Zoning Commission Minutes

March 26, 2012




Minutes - Woodbury County Zoning Commission Meeting


The meeting convened on the 26th of March, 2012 at 6:00 PM in the Board of Supervisor’s meeting room on the first floor of the Court House, Downtown, Sioux City, Iowa.  Present were the following Commission members – Chairman Grady Marx, Christine Zellmer Zant, Arvin Nelson, and David McWilliams.  Mike Knight arrived at 6:05 PM.  Zoning Staff Present: John Pylelo and Peggy Napier.  From the public Mark and Peggy Pottorff were present.

The first agenda was Election of 2012 Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson.


Mr. Marx won Chairperson with 3 votes for Marx and 1 vote for Ms. Zellmer-Zant.  Mr. Knight was not present for this vote.


Ms. Zellmer Zant won Vice-Chairperson with 4 votes for Zellmer-Zant and 1 vote for Marx.


Chairperson Marx asked if Mr. Pottorff’s agenda item could be moved to the next position since he and his wife were the only representatives present.  There were no objections.


The next agenda item was a Public Hearing and Consideration of Re-zoning Application for Sandra Kay Lau and Mark D. Pottorff and Recommendation to Board of Supervisors.

Property owner, Sandra Kay Lau, and Applicant, Mark D. Pottorff have filed a re-zoning petition for approximately 1.64 acres within the original town plat of Luton.  The re-zoning petition requests a change from the current SR (Suburban Residential) designation to a LI (Limited Industrial) zoning district designation.

Should the re-zoning petition be successful the property owner intends to then sell the approximate 159’ by 682’ area to applicant Pottorff for the wxpansion of his agricultural chemical/fertilizer sales and application business.  Within the ordinances Pottorff’s intended use is classified as Industrial:  Heavy Service Business:  Fertilizer Storage/Distribution/Application.  The re-zoning is required as Pottorff’s intended use is not permitted under the current SR zoning designation. Pottorff’s existing business operation is zoned limited industrial and lies approximately 275’ west of the proposed property to be re-zoned.

The proposed property’s location is within the southern portion of the original Town plat of Luton.  The re-zoning would include seven (7) vacant lots; vacated Woodbury County roadway right-of-way; and vacated alleyway all just south of Third Avenue between Second and third St. Third Ave at this location is a graveled and county maintained roadway.

The location to be re-zoned was removed from the 100 year floodplain on September 29, 2011 when Woodbury County adopted FEMA’s updated Flood Insurance Rate Mapping (FIRM).  The location is not within any drainage district.  The locations average CSR is unknown as the lots have no history of row crop production.  The nearest CSR data is on congruent parcels to the south and east where the average CSR range is 62.1 to 70.4.

The western portion of the location includes the former site of the Luton school which was recently razed.  No portion of impacted right-of-way and alleyway has been dedicated, maintained or used as roadway or alleyway.

The nearest hard surfaced county roadway right-of-way is Dallas Avenue approximately 200’ to the west.

Adjacent and nearby zoning designations consist of:

     To the north: SR (Suburban Residential)

     To the east: SR (Suburban Residential)

     To the south: AP (Agricultural Preservation)

     To the west: AP (Agricultural Preservation)

The thirty two (32) property owners within 1000’ of the proposed rezoning were notified by letter of the public hearing.  As of March 19th the Planning and Zoning office has received telephone contact from Richard Mercer of 7 3rd St.  Mr. Mercer indicated he would be attending the public hearing.

Notices were also sent to each of the following Agencies or Institutions with responses noted. 

     County Engineer:  No response Received

     County Assessor:  No Response Received

     County Emergency Services:  No Response Received

     Peggy Powell, Clerk for Grange Township Trustees:  No response Received

We enclose the following documentation:

  • Location Mapping
  • A Boundary Retracement Plat
  • Aerial Mapping showing property ownership
  • Aerial Mapping showing flood plain mapping history
  • Aerial Photos
  • An undated Petition of Zoning Change statement provided by the applicant providing signatures of a number of nearby property owners supporting the limited industrial re-zoning request.
  • March 19, 2012 letter supporting approval of the re-zoning request from Woodbury County Rural Economic Development (RED) Director, Robert Marqusee. 


