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The complete draft of the ordinance can be studied at



Agriculture Use Types

Agriculture use types include the planting, cultivating, harvesting and storage of grains, hay, or other plants; or the raising of feeding of livestock or poultry. The four subsections include: Horticulture; Crop Production; Animal Production; and Livestock Sales. Horticulture is defined as “the growing of horticultural and floricultural specialties, such as flowers, shrubs, or trees intended for ornamental or landscaping purposes,” and may include accessory sales under certain conditions. Typical uses include wholesale plant nurseries and greenhouses. Crop Production is defined as, “the raising and harvesting of tree crops, row crops or field crops on an agricultural or commercial basis.” This may include accessory retail sales under certain conditions. Animal Production is defined as, “the raising of animals or production of animal products, such as eggs or dairy products on an agricultural or commercial basis; or the raising of animals for recreational or educational use.” Typical uses include “grazing, ranching, free ranch dairy farming, and poultry farming.” Livestock Sales is defined as, “the use of a site for the temporary confinement and exchange or sale of livestock.” This includes sales barns.


Residential Use Types

Starting on page 21 of the zoning ordinance you will find the definitions for residential use types. These include; providing wholly or primarily non-transient living accommodations. They exclude institutional living arrangements providing 24-hour skilled nursing or medical care, forced residence or therapeutic settings. There are 11 residential use types listed in this section including; single-family residential, townhouse residential, boarding houses and retirement residence. Each one has its own description. For instance, a mobile home subdivision is described as “division of a tract of land into lots that meet all the requirements of the Washington County’s subdivision ordinance for the location of mobile homes. Generally, a lot within a Mobile Home Subdivision is owned by the owner of the mobile home placed upon such lot.”


Civic Use Types

Beginning on page 23 you will find all 24 defined civic use types and their descriptions. Some examples of civic use types include; college and university facilities, day care services, hospitals, postal facilities and utilities. As with all the other use types, this section has descriptions of each type listed. Religious assembly is described as “a use located in a permanent building and providing regular organized religious worship and religious education incidental thereto (including private primary or private secondary educational facilities, community recreational facilities, day care facilities, and incidental parking facilities). A property tax exemption obtained pursuant to Property Tax Code of the State of Iowa shall constitute prima facie (legally sufficient) evidence of religious assembly use.


Office Use Types

One of the shortest headings under use types in the ordinance is office use types. There are only 3 types listed on page 27. As stated in the ordinance, “office use types include uses providing administration, professional services and allied activities. These uses often invite public clientele but are more limited in external effects than commercial uses.” The 3 office use types listed are; general offices, financial services and medical offices. General offices are described as “use of a site for business, professional or administrative offices who may invite clients from both local and regional areas. Typical uses include real estate, insurance, management, travel or other business offices; organization and association offices, or professional offices.”


Commercial Use Types

As defined in the zoning ordinance, commercial uses include; the sale, rental, service and distribution of goods, and the provision of services other than those classified under other use types. There are examples of business’ that fall under this category including; ag sales and service, campgrounds, communication services, kennels, funeral services, restaurants and stables and/or riding academies. Keep in mind that there are 34 use types listed in this category, some of which are broken down even further into sub-sections, such as retail services and automotive and equipment services. Each one of the use types listed in the ordinance has a description of its use. For instance, truck stops are defined as “facilities that provide for the sale of fuel, provisions, supplies to motorists, including operators of over-the-road trucks, in which less than 30% of the total site area is devoted to the servicing, accommodation, parking, or storage of over-the-road trucks.” This is just a partial description! For the full description of this and all other commercial use types refer to the zoning ordinance pg. 27 thru 34.


Parking Use Types

The parking use types section of the ordinance is the shortest with only two subsections; off-street parking and parking structure. Off-street parking is defined “surface parking of motor vehicles on a temporary basis within a privately or publicly owned off-street parking facility.” A parking structure is “the use of a site for a multilevel building which provides for the parking of motor vehicles on a temporary basis, other than as an accessory to a principal use on the same site.”


Industrial Use Types

Pages 35, 36 and 37 of the zoning ordinance refers to industrial use types and defines them, “industrial use types include the on-site extraction or production of goods by nonagricultural methods, and the storage and distribution of products.” There are 13 use types listed in this section including; agricultural industry, custom manufacturing, recycling collection and resource extraction. Construction yards are described as “establishments housing facilities of businesses primarily engaged in construction activities, including incidental storage of materials and equipment on lots other than construction sites. Typical uses are building contractor’s yards.”


Transportation Use Types

Transportation use types “include the use of land for the purpose of providing facilities supporting the movement of passengers and freight from one point to another.” The 5 use types defined in this section are; aviation (general), aviation (private), railroad facility, transportation terminal and truck terminal.


Miscellaneous Use Types

The final use type listed and defined in the zoning ordinance is miscellaneous use types. This section has 7 subsections including; alternative energy production devices, amateur radio tower, communications tower, construction batch plant, landfill A (non-putrescible solid waste disposal), landfill B (putrescible and non-putrescible solid waste disposal), and wind energy conservation system. A construction batch plant is defined as “a temporary demountable facility used for the manufacturing of cement, concrete, asphalt, or other paving materials intended for specific construction projects.” Some will have you believe that this is why we have zoning today!


More to come!