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M) Chapters 145 through 160 – Building and Property Regulations

CHAPTER 145

DANGEROUS BUILDINGS

145.01 Enforcement Officer 145.05 Conduct of Hearing
145.02 General Definition 145.06 Posting of Signs
145.03 Definition of Dangerous Building 145.07 Right to Demolish; Municipal Infraction
145.04 Notice to Owner 145.08 Costs

145.01     ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.  The City Council, by its own initiative and when in receipt of a signed written statement alleging a structure to be dangerous or dilapidated, shall be responsible for the enforcement of this chapter and shall when necessary direct the Building Inspector to carry out those duties as may be required by this chapter for the examination or inspection of various structures.

145.02     GENERAL DEFINITION.  All buildings or structures that are structurally unsafe or not provided with adequate egress, or that constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life, or which in relation to existing use constitute a hazard to safety or health, or public welfare, by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, or abandonment, are, for the purpose of this chapter, dangerous buildings.  All such buildings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or removal in accordance with the procedure specified in this chapter.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 657A.1 & 364.12[3a]) 

145.03     DEFINITION OF DANGEROUS BUILDING.  For the purpose of this chapter, any building or structure which has any or all of the conditions or defects hereinafter described shall be deemed to be a dangerous building, provided that such conditions or defects exist to the extent that the life, health, property or safety of the public or its occupants are endangered.

  1. Whenever any door, aisle, passageway, stairway, or other means of exit is not of sufficient width or size or is not so arranged as to provide safe and adequate means of exit in case of fire or panic.
  2. Whenever the walking surface of any aisle, passageway, stairway, or other means of exit is so warped, worn, loose, torn, or otherwise unsafe as not to provide safe and adequate means of exit in case of fire or panic.
  3. Whenever the stress in any materials, member, or portion thereof, due to all dead and live loads, is more than one and one-half times the working stress or stresses allowed in the Building Code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose or location.
  4. Whenever any portion thereof has been damaged by fire, earthquake, wind, flood, or by any other cause, to such an extent that the structural strength or stability thereof is materially less than it was before such catastrophe and is less than the minimum requirements of the Building Code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose, or location.
  5. Whenever any portion or member or appurtenance thereof is likely to fail, or to become detached or dislodged or to collapse and thereby injure persons or damage property.
  6. Whenever any portion of a building, or any member, appurtenance, or ornamentation on the exterior thereof is not of sufficient strength or stability, or is not so anchored, attached, or fastened in place so as to be capable of resisting a wind pressure of one-half of that specified in the Building Code for new buildings or similar structure, purpose, or location without exceeding the working stresses permitted in the Building Code for such buildings.
  7. Whenever any portion thereof has wracked, warped, buckled, or settled to such an extent that walls or other structural portion have materially less resistance to winds or earthquakes than is required in the case of similar new construction.
  8. Whenever the building or structure, or any portion thereof, because of: (i) dilapidation, deterioration or decay; (ii) faulty construction; (iii) the removal, movement, or instability of any portion of the ground necessary for the purpose of supporting or inadequacy of its foundation; or (v) any other cause, is likely to partially or completely collapse.
  9. Whenever, for any reason, the building or structure, or any portion thereof, is manifestly unsafe for the purpose of which it is being used.
  10. Whenever the exterior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean, or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity does not fall inside the middle one third of the base.
  11. Whenever the building or structure, exclusive of the foundation, shows 33 percent or more damage or deterioration of its supporting member or members, or 50 percent damage or deterioration of its non-supporting members, enclosing or outside walls or coverings.
  12. Whenever the building or structure has been so damaged by fire, wind, earthquake, or flood, or has become so dilapidated or deteriorated as to become: (i) an attractive nuisance to children; (ii) a harbor for vagrants, criminals, or immoral persons; or (iii) as to enable persons to resort thereto for the purpose of committing unlawful or immoral acts.
  13. Whenever any building or structure has been constructed, exists, or is maintained in violation of any specific requirement or prohibition applicable to such building or structure provided by the building regulations of this jurisdiction, as specified in the Building Code or Housing Code, or any law or ordinance of the State or jurisdiction relating to the condition, location, or structure of buildings.
  14. Whenever any building or structure which, whether or not erected in accordance with all applicable laws and ordinances, has in any non-supporting part, member, or portion less than 50 percent or in any supporting part, member, or portion less than 66 percent of the: (i) strength; (ii) fire-resisting qualities or characteristics; or (iii) weather-resisting qualities or characteristics required by law in the case of a newly constructed building of like area, height, and occupancy in the same location.
  15. Whenever a building or structure, used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes, because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, decay damage, faulty construction or arrangement, inadequate light, air or sanitation facilities, or otherwise, is determined by the health officer to be unsanitary, unfit for human habitation or in such a condition that is likely to cause sickness or disease.
  16. Whenever any building or structure, because of obsolescence, dilapidated condition, deterioration, damage, inadequate exits, lack of sufficient fire-resistive construction, faulty electric wiring, gas connections or heating apparatus, or other cause, is determined by the fire marshal to be a fire hazard.
  17. Whenever any building or structure is in such a condition as to constitute a public nuisance known to the common law or in equity jurisprudence.
  18. Whenever any portion of a building or structure remains on a site after the demolition or destruction of the building or structure or whenever any building or structure is abandoned for a period in excess of six months so as to constitute such building or portion thereof an attractive nuisance or hazard to the public.
  19. Whenever any building or structure or portion thereof is abandoned for a period in excess of six months and because of open or broken out windows or open or broken doors becomes an attractive nuisance or hazard to the public because of infestation by bird, rodents, or other vermin.

145.04     NOTICE TO OWNER.  The enforcement officer shall examine or cause to be examined every building or structure or portion thereof reported as dangerous or damaged and, if such is found to be a dangerous building as defined in this chapter, the enforcement officer shall give to the owner of such building or structure written notice stating the defects thereof.