Staff Recommendation:  Subject to potential public hearing testimony staff recommends a Zoning Commission approval recommendation for LI re-zoning.

Your Commission is asked to hold a public hearing and provide a re-zoning recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

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

Ms. Zellmer Zant made a motion to recommend approval of the re-zoning.  Mr. McWilliams seconded the motion; carried 4-0.

The next agenda item was appointment of 2012 Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) Commission Representative.

Ms. Zellmer Zant, the current representative, said she had never been notified of the meetings.  She would be willing to continue as representative if this issue could be addressed.  Chairperson Marx appointed Zellmer  Zant 2012 SIMPCO respresentative.


The next agenda item was approval of Commission Minutes of August 22, 2011.

Ms. Zellmer Zant made a motion to accept the minutes as written.  Mr. McWilliams seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.


The next agenda item was approval of Commission Minutes of October 24, 2011. 

Mr. Nelson made a motion to accept the minutes as written.  Ms. Zellmer Zant seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.


The next agenda item was Review of Platinum Grain Urban Renewal Area Pursuant to Iowa Code Section 403.5.

Iowa Code Section 403.5 requires a county’s zoning commission review the proposed adoption of any urban renewal area determining if the area is consistent and conforms with the County’s development plan.  The commission then must make written comment to its Board of Supervisors of its findings. 

Woodbury County intends to enter into a development agreement with Platinum Grain LLC for the development of a grain terminal/elevator complex within a 20 acre parcel located in NENE of Section 7 and the NWNW of Section 8, Miller Township.  A component of the development agreement includes the county provide certain improvements or benefits to Platinum which the County wishes to recoup through tax increment financing (TIF).  As part of the TIF mechanism an urban renewal area must be established.

The location is bordered by Highway 31 to the east.  Access/egress will be provided from two proposed drives along Hwy 31 roadway right-of-way.  The location is approximately 0.8 miles southwest of Anthon, Iowa on the west side of Hwy 31.  The location is approximately 1320’ north of the intersection of 235th St. and Hwy 31.

The geographic area in question lies within an AP (Agricultural Preservation) zoning district designation where use of land for a grain terminal/elevator is a conditionally permitted use.  All congruent and nearby zoning district designations are the identical AP (Agricultural Preservation) designation.  In January 2012 the Woodbury County Board of Adjustment approved Platinum’s conditional use permit.

Project description:  Platinum Grain LLC’s terminal/elevator facility will buy and store agricultural crops.  The application’s site plan provides for the construction of up to seven (7) grain bins.  The initial construction phase includes the first two (2) grain bins, elevator bulk heads, an office, a 30’ by 50’ loading and unloading areas, a well, septic system and on-premise signage.  Subsequent phases of construction are planned to include installation of up to five (5) additional grain bins and grain drying structures/equipment.  Storage capacity of the first two bins will be 750,000 bushels per bin; 1,500,000 bushels total.

For your review find attached the following:

  1. Site location mapping
  2. Aerials indication parcel identification, floodplain, zoning designation
  3. Multi-phase Site Plans including topography
  4. IDOT Hwy 31 entrance and exit traffic data and analysis
  5. On site photos

Staff Recommendation:

Staff is of the opinion the Urban Renewal Plan for Platinum Grain conforms to, or is consistent with, the County’s 2005 General Development Plan for the following reasons: 

It is consistent and conforms with the County vision Statement which states
“…all people and business prosper, rooted in a diverse, agriculturally-based economy.” 

It is consistent with and conforms to the County’s economic development goal of:
“Recognizing the resource and cultural base, expand and promote agriculture and agricultural employment opportunities in the county…” 

It is consistent with and conforms to the County’s Agricultural goal which states the County is to:
“Promote agriculture as the main industry in the rural portion of the county.” 

It is consistent and conforms to the County’s Commercial and Industrial Business Goal which states:
“Woodbury County shall build upon the strength of agriculture as the most important business in its rural area and shall encourage compatible commercial and industrial business development to develop a diverse, strong economic future in the rural portion of the county.” 

