Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Local Process

For months, local government agencies and representatives have been telling citizens they can’t stop this plant. We now know that is not true. The Iowa Utilities Board’s attorneys have said that this project is NOT exempt from local zoning.

Below is an email from the City Planner describing the local zoning process that must take place before this plant is built. It is time to for the public to speak.

“Again, we would prefer to rezone the property to "M-2,P" Planned Industrial if it is annexed into the City of Waterloo. The "M-2,P" classification is consistent with the majority of land being rezoned in the Northeast Industrial Park area, including the Deere site, Tyson Foods, Tannery, Ferguson, etc. The Heavy Industrial designation (M-2) lists under its Principal Permitted Uses:

" A building or premises may be used for any purpose whatsoever except those listed in subparagraph 1, 2,3, and 4 below: ........ (a power plant is not listed in the subparagraphs).

Therefore, this zoning classification would work for the use of a power plant. A power plant is not otherwise listed as a permitted use in the Zoning Ordinance (as it cannot list everything).

The rezoning process is as follows:

Upon annexation, the land is, by ordinance, automatically zoned "A-1" Agricultural District. The application would need to be submitted for the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission meets once a month on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Requests are due two weeks prior to that time to allow us staff time for mailing notice, etc. The request would be mailed to all property owners within 250' of the property boundaries to be rezoned. (The next PZ meeting is Sep 12 due to holiday, with a turn-in date of Aug 29). After review by the Planning Commission, the request is forwarded to City Council. The City Council must go to a meeting and set a date of public hearing - generally 2-3 weeks after that initial meeting. At the hearing, the City Council will approve or disapprove of a request. If the Planning Commission recommends denial, or if 20% of the landowners (by area) within that 250' mailing notice area are opposed to the request, it will take a 3/4 majority of the City Council to approve the rezoning (6 out of 7 council members).”

To contact Waterloo City Councilors, click here: http://www.wplwloo.lib.ia.us/waterloo/citycouncil.html

For more information on upcoming events and ways to help, click here: http://cleanairwaterloo.com

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