  1. Notice and Order. The enforcement officer shall issue a notice and order directed to the record owner of the building.  The notice and order shall contain:
  2. The street address and a legal description sufficient for identification of the premises upon which the building is located.
  3. A statement that the enforcement officer has found the building to be dangerous with a brief and concise description of the conditions found to render the building dangerous under the provisions of Section 145.03 of this chapter.
  4. A statement of the action required to be taken as determined by the enforcement officer.

(1)        If the enforcement officer has determined that the building or structure must be repaired, the order shall require that all required permits be secured and the work physically commenced within such time (not to exceed 60 days from the date of the order) and completed within such time as the enforcement officer shall determine is reasonable under all of the circumstances.

(2)        If the enforcement officer has determined that the building or structure must be vacated, the order shall require that the building or structure shall be vacated within a time certain from the date of the order as determined by the enforcement officer to be reasonable.

(3)        If the enforcement officer has determined that the building or structure must be demolished, the order shall require that the building be vacated within such time as the enforcement officer shall determine is reasonable (not to exceed 60 days from the date of the order); that all required permits be secured within 60 days from the date of the order; and that the demolition be completed within such time as the enforcement officer shall determine is reasonable.

  1. Statements advising that if any required repair or demolition work (without vacation also being required) is not commenced within the time specified, the enforcement officer: (i) will order the building vacated and posted to prevent further occupancy until the work is completed, and (ii) may proceed to cause the work to be done and charge the costs thereof against the property or its owner.
  2. Statements advising that: (i) any person having any record title or legal interest in the building may appeal from the notice and order or any action of the enforcement officer to the City Council, provided the appeal is made in writing as provided in this chapter and filed with the enforcement officer within 20 days from the date of service of such notice and order; and (ii) failure to appeal will constitute a waiver of all right to an administrative hearing and determination of the matter.
  3. Notice Served. Such notice shall be served by sending by certified mail to the owner of record, according to Section 364.12[3h] of the Code of Iowa, if the owner is found within the City limits.  If the owner is not found within the City limits, such service may be made upon the owner by registered mail or certified mail.  The designated period within which said owner or person in charge is required to comply with the order of the enforcement officer shall begin as of the date the owner receives such notice.
  4. Such notice shall also advise the owner that he or she may request a hearing before the Council on the notice by filing a written request for hearing within the time provided in the notice.
  5. Form of Appeal. Any person entitled to service under subsection 1 may appeal from any notice and order or any action of the enforcement officer under this chapter by filing with the City Clerk a written appeal containing:
  6. A heading in the words, “Before the City Council of the City of Belle Plaine,”
  7. A caption reading “Appeal of ………” giving the names of all appellants participating in the appeal.
  8. A brief statement setting forth the legal interest of each of the appellants in the building or the land involved in the notice and order.
  9. A brief statement in ordinary and concise language of the specific order or action protested, together with any material facts claimed to support the contentions of the appellant.
  10. A brief statement in ordinary and concise language of the relief sought and the reasons why it is claimed the protested order or action should be reversed, modified, or otherwise set aside.
  11. The signatures of all parties named as appellants and their official mailing addresses.
  12. The verification (by declaration under penalty of perjury) of at least one appellant as to the truth of the matters stated in the appeal.

The appeal shall be filed within 20 days from the date of the service of such order or action of the enforcement officer; provided, however, if the building or structure is in such condition as to make it immediately dangerous to the life, limb, property or safety of the public or adjacent property and is ordered vacated and is posted in accordance with Section 145.06, such appeal shall be filed within 10 days from the date of the service of the notice and order of the enforcement officer.

145.05     CONDUCT OF HEARING.  If requested, the Council shall conduct a hearing in accordance with the following:

  1. The owner shall be served with written notice specifying the date, time and place of hearing.
  2. Owner’s Rights. At the hearing, the owner may appear and show cause why the alleged nuisance shall not be abated.
  3. The Council shall make and record findings of fact and may issue such order as it deems appropriate.

145.06     POSTING OF SIGNS.  The enforcement officer shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such building a notice to read:  “DO NOT ENTER.  UNSAFE TO OCCUPY. CITY OF BELLE PLAINE, IOWA.”  Such notice shall remain posted until the required demolition, removal or repairs are completed.  Such notice shall not be removed without written permission of the enforcement officer and no person shall enter the building except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing the building.

145.07     RIGHT TO DEMOLISH; MUNICIPAL INFRACTION.  In case the owner fails, neglects, or refuses to comply with the notice to repair, rehabilitate, or to demolish and remove the building or structure or portion thereof, the Council may order the owner of the building prosecuted as a violator of the provisions of this chapter and may order the enforcement officer to proceed with the work specified in such notice.  A statement of the cost of such work shall be transmitted to the Council.  As an alternative to this action, the City may utilize the municipal infraction process to abate the nuisance.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

145.08     COSTS.  Costs incurred under Section 145.07 shall be paid out of the City treasury.  Such costs shall be charged to the owner of the premises involved and levied as a special assessment against the land on which the building or structure is located, and shall be certified to the County Treasurer for collection in the manner provided for other taxes.  In addition, the City may take any other action deemed appropriate to recover costs incurred.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h]) 

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CHAPTER 150

BUILDING NUMBERING

150.01 Definitions 150.05 Arrangement of Numbers
150.02 Owner Requirements 150.06 Business Section
150.03 Building Numbering Plan 150.07 Residence Section
150.04 Base Lines  

150.01     DEFINITIONS.  For use in this chapter, the following terms are defined:

  1. “Owner” means the owner of the principal building.
  2. “Principal building” means the main building on any lot or subdivision thereof.

150.02     OWNER REQUIREMENTS.  Every owner shall comply with the following numbering requirements:

  1. Obtain Building Number. The owner shall obtain the assigned number to the principal building from the Supervisor of Public Works.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3d])

  1. Display Building The owner shall place or cause to be installed and maintained on the principal building the assigned number in a conspicuous place to the street in figures not less than two inches wide and three inches in height and of a contrasting color with their background.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3d])

  1. Failure to Comply. If an owner refuses to number a building as herein provided, or fails to do so for a period of 30 days after being notified in writing by the City to do so, the City may proceed to place the assigned number on the principal building and assess the costs against the property for collection in the same manner as a property tax.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

150.03     BUILDING NUMBERING PLAN.  Building numbers shall be assigned in accordance with the building numbering plan on file in the office of the Supervisor of Public Works.