It is consistent with and conforms to the County’s Commercial and Industrial Business Policies which are to:
“Encourage those commercial and industrial business land uses that have a need for a rural location outside a city to locate at intersections of federal and state highways, or other major, paved county secondary roads on sites that already have or can be efficiently supplied with public infrastructure.”


For the above reasons staff recommends you support finding the proposed Platinum Grain Urban Renewal Area conforms to, or is consistent with, the County’s 2005 General Development Plan and that you authorize your Chairman to provide the appropriate written report of your findings to the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Pylelo said Mr. Marqusee, Director of Rural Economic Development for Woodbury County, had a positive opinion of Platinum Grain, LLC.  Mr. Pylelo also considered Platinum Grain, LLC a positive development for rural Woodbury County.

Mr. Nelson made a motion to recommend finding:

  1. the proposed Pltinum Grain Urban Renewal Area conforms to, or is consistent with, the County’s 2005 General Development Plan
  2. and that you authorize your Chairman to provide the appropriate written report of your findings to the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors

Mr. McWilliams seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.

Ms. Zellmer Zant made a motion for Mr. Pylelo to draft the document and Chairman Marx to sign it.

Mr. McWilliams seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.


The next agenda item is Review and Recommendation to Board of Adjustment Re: Conditional Use Permit application by Infinity Wind Power, LLC and Vicki Nippert for Meteorological Tower.

A conditional use permit application was received from the developer and property owner for proposed construction of a monopole and guyed meteorological tower.  This conditional use permit is required as towers of any type are allowed only as a conditional permitted use.

The conditional use permit application is for the proposed installation and temporary operation of a 197’ monopole and guyed meteorological tower for Infinity Wind Power, LLC and property owner, Vicki Nippert within Section 35 of Rock Township; GIS Parcel #884235100003.

The tower’s purpose would be to support equipment used to measure wind speeds over an undetermined but temporary period of time.  The data obtained would be used to determine the feasibility of wind turbine tower development within this portion of rural Woodbury County.  Upon completion of the data gathering project the tower and support structures will be dismantled, and removed from the parcel.

The owner of the tower will be Infinity Wind Power, LLC of Santa Barbara, CA.  On September 8, 2011 Infinity has entered into an easement agreement with the property owner for wind energy development within the NW ¼ of the Section 35 of Rock Township.  The meteorological tower applied for will lie in the southwest corner of this 160 acre area and 200’ + east of Taylor Ave. roadway right-of-way.

The tower would be located approximately 2.0 miles west of the Woodbury/Ida County border 5.0 miles S-SW of Cushing on a portion of a 39 acre parcel.  Access to the tower will be from east side of Taylor Ave which is a graveled and county maintained roadway. The closest intersection roadways are to the north at 210th St. and Taylor Ave.

The parcel is zoned AP (Agricultural Preservation) and the location does not lie within any drainage district or a known flood hazard area.

The nature and type of this tower provides no viable collocation opportunities.  There are no suitable existing collocation structures within a two mile distance of the proposed site.  The proposed tower will not require illumination as it will not meet the FAA’s 200’ minimum height requirement requiring lighting.  No FAA determination letter is required.

The tower will have no equipment shelters located at its base.  The tower is self contained and under battery operation.  All electrical equipment is located within or attached to the tower.  As such the site plan does not provide for any utility connections or access/egress/utility easements.

The assessor’s records indicate there are seven (7) single family dwellings within 1 mile of the proposed tower site.  Thos property owners, the dwelling addresses and GIS parcel numbers are as follows: 

Maurine Sobieski
2132 Story Ave.
GIS Parcel #8842 34 100 003

Jason Meins
4586 210th St.
GIS Parcel #8842 34 200 002

Waveland Farm Inc.
2097 Taylor Ave.
GIS Parcel 8842 27 400 004

Delbert Shever Trust
4607 210th St.
GIS Parcel #8842 26 300 003

Vicki Nippert
2106 Taylor Ave.
GIS Parcel # 8842 35 100 001

Larry Johnson
4681 210th St.
GIS Parcel #8842 26 400 004

Doris Jepsen
2231 Union Ave.
GIS Parcel #8842 02 200 002


The closest occupied structure is owned by applicant Vicki Nippert approximately 2,100’ to the north.

