On June 1, 2020, the Governor signed HF2477 and HF2512 into law. The laws had an immediate impact on planning and zoning in Iowa counties as each county’s authority to require review of agricultural exemptions and agritourism requests disappeared, including Story County.
HF2477 eliminates counties’ ability to require conditional use permits, special use permits, special exceptions, or variances for agricultural experiences on a farm where the primary use is agricultural production. Agricultural experiences are secondary uses to agricultural production and are intended to promote or educate the public about agriculture, agricultural practices, agricultural activities, or agricultural products. This new law will require the striking of Story County’s agritourism ordinance and Conditional Use Permit process from the Story County Land Development Regulations. With permit and variance approvals for agricultural experiences gone, so also opportunities for neighbors and other members of the public to express their support or opposition for new or changing agricultural experience projects at a public hearing.
HF2512 states that “a county shall not require an application, an approval, or a fee in order for an ordinance to be deemed inapplicable to land or buildings that are primarily adapted for agricultural purposes,” requiring Story County to change some of its processes.
The Planning and Development Department is now supporting a voluntary application submittal process for property owners claiming their land and/or building projects are agriculturally exempt from County zoning requirements. The Department’s review will continue to include referral to Environmental Health when waste water is planned to be generated and a septic system permit is needed, review for impacts on the flood plain, referral to electric service providers regarding overhead electrical line separation standards, and review for potential impacts to easements.
Please send comments or questions regarding these laws to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515-382-7245 for more information.