150.04     BASE LINES.  First Street and First Avenue as they now exist or would exist if extended to the limits of the corporation, shall constitute the base lines from which the numbering of buildings fronting or situated on streets extending north or east from either of said streets and on either side thereof.

150.05     ARRANGEMENT OF NUMBERS.  The odd numbers shall be on the right-hand or south side of the streets commencing at First Avenue and going east, and on the right-hand or east side of the avenues beginning with First Street and going north, and the even numbers shall be on the opposite side of said streets respectively as heretofore referred to alternately from side to side, said numbers being 100 to each block, or the distance between two street intersections on the same street estimating as blocks that territory which would constitute a block if present streets and avenues were extended.  Where the streets intersecting on opposite sides are not the same, the numbers shall run in each case to the street intersecting on the side being numbered.

150.06     BUSINESS SECTION.  In the business portion of the City the numbers shall be for each 25 feet except when lots vary from 25 feet, in which event such lots or business houses shall be numbered to conform to the size of the lot.  Wherever a parcel of land of less than 15 feet in width occurs, it shall be designated by the number before it with “½” added.

150.07     RESIDENCE SECTION. 

  1. Except as modified by subsection 2 hereof, in the residence portion of the City the numbers shall be for each 60 feet of ground. Wherever the lots are less than 30 feet in the residence district, the lots or residences shall be designated by the number before it and the figure “½” added.
  2. In the Country Club Addition to the City, the lots shall be numbered as shown on the map attached to the ordinance codified in this section, marked Exhibit “A” for reference, and by said reference made a part thereof, anything to the contrary contained in any ordinance of the City notwithstanding.

 

CHAPTER 151

TREES

151.01 Definition 151.05 Disease Control
151.02   Arboricultural Specifications and Standards 151.06 Inspection and Removal
of Practice 151.07 Nuisance and Condemnation or Protection
151.03 Duty to Trim Trees 151.08   Authorization to Attend Training Seminar
151.04 Trimming Trees to Be Supervised  

151.01     DEFINITION.  For use in this chapter, “parking” means that part of the street, avenue, or highway in the City not covered by sidewalk and lying between the lot line and the curb line or, on unpaved streets, that part of the street, avenue, or highway lying between the lot line and that portion of the street usually traveled by vehicular traffic.

151.02     ARBORICULTURAL SPECIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS OF PRACTICE.

  1. Trees shall not be planted on the parking if it is less than eight feet in width, or contains less than 81 square feet of exposed soil surface.  Trees shall not be planted closer than 25 feet to street intersections (property lines extended) and five feet to driveways.  Only trees projected to have a height of 21 feet or less may be planted under utility lines.  Trees must be planted with the center of the planting hole not closer than one foot from underground gas or electric utilities.  All trees must be of the kind, type, and size recommended by the Board and approved by the City Council.  A list of acceptable trees shall be on file with the City Clerk; however, this list is not exclusive as to the type of tree which may fit the area as there are many trees which may not be on the list but would be acceptable to the area of planting.
  2. Unless otherwise allowed for substantial reasons, all standard sized trees shall have comparatively straight trunks, well-developed leaders, and top and root characteristics of the species or variety showing evidence of proper nursery pruning.  All trees must be free of insects, disease, mechanical injuries, and other objectionable features at the time of planting.  All new planted trees shall have a height of no less than five feet above the ground.
  3. Trees may be guyed or supported in an upright position according to accepted arboricultural practices.  The guys or supports shall be fastened in such a way that they not griddle or cause serious injury to the trees or endanger public safety.
  4. Trimming or Pruning. All cuts are to be made sufficiently closer to the parent stem so that healing can readily start under normal conditions.  If pruning of the top of existing trees is needed due to overhead utility lines, the City Administrator should be contacted before pruning.  The stag tops should be pruned to nearest crotch in a lateral branch or to nearest crotch of the central leader.

151.03     DUTY TO TRIM TREES.  The owner or agent of the abutting property shall keep the trees on, or overhanging the street, trimmed so that all branches will be at least 15 feet above the surface of the street and 10 feet above the sidewalks.  If the abutting property owner fails to trim the trees, the City may serve notice on the abutting property owner requiring that such action be taken within five days.  If such action is not taken within that time, the City may perform the required action and assess the costs against the abutting property for collection in the same manner as a property tax.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[2c, d & e])

151.04     TRIMMING TREES TO BE SUPERVISED.  Except as allowed in Section 151.03, it is unlawful for any person to trim or cut any tree in a street or public place unless the work is done under the supervision of the City Administrator.

151.05     DISEASE CONTROL.  Any dead, diseased, or damaged tree or shrub that may harbor serious insect or disease pests or disease injurious to other trees is hereby declared to be a nuisance.

151.06     INSPECTION AND REMOVAL.  The Council shall inspect or cause to be inspected any trees or shrubs in the City reported or suspected to be dead, diseased or damaged, and such trees and shrubs shall be subject to the following:

  1. City Property. If it is determined that any such condition exists on any public property, including the strip between the curb and the lot line of private property, the Council may cause such condition to be corrected by treatment or removal.  The Council may also order the removal of any trees on the streets of the City which interfere with the making of improvements or with travel thereon.
  2. Private Property. If it is determined with reasonable certainty that any such condition exists on private property and that danger to other trees or to adjoining property or passing motorists or pedestrians is imminent, the Council shall notify by certified mail the owner, occupant or person in charge of such property to correct such condition by treatment or removal within 14 days of said notification.  If such owner, occupant, or person in charge of said property fails to comply within 14 days of receipt of notice, the Council may cause the condition to be corrected and the cost assessed against the property.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3b & h])

151.07     NUISANCE AND CONDEMNATION OR PROTECTION.  No person shall intentionally damage, cut, carve, attach any rope, or wire, or nail advertising posters or other contrivance to any tree (except to protect, brace or straighten), or set a fire or permit fire to burn which will injure any portion of the tree.

