than the minimum relief needed. 
  • No variance shall be granted to the provisions of Section 5.03 relative to flood plain management requirements unless the Board of Adjustment considers the factors listed in subsection 5.03-9.C (4).


A request for a variance appeal shall have the effect of a temporary suspension of enforcement of the provisions of these regulations that are the sub-ject of the variance request until the conclusion of the variance process, unless the zon-ing director certifies that the suspension may cause imminent peril to life or property.


  • Hearing required. The Board of Adjustment shall conduct a public hearing on the variance request in accordance with subsection 2.02-1. B.
  • Notification.  Public notification of the Board of Adjustment hearing on the vari-ance request shall be as required by subsection 2.02-1. B(1).  Such notices shall provide information on the time, date and location of the hearing and a brief de-scription of the requested variance.
  • Decision.  Within 10 days after the public hearing the Board of Adjustment shall approve, approve with conditions or limitations, or deny the requested variance.  The Board of Adjustment shall set forth findings of fact addressing the points enumerated in subsection 2.02-8. F(1) below as a basis for its action. 


The Board of Adjustment may, as a condition related to approval of a variance, impose restrictions and safeguards upon the property and the variance granted if it determines the restrictions to be necessary to minimize adverse effects on other property or the public interest.  Such conditions shall be set forth in the resolution of the Board of Adjustment granting the variance.  Failure to comply with any conditions imposed on a variance approval is a violation of this title.


Any interested party may appeal a variance decision of the Board of Adjustment in two ways.

  • If the Board of Adjustment approves a variance, the Board of Supervisors pursu-ant to Section 335.10 of the Iowa Code may remand the matter to the Board of Adjustment for further consideration at any time within 30 days.  
  • Any aggrieved party may appeal a decision of the Board of Adjustment within 30 days as provided by Section 335.18 of the Iowa Code.  Such an appeal suspends the effect of the action of the Board of Adjustment until the appeal has been re-solved.  Any construction or cost incurred during the period subject to appeal is at the risk of the applicant.


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This content was printed from the County website at on May 18, 2024.