The applicant’s site plan does not provide driveway access/egress information.  Although this is a temporary structure the Department of Emergency Services has required towers, including meteorological towers, to have driveway addresses assigned to the tower’s access point where it joins county roadway right-of-way.  Further, the County Engineer will require the use of either an existing permitted drive or the establishment of a new permitted drive location.

Selected data regarding the project is as follows:

       Height of tower...............................................................197’

       Tower base elevation....................................................1472’

       Tower maximum height elevation.................................1669’

       Tower Width....................................................................18”

       Tower Guy Radius..........................................................131’ to 164’

       Width of Taylor Ave roadway ROW at this location.....66’

       Tower base distance to Taylor Ave. ROW...................225’

Included in your reference materials are copies of the following information:

  • A copy of zoning ordinance subsection 2.02-9.F
  • Correspondence dated March 30, 2012 from the Chair of the Zoning Commission
  • The applicant’s conditional use permit application
  • Location information
  • Aerial Photography
  • Parcel Information
  • Tower Photo Simulation
  • Pictures of the Location
  • FAA Regulations





Zoning Commission Findings and Staff Recommendation:
The Administrative Procedures subsection 2.002-9.F of Woodbury County’s zoning ordinances states the Planning and Zoning Commission shall review the application for a conditional use and report its findings to the Board of Adjustment before their public hearing on the application.  In the review the Commission shall consider each of the standards and other considerations for review of condition uses as specified in subsection 2.02-9.F.  A copy of the subsection 2.02-9.F is attached for your reference.

The Zoning Commission’s findings support conditional use permit approval with the recommendation the tower be illuminated.  The recommendation is based upon the fact of the tower’s height is within 3’ of 200’ threshold the FAA requires its illumination standards be met.  The Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the tower be illuminated at its highest point pursuant to the FAA standards referred to within subsection 5.05:8.

The Planning and Zoning Office’s staff recommendation is subject to public hearing testimony.  The Zoning Office finds the application meets each of the standards established within subsection 2.02-9.F items (a) though (f) inclusive.  Staff recommends the following two condition be placed upon any conditional use permit approval”

  1. The use of an existing permitted/addressed drive or, in the alternative, a new permitted drive location be established with the Woodbury County Secondary Roads Department; and
  2. Should a new permitted drive be established that application for a rural address assignment be made at the time tower building permitting is filed.

Staff further wishes to make comment on the Zoning Commission illumination recommendation.  The Commission is to be commended for the work done including evaluation of air safety concerns and how to best minimize this perceived risk.  However Woodbury County ordinances are clearly specific within subsection 5.05.:8 Illumination wherein it states that lighting shall comply with requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration.  The FAA’s lighting requirements apply to towers 200’ or higher.  Thus, the tower in question does not require illumination.  It is staff’s position any imposition of an illumination condition would not pass judicial scrutiny under the ordinances as currently written.  A suggested alternative could be asking the applicant to voluntarily agree to the illumination standard espoused by the Zoning Commission.  Any decision by the applicant to not voluntarily illuminate the tower should not be a factor in your evaluation to either approve or deny the conditional use application.

Your Commission is asked to review the Conditional Use Application of Infinity Wind Power, LLC and Vicki Nippert.  You are asked to hold the required public hearing and consider the application.


Minor discussion ensued regarding previous meteorological tower erected in 2010 and its function. 

Mr. Marx again raised the issue of illumination for low flying pilots.

Mr. McWilliams commented ordinances should be reviewed regarding meteorological towers.

Mr. Pylelo commented the commission wanted these towers to be safe but did not wish to discourage the establishment of wind farms in Woodbury County.  He suggested at some point soon establishing specific ordinances addressing wind farms.  Pylelo added talking to other zoning directors to see what language they used would be helpful.

Mr. Marx made a motion to allow the CUP on the condition a light be placed at its highest point.  Mr. Nelson seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.


The next agenda item was any citizen wishing to be heard from the public.
There were no longer any citizens present.


Ms. Zellmer Zant made a motion to adjourn.  Mr. McWilliams seconded the motion; motion carried 4-0.


Meeting adjourned at 6:40 PM.  Next meeting will be on April 23rd at 6 PM.