151.08     AUTHORIZATION TO ATTEND TRAINING SEMINAR.  The City Council shall authorize a member of the Tree Board to attend a seminar for the purpose of training said Board member in the care of trees in all respects and shall pay for expense of the seminar.

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CHAPTER 155

BUILDING CODE

155.01 Purpose 155.08 Unreasonable Complaints
155.02 Definitions 155.09 Notification and Posting
155.03   Establishment of Standards for Structure Exteriors 155.10 Inspection Procedures
155.04   Establishment of Standards for Structure Interiors 155.11 Appeals
155.05 Appointment of Building Inspector 155.12 Abatement by the City
155.06 Inspection of Dwellings 155.13 Collection of Costs
155.07 Reasonable Doubt  

155.01     PURPOSE.  The purpose of this chapter is to establish minimum standards and shall be used to determine when one or more building conditions would result in a condition that would make a structure unsafe for human habitation in furtherance of the public health, safety, and welfare.

155.02     DEFINITIONS.  For use in this chapter, the following words shall be interpreted or defined as follows:

  1. The word “minimum” means the lowest basis standard allowance.
  2. The word “dwelling” means a building used as the living quarters for one or more families.

155.03     ESTABLISHMENT OF STANDARDS FOR STRUCTURE EXTERIORS.  The following standards are hereby established:

  1. Foundation Walls and Roofs. Every foundation, exterior wall, roof, and all other exterior surfaces shall be maintained in a workmanlike state of maintenance and repair and shall be kept in such condition as to exclude rodents.
  2. The foundation elements shall adequately support the building at all points.
  3. The roof shall be structurally sound, tight, and have no defects that might admit rain, and roof drainage shall be adequate to prevent rain water from causing dampness in the walls or interior portion of the building.  Every gutter and downspout shall be firmly fastened and maintained in good condition.
  4. Every exterior door, door hinge, and door latch and lock shall be maintained in good and workable condition.  Every exterior door, when closed, shall fit reasonably well within its frame.
  5. Every window hatchway shall be substantially tight and shall be kept in sound and operable condition and repair.
  6. Structural Safety. Every outside stair, every porch, and every appurtenance attached thereto shall be so constructed as to be safe to use and capable of supporting the loads to which it is subjected and shall be kept in sound condition and good repair.
  7. Where necessary for safety, every flight of stairs and porch that is more than two risers high shall have handrails so located and of such design as required by the Building Code.  Every handrail and balustrade shall be firmly fastened and shall be maintained in good condition.
  8. Accessory Structures. Accessory structures shall be maintained in a similar condition to living units. taking into consideration the use of the structure.
  9. Chimneys and vents shall be structurally safe, durable, smoke-tight, and capable of withstanding the action of flue gases and fireproof from the rest of the structure.
  10. Grading and Drainage. All premises shall be graded and maintained so as to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water thereon, or within any building or structure located thereon.

155.04     ESTABLISHMENT OF STANDARDS FOR STRUCTURE INTERIORS.  The following standards are hereby established:

  1. Interior Doors. Provide a door for each opening to bathroom or toilet compartment.
  2. The plumbing system and its appurtenances for each building shall provide satisfactory water supply, drainage, venting, and operation of fixtures and shall include the standards established by this Code of Ordinances.
  3. All habitable rooms and other appropriate spaces requiring electrical service shall be provided with a system of wiring, wiring devices, and equipment to safely supply electrical energy for proper illumination, appliances, resident security, and other electrical equipment.
  4. Every dwelling and multi-family dwelling shall have heating facilities properly installed, safely maintained, and in good working condition, and that are capable of safely and accurately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms, and toilet rooms located therein.
  5. All floor construction shall provide safe and adequate support for all existing or probable loads and shall be reasonably free of objectional vibration. A suitable surface for finish flooring shall exist or be provided.
  6. Interior Walls, Ceilings and Floors. All interior walls, ceilings, and floors shall be structurally sound, in good repair.
  7. All stairs of every structure shall be maintained in sound condition and good repair by replacing treads and risers that show evidence of excessive wear or are broken, warped or loose.  Every inside stair shall be constructed and maintained as to be safe to use and capable of supporting a load as required by the provisions of the Building Code.
  8. Bath and Kitchen Floor. Every toilet, bathroom, and kitchen floor surface shall be constructed and maintained so as to be substantially impervious to water and so as to permit such floor to be easily kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
  9. Every bathroom and water closet compartment shall have light and ventilation.

155.05     APPOINTMENT OF BUILDING INSPECTOR. The City Council hereby authorized the appointment of a Building Inspector.  Said inspector shall be an authorized representative of the City.  The inspector, who may be a qualified consultant or member of the staff of the City, shall be qualified to determine degree of standards of the dwelling in accordance with this Code of Ordinances and to determine what corrections are needed to bring structure up to minimum standards.

155.06     INSPECTION OF DWELLINGS.  The building inspector shall have the right to make an inspection and will, as a matter of policy, make an inspection when any of the following conditions exist:

  1. On any dwelling when funds for renovation or demolition of a building are provided through a program sponsored by the City.
  2. In all cases when there is reasonable evidence that hazardous conditions existing on the property represent a threat to surrounding properties and when a reasonable complaint has been filed by a resident of the City.
  3. When the City has found a property to be a public nuisance.
  4. When the property has been condemned by the State Fire Marshal; or where there has been substantial recent fire damage, an inspection may be required in order to determine what measures are necessary to bring the property back up to standard.
  5. When there is a change of occupancy in a structure and there is reasonable evidence, as determined by the Council, to suspect that the property does not meet minimum standards as provided for in this chapter or a previous tenant has filed a complaint with the City stating that minimum standards, as provided for in this chapter, are not being met within a specified dwelling and the inspection has not yet been accomplished.

155.07     REASONABLE DOUBT.  When reasonable doubt exists that a dwelling does not meet the minimum standards as set forth in this code, the Council may require an inspection of the property.

