Sioux County Conservation adds more protection to land

Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm

By Steve Peterson

Sioux County supervisors approved an amended ordinance which altered the 2007 county comprehensive land use ordinance regarding zoning land near state-owned environmentally sensitive areas.

“It beefs up the Land Use Ordinance to keep agricultural as agricultural; residential as residential and commercial as commercial,” said Sioux County Community Services Director Shane Walter. “The Board of Adjustment has to take into consideration the land uses surrounding it.”

Supervisors approved the language change by unanimous vote at a Nov. 19 meeting, which included a public hearing.

“Sioux County, acting through the Sioux County Conservation Board, owns and/or manages certain county parks and recreation areas and also manages certain state-owned property for conservation and recreation purposes,” the ordinance states. “These conservation areas are environmentally sensitive and constitute a locally significant natural resource that Sioux County desires to preserve and protect for future recreational opportunities.

“As such, any proposed development should be carefully evaluated as to whether such development will have an undue adverse impact on these environmentally sensitive areas,” it continues. “Such evaluation should specifically take into account the light, sound, or other human activities associated with more intense land uses that could be intrusive or detrimental to the county-owned environmentally sensitive conservation areas including identifying any safety concerns for homeowners, the public, and/or livestock.

“The Board of Adjustment should also weigh the impact of the limitations on the discharging of firearms contained in Iowa Code Section No. 81A.123 should such proposed development abut public hunting areas, the ordinance reads.

“Should a proposed development be approved, the Board of Adjustment may also consider imposing restrictions on building activities on the development site to prohibit those activities that adversely affect those environmentally sensitive areas.

“In particular, where property to be developed abuts a conservation area, the board should consider imposing more restrictive property setback requirements, limitations upon the clearing of vegetation or trees or the establishment of a conservation buffer zone along the property line,” the amended ordinance states.

In the Hawarden area, Sioux County Conservation Board sites are Oak Grove State Park and the Big Sioux Recreation Area.

In other Sioux County supervisors’ recent actions, supervisors heard a budget request from the county librarians for a 4 percent increase in FY 2014-2015. This presentation was made at the Dec. 3 supervisors’ meeting.

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