City Council takes steps to update zoning codes

The city park board is looking for answers to fill gaps in labor to help keep the city's cemeteries and parks maintained.





updated with correction to Doug Krogmeier’s title. The Pen City regrets the error.


FORT MADISON – Fort Madison Planning and Zoning Director Doug Krogmeier wants to streamline the city’s zoning codes and got support of the room Tuesday night.

At the regular meeting of the Fort Madison City Council, Krogmeier approached the council to amend Title 10, chapters 2, 19-24 and 31 of the city code to streamline the duties of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the City’s Board of Adjustment and Appeals. The move is aimed at providing residents with a simpler process in getting variances and special usage permits,” Krogmeier said.

“In a nutshell, we’ve always reviewed special uses and variances through the Planning and Zoning first and then Board of Adjustments. We’re the only city in the state that is still doing it like this since I’ve been here,” Krogmeier said. “It’s time we speed that process up. Typically when someone applies for one it takes up to 2 months for a special use (permit) and just under that for variances at about a month and a half.”

He said by eliminating that step, he can eliminate the time needed to hold two different meetings.

“People understand what to ask in the first one and then they learn what to ask in the second. Planning and Zoning should be focusing on writing an allowable special use, and the Board of Adjustment would hear on whether something would be considered an allowable use. We’re also making a few other changes along the way,” he said.

“Ultimately, we need to update the entire zoning code, so this would give the Planning and Zoning Commission time to focus on that and not worry so much about every variance and special use that comes along.”

After the meeting Krogmeier said he’s trying to help fix the timing of the process for Fort Madison residents.

“It’s timing…you know you redo those meetings so often and they talk about the same things so much. It’s not beneficial to the citizens when you have the same argument twice,” he said. “Really, part of it is we are so short-handed. Every commission we have is short-handed of people. If I can reduce the burden on P&Z and not create a conflict of interest…obviously Robert Johnson will have still have to review all of that.”

Krogmeier said the Planning and Zoning Commission writes the code and gives the Board of Adjustment parameters to approve. As it is currently, the city is sending requests to Planning and Zoning for recommendation and then over to Board of Adjustments for approval.

“There’s no reason to send it to both commissions. Two months just seems silly. It should be two weeks unless you’re at the end of the month and then it might take a little longer.”

In other action:

  • the council approved a resolution to take additional action for authorizing the issuance of $20,026,179 in sewer revenue capital loan notes.
  • approved the final reading of an ordinance to amend two chapters of the building and fire codes to update them to the 2012 International Building, Plumbing and Fire codes.
  • Appointed City Manager David Varley to a one-year term on the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission Board of Directors.
  • heard from City Works Director Larry Driscoll that the 15th Street construction should be bidded out in January or February with work starting in April. Driscoll also reminded residents that 24th Street cannot be treated for ice due to the new surface and it will be slick in icy conditions.


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