155.08     UNREASONABLE COMPLAINTS.  In the event that unreasonable or false complaints are filed and the Council deems said complaints as being of a harassing nature, the Council may levy a fine equal to the amount of the costs associated with the inspection, against the complaining resident.  In no case shall the said fine exceed $100.00 or the maximum fine set forth in the Code of Iowa.

155.09     NOTIFICATION AND POSTING.  It is the responsibility of an owner, or any authorized agent, to notify the City Clerk whenever there is a change of occupancy in a structure, either as a result of rental agreements or lease or sale of the property.  The City Council may require inspection of a building prior to the occupancy change if there is a reasonable question as to whether or not such building meets the standards provided for in this chapter.  If, after inspection of a structure, said structure is found to be in violation of the standards in this chapter, the structure shall be posted in a conspicuous place of the front exterior of the structure and the structure may not be reoccupied until the deficiencies have been corrected and the City notified of the corrections.

155.10     INSPECTION PROCEDURES.  The Council may order inspections as it deems necessary to carry out the intent of this chapter.  The inspector shall report the results of said inspection to the Council or authorized officials so that notice may be sent to correct the deficiencies that exist.  Said notification and posting of deficiencies shall be accomplished within 15 days of the inspection.

155.11     APPEALS.  Any person who is required by any section of this chapter to make repairs to said person’s property, or is restrained from sale or rental of the property because of the provisions of this chapter may appeal said findings within a 30-day period and the City Council shall provide a hearing within 30 days of receipt of the appeal to hear the said appeal.  Within 15 days after said hearing the City shall formally, in writing, make its findings known to the property owner.

155.12     ABATEMENT BY THE CITY.  If the person notified to abate a nuisance or condition neglects or fails to abate as directed, the City may perform the required action to abate, keeping an accurate account of the expense incurred.  The itemized expense account shall be filed with the Clerk who shall pay such expenses on the behalf of the City.

155.13     COLLECTION OF COSTS.  The Clerk shall send a statement of the total expense incurred by certified mail to the property owner who has failed to comply with the provisions of this chapter, and if the amount shown by the statement has not been paid within 30 days, the Clerk shall certify the costs to the County Treasurer and such costs shall then be collected with, and in the same manner, as general property taxes.

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CHAPTER 156

RAZING AND DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS

156.01 Purpose 156.06 Permit Required
156.02 Time Limit for Razing or Demolition 156.07 Plugging Sewers
156.03 Fencing or Covering Excavations 156.08 Penalty for Violation
156.04 Liability of Owner 156.09 Assessment of Costs against Property
156.05 Right of City to Enter in the Event of  
Noncompliance  

156.01     PURPOSE.  The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the regulation of the razing or demolition of buildings and structures within the corporate limits of the City, in furtherance of public safety and welfare and to promote and preserve the appearance of the City.

156.02     TIME LIMIT FOR RAZING OR DEMOLITION.  The razing or demolition of any building or structure within the City limits shall be completed within 90 days after such demolition or razing first commences.  Completion of razing or demolition shall include the removal of all debris resulting from such razing or demolition from the site where said building or structure was located.

156.03     FENCING OR COVERING EXCAVATIONS.  Before the demolition or razing of any building or structure has progressed to the point of six feet above ground level, the building or structure undergoing such demolition or razing and all debris on the property site shall be fenced and closed off to access by unauthorized persons, with a fence not less than four feet in height.  When such demolition and razing has reduced the building or structure to ground level, the resulting excavation consisting of a basement, cellar, or other underground excavation shall be promptly filled to ground level not less than 30 days after said building or structure has been lowered to ground level.

156.04     LIABILITY OF OWNER.  The responsibility for compliance with the above provisions of this chapter shall be that of the owner of said property as shown by the records of the County Auditor and any contract purchaser of said real estate.

156.05     RIGHT OF CITY TO ENTER IN THE EVENT OF NONCOMPLIANCE.  Authorized representatives of the City shall have the right to enter upon any premises where the razing or demolition of any building or structure is in progress for the purpose of constructing the fence as provided at Section 156.03 or for the purpose of providing fill for the excavation as provided in said section above where the owner of said property has failed to do so as required by this chapter.

156.06     PERMIT REQUIRED.  The owner or contract purchaser of any structure served by a sewer drain and sewer connections shall obtain a permit from the City Supervisor of Public Works before razing or demolishing such building or structure.  Permits and applications for permits shall be available at the office of the City Clerk and shall include the applicant’s written promise to comply with all provisions of this Code of Ordinances and to promptly seal, plug or cap the sewer drains and water service line.

156.07     PLUGGING SEWERS.  From and after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, all sewer drains, sewer connections, and water service lines serving any razed or demolished building or any building that has been destroyed by fire or other casualty shall be sealed, plugged, or capped by concrete or a mechanical watertight device where such sewer line exits from the building.  Any plugs, caps or seals applied under the provisions of this chapter shall be made between the sidewalk and the curb or such other point designated by the Supervisor of Public Works and shall remain exposed until they have been viewed and approved by the Supervisor of Public Works.  Failure to obtain a permit as herein required or failure to seal, plug or cap a sewer drain or water service line within 10 days after notice to do so by the Supervisor of Public Works or failure to allow such plug, cap or seal to remain exposed until inspected by the Supervisor of Public Works shall constitute a violation of this chapter.

156.08     PENALTY FOR VIOLATION.  Any owner who is convicted of violating the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished accordingly.

156.09     ASSESSMENT OF COSTS AGAINST PROPERTY.  When the City Council finds that a dangerous condition exists because of the commencement of the demolition or razing of any building or structure within the corporate limits and the City performs any of the actions required by Section 156.03 above, the costs thereof may be assessed against the property where notice by certified mail has been sent not less than 10 days in advance of the said action by the City to the owner or contract purchaser of said premises, all as provided by Chapter 364.12 of the Code of Iowa.

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CHAPTER 160

FLOOD PLAIN MANAGEMENT

160.01 Statutory Authority, Findings of Fact and Purpose 160.06   Administration
160.02 Definitions 160.07   Nonconforming Uses
160.03 General Provisions 160.08 Penalties for Violation
160.04   Establishment of Flood Plain (Overlay) District 160.09 Amendments
160.05 Standards for Flood Plain (Overlay) District  

160.01     STATUTORY AUTHORITY, FINDINGS OF FACT AND PURPOSE.

  1. The Legislature of the State of Iowa has in Chapter 414, Code of Iowa, as amended, delegated the power to cities to enact zoning regulations to secure safety from flood and to promote health and the general welfare.
  2. Findings of Fact.
  3. The flood hazard areas of the City of Belle Plaine are subject to periodic inundation which can result in loss of life and property, health and safety hazards, disruption of commerce and governmental services, extraordinary public expenditures for flood protection and relief, and impairment of the tax base all of which adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare of the community.
  4. These flood losses, hazards, and related adverse effects are caused by: (i) the occupancy of flood hazard areas by uses vulnerable to flood damages, which create hazardous conditions as a result of being inadequately elevated or otherwise protected from flooding; and (ii) the cumulative effect of obstructions on the flood plain causing increases in flood heights and velocities.
  5. Statement of Purpose. It is the purpose of this chapter to protect and preserve the rights, privileges and property of the City of Belle Plaine and its residents and to preserve and improve the peace, safety, health, welfare, and comfort and convenience of its residents by minimizing those flood losses described in Section 160.01(2)(A) of this chapter with provisions designed to:
  6. Restrict or prohibit uses that are dangerous to health, safety or property in times of flood or which cause excessive increases in flood heights or velocities.
  7. Require that uses vulnerable to floods, including public facilities that serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction or substantial improvement.
  8. Protect individuals from buying lands that may not be suited for intended purposes because of flood hazard.
  9. Assure that eligibility is maintained for property owners in the community to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

160.02     DEFINITIONS.  Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.

  1. “Base flood” means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. (See “100-year flood.”)
  2. “Basement” means any enclosed area of a building which has its floor or lowest level below ground level (subgrade) on all sides. (Also see “lowest floor.”)
  3. “Development” means any manmade change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to building or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, or drilling operations.
  4. “Existing construction” means any structure for which the “start of construction” commenced before the effective date of the first flood plain management regulations adopted by the community.
  5. “Existing factory-built home park or subdivision” means a factory-built home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the factory-built homes are to be affixed (including at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed before the effective date of the first flood plain management regulations adopted by the community.
  6. “Expansion of existing factory-built home park or subdivision” means the preparation of additional sites by the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the factory-built homes are to be affixed (including at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads).
  7. “Factory-built home” means any structure, designed for residential use which is wholly (or in substantial part) made, fabricated, formed, or assembled in manufacturing facilities for installation or assembly and installation, on a building site. For the purpose of this chapter, factory-built homes include mobile homes, manufactured homes, and modular homes and also include recreational vehicles that are placed on a site for greater than 180 consecutive days and not fully licensed for and ready for highway use.
  8. “Factory-built home park” means a parcel or contiguous parcels of land divided into two or more factory-built home lots for sale or lease.
  9. “Flood” means a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas resulting from the overflow of streams or rivers or from the unusual and rapid runoff of surface waters from any source.
  10. “Flood elevation” means the elevation floodwaters would reach at a particular site during the occurrence of a specific flood. For instance, the 100-year flood elevation is the elevation of flood waters related to the occurrence of the 100-year flood.
  11. “Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) means an official map of a community, issued by the Administrator, where the boundaries of the flood areas having special hazards have been designated Zone A.
  12. “Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)” means the official map prepared as part of (but published separately from) the Flood Insurance Study and which delineates both the flood hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
  13. “Flood plain” means any land area susceptible to being inundated by water as a result of a flood.
  14. “Flood plain management” means an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damages and promoting the wise use of flood plains, including but not limited to emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, flood proofing and flood plain management regulations.
  15. “Flood proofing” means any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes, or adjustments to structures, including utility and sanitary facilities, which will reduce or eliminate flood damage to such structures.
  16. “Floodway” means the channel of a river or stream and those portions of the flood plains adjoining the channel, which are reasonably required to carry and discharge flood waters or flood flows so that confinement of flood flows to the floodway area will not cumulatively increase the water surface elevation of the base flood by more than one foot.
  17. “Floodway fringe” means those portions of the flood plain, other than the floodway, which can be filled, leveed, or otherwise obstructed without causing substantially higher flood levels or flow velocities.
  18. “Historic structure” means any structure that is:
  19. Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places maintained by the Department of Interior or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing of the National Register;
  20. Certified or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as contributing to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined by the Secretary to qualify as a registered historic district;
  21. Individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or
  22. Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either: (i) by an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior; or (ii) directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.
  23. “Lowest floor” means the floor of the lowest enclosed area in a building including a basement except when all the following criteria are met:
  24. The enclosed area is designed to flood to equalize hydrostatic pressure during floods with walls or openings that satisfy the provisions of Section 160.05(4)(A) of this chapter; and
  25. The enclosed area is unfinished (not carpeted, dry-walled, etc.) and used solely for low damage potential uses such as building access, parking or storage; and
  26. Machinery and service facilities (e.g., hot water heater, furnace, electrical service) contained in the enclosed area are located at least one foot above the 100-year flood level; and
  27. The enclosed area is not a basement, as defined in this section.

In cases where the lowest enclosed area satisfies criteria A, B, C and D above, the lowest floor is the floor of the next highest enclosed area that does not satisfy the criteria above.

  1. “Minor projects” means small development activities (except for filling, grading and excavating) valued at less than $500.00.
  2. “New construction” (new buildings, factory-built home parks) means those structures or development for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of the first flood plain management regulations adopted by the community.
  3. “New factory-built home park or subdivision” means a factory-built home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the factory-built homes are to be affixed (including at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed on or after the effective date of first flood plain management regulations adopted by the community.
  4. “100-year flood” means a flood, the magnitude of which has a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year or which, on the average, will be equaled or exceeded at least once every 100 years.
  5. “Recreational vehicle” means a vehicle that is:
  6. Built on a single chassis;
  7. Four hundred (400) square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection;
  8. Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck; and
  9. Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as a temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.
  10. “Routine maintenance of existing buildings and facilities” means repairs necessary to keep a structure in a safe and habitable condition that do not trigger a building permit, provided they are not associated with a general improvement of the structure or repair of a damaged structure.  Such repairs include:
  11. Normal maintenance of structures such as re-roofing, replacing roofing tiles and replacing siding;
  12. Exterior and interior painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work;
  13. Basement sealing;
  14. Repairing or replacing damaged or broken window panes;
  15. Repairing plumbing systems, electrical systems, heating or air conditioning systems and repairing wells or septic systems.
  16. “Special flood hazard area” means the land within a community subject to the 100-year flood. This land is identified as Zone A on the community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map or Flood Hazard Boundary Map.
  17. “Start of construction” includes substantial improvement, and means the date the development permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement, or other improvement, was within 180 days of the permit date. The actual start means either the first placement or permanent construction of a structure on a site, such as pouring of a slab or footings, the installation of pile, the construction of columns, or any work beyond the stage of excavation; or the placement of a factory-built home on a foundation. Permanent construction does not include land preparation, such as clearing, grading and filling; nor does it include the installation of streets and/or walkways; nor does it include excavation for a basement, footings, piers, or foundations or the erection of temporary forms; nor does it include the installation on the property of accessory buildings such as garages or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not part of the main structure.  For a substantial improvement, the actual start of construction means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of the building, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.
  18. “Structure” means anything constructed or erected on the ground or attached to the ground, including, but not limited to, buildings, factories, sheds, cabins, factory-built homes, storage tanks, and other similar uses.
  19. “Substantial damage” means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damage condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
  20. “Substantial improvement” means any improvement to a structure which satisfies either of the following criteria:
  21. Any repair, reconstruction, or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure either: (i) before the start of construction of the improvement; or (ii) if the structure has been substantially damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred.  The term does not, however, include any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions.  The term also does not include any alteration of a historic structure, provided the alteration will not preclude the structure’s designation as a historic structure.
  22. Any addition which increases the original floor area of a building by 25 percent or more. All additions constructed after the first flood plain management regulations adopted by the community shall be added to any proposed addition in determining whether the total increase in original floor space would exceed 25 percent.
  23. “Variance” means a grant of relief by a community from the terms of the flood plain management regulations.
  24. “Violation” means the failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with the community’s flood plain management regulations.

160.03     GENERAL PROVISIONS.

  1. Lands to Which Chapter Applies. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all lands within the jurisdiction of the City of Belle Plaine which are located within the boundaries of the Flood Plain (Overlay) District as established in Section 160.04.
  2. Rules for Interpretation of Flood Plain (Overlay) District. The boundaries of the Flood Plain (Overlay) District areas shall be determined by scaling distances on the Official Flood Insurance Rate Map. When an interpretation is needed as to the exact location of a boundary, the Zoning Administrator shall make the necessary interpretation.  The Board of Adjustment shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged that there is an error in any requirement, decision, or determination made by the Zoning Administrator in the enforcement or administration of this chapter.
  3. No structure or land shall hereafter be used and no structure shall be located, extended, converted or structurally altered without full compliance with the terms of this chapter and other applicable regulations which apply to uses within the jurisdiction of this chapter.
  4. Abrogation and Greater Restrictions. It is not intended by this chapter to repeal, abrogate or impair any existing easements, covenants, or deed restrictions. However, where this chapter imposes greater restrictions, the provision of this chapter shall prevail.  All other ordinances inconsistent with this chapter are hereby repealed to the extent of the inconsistency only.
  5. In their interpretation and application, the provisions of this chapter shall be held to be minimum requirements and shall be liberally construed in favor of the governing body and shall not be deemed a limitation or repeal of any other powers granted by State statutes.
  6. Warning and Disclaimer of Liability. The standards required by this chapter are considered reasonable for regulatory purposes. This chapter does not imply that areas outside the designated Flood Plain (Overlay) District areas will be free from flooding or flood damages.  This chapter shall not create liability on the part of the City or any officer or employee thereof for any flood damages that from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.
  7. If any section, clause, provision or portion of this chapter is adjudged unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this chapter shall not be affected thereby.

160.04     ESTABLISHMENT OF FLOOD PLAIN (OVERLAY) DISTRICT.  The areas within the jurisdiction of the City having special flood hazards are hereby designated as a Flood Plain (Overlay) District and shall be subject to the standards of the Flood Plain (Overlay) District (as well as those for the underlying zoning district).  The Flood Plain (Overlay) District boundaries shall be as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for Benton County and Incorporated Areas, City of Belle Plaine, Panels 395, 425, and 525, dated June 3, 2008.

160.05     STANDARDS FOR FLOOD PLAIN (OVERLAY) DISTRICT.  All uses must be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage and meet the following applicable performance standards.  Where 100-year flood elevations and floodway data have not been provided on the Flood Insurance Rate Map, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shall be contacted to compute such data.  The applicant will be responsible for providing the Department of Natural Resources with sufficient technical information to make such determination.

  1. All Development. All development within the Flood Plain (Overlay) District shall:
  2. Be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
  3. Use construction methods and practices that will minimize flood damage.
  4. Use construction materials and utility equipment that are resistant to flood damage.
  5. Obtain all other necessary permits from federal, state and local governmental agencies including approval when required from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
  6. Residential Buildings. All new or substantially improved residential structures shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated a minimum of one foot above the 100-year flood level.  Construction shall be upon compacted fill which shall, at all points, be no lower than one foot above the 100-year flood level and extend at such elevation at least 18 feet beyond the limits of any structure erected thereon.  Alternate methods of elevating (such as piers) may be allowed subject to favorable consideration by the Board of Adjustment, where existing topography, street grades, or other factors preclude elevating by fill.  In such cases, the methods used must be adequate to support the structure as well as withstand the various forces and hazards associated with flooding.  All new residential structures shall be provided with a means of access which will be passable by wheeled vehicles during the 100-year flood.
  7. Nonresidential Buildings. All new or substantially improved non-residential buildings shall have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated a minimum of one foot above the 100-year flood level, or together with attendant utility and sanitary systems, be flood proofed to such a level.  When flood proofing is utilized, a professional engineer registered in the State of Iowa shall certify that the flood proofing methods used are adequate to withstand the flood depths, pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces and other factors associated with the 100-year flood; and that the structure, below the 100-year flood level is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water.  A record of the certification indicating the specific elevation (in relation to National Geodetic Vertical Datum) to which any structures are flood proofed shall be maintained by the Administrator.
  8. All New and Substantially Improved Structures.
  9. Fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor (not including basements) which are subject to flooding shall be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwaters. Designs for meeting this requirement must either be certified by a registered professional engineer or meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:

(1)        A minimum of two openings having a total net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding shall be provided.

