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Ask Mr. Answer Person: "How are (Decorah) citizens supposed to be informed of zoning changes?"

Posted: Wed, Jun 5, 2013 1:41 PM
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Christine e-mails: "Dear Mr Answer person: What are the city's zoning laws? (How close can a new house be built to the property line?  Does it have to be built on the same foundation?) and how are citizens supposed to be informed of variance requests?  I know they put it in the paper, but what other ways do they use?

Mr. Answer Person says: "There's a whole section of the city's ordinance deadling with zoning issues.  You can read the entire ordinance through the City of Decorah';s website, http://www.decorahia.org/

Any time a property owner wants to do something on their property that does NOT comply with the city's zoning ordinances, they have the option of asking for a variance from the Board of Adjustment.  You're correct that notices are run in the newspaper, but there's also a requirement that a sign be posted in the front of the property, notifying neighboring property owners of the application for a zoning variance and telling the neighboring property owners when the Board of Adjustment will consider the matter.

But in the City of Decorah's case, they have gone beyond those two statewide requirements.  About two years ago or so, the City started sending written notices to neighboring property owners within 200 feet of a property where a zoning variance was being proposed.

For instance, there's a Decorah Board of Adjustment meeting being held Monday evening.  Any neighbor of someone who application will be considered Monday should have gotten a written notice mailed to their address, informing them of Monday afternoon's board meeting.

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