(2)        The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade.

(3)        Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, valves, or other coverings or devices provided they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.

Such areas shall be used solely for parking of vehicles, building access and low damage potential storage.

  1. New and substantially improved structures must be designed (or modified) and adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral movement of the structure resulting from hydrodynamic and hydrostatic loads, including the effects of buoyancy.
  2. New and substantially improved structures must be constructed with electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air conditioning equipment and other service facilities that are designed and/or located so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding.
  3. Factory-Built Homes.
  4. All factory-built homes, including those placed in existing factory-built home parks or subdivisions shall be elevated on a permanent foundation such that the lowest floor of the structure is a minimum of one foot above the 100-year flood level.
  5. All factory-built homes, including those placed in existing factory-built home parks or subdivisions, shall be anchored to resist flotation, collapse, or lateral movement. Methods of anchoring may include, but are not limited to, use of over-the-top or frame ties to ground anchors.
  6. Utility and Sanitary Systems.
  7. On-site waste disposal and water supply systems shall be located or designed to avoid impairment to the system or contamination from the system during flooding.
  8. All new and replacement sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the system as well as the discharge of effluent into flood waters. Wastewater treatment facilities (other than on-site systems) shall be provided with a level of flood protection equal to or greater than one foot above the 100-year flood elevation.
  9. New or replacement water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the system. Water supply treatment facilities (other than on-site systems) shall be provided with a level of protection equal to or greater than one foot above the 100-year flood elevation.
  10. Utilities such as gas or electrical systems shall be located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage to the system and the risk associated with such flood damaged or impaired systems.
  11. Storage of Flammable Materials. Storage of equipment and materials that are flammable, explosive or injurious to human, animal or plant life is prohibited unless elevated a minimum of one foot above the 100-year flood level.  Other material and equipment must either be similarly elevated or:  (i) not subject to major flood damage and anchored to prevent movement due to floodwaters; or (ii) readily removable from the area within the time available after flood warning.
  12. Flood Control Structures. Flood control structural works such as levees, flood walls, etc. shall provide, at a minimum, protection from a 100-year flood with a minimum of three feet of design freeboard and shall provide for adequate interior drainage.  In addition, structural flood control works shall be approved by the Department of Natural Resources.
  13. Watercourse alterations or relocations must be designed to maintain the flood carrying capacity within the altered or relocated portion.  In addition, such alterations or relocations must be approved by the Department of Natural Resources.
  14. Subdivisions (including factory-built home parks and subdivisions) shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damages and shall have adequate drainage provided to reduce exposure to flood damage.  Development associated with subdivision proposals (including the installation of public utilities) shall meet the applicable performance standards of this chapter.  Subdivision proposals intended for residential use shall provide all lots with a means of access which will be passable by wheeled vehicles during the 100-year flood.  Proposals for subdivisions greater than five acres or 50 lots (whichever is less) shall include 100-year flood elevation data for those areas located within the Flood Plain (Overlay) District.
  15. Accessory Structures.
  16. Detached garages, sheds, and similar structures accessory to a residential use are exempt from the 100-year flood elevation requirements where the following criteria are satisfied.

(1)        The structure shall not be used for human habitation.

(2)        The structure shall be designed to have low flood damage potential.

(3)        The structure shall be constructed and placed on the building site so as to offer minimum resistance to the flow of floodwaters.

(4)        The structure shall be firmly anchored to prevent flotation which may result in damage to other structures.

(5)        The structure’s service facilities such as electrical and heating equipment shall be elevated or flood proofed to at least one foot above the 100-year flood level.

  1. Exemption from the 100-year flood elevation requirements for such a structure may result in increased premium rates for flood insurance coverage of the structure and its contents.
  2. Recreational Vehicles.
  3. Recreational vehicles are exempt from the requirements of subsection 5 of this section regarding anchoring and elevation of factory-built homes when the following criteria are satisfied.

(1)        The recreational vehicle shall be located on the site for less than 180 consecutive days, and,

(2)        The recreational vehicle must be fully licensed and ready for highway use.  A recreational vehicle is ready for highway use if it is on its wheels or jacking system and is attached to the site only by quick disconnect type utilities and security devices and has no permanently attached additions.

  1. Recreational vehicles that are located on the site for more than 180 consecutive days or are not ready for highway use must satisfy requirements of subsection 5 of this section regarding anchoring and elevation of factory-built homes.
  2. Pipeline Crossings. Pipeline river and stream crossings shall be buried in the streambed and banks, or otherwise sufficiently protected to prevent rupture due to channel degradation and meandering.

160.06     ADMINISTRATION.

  1. Appointment, Duties and Responsibilities of Administrator.
  2. The Zoning Administrator is hereby appointed to implement and administer the provisions of this chapter and will herein be referred to as the Administrator.
  3. Duties of the Administrator shall include, but not necessarily be limited to the following:

(1)        Review all flood plain development permit applications to assure that the provisions of this chapter will be satisfied.

(2)        Review flood plain development applications to assure that all necessary permits have been obtained from federal, state and local governmental agencies including approval when required from the Department of Natural Resources for flood plain construction.

(3)        Record and maintain a record of the elevation (in relation to National Geodetic Vertical Datum) of the lowest floor (including basement) of all new or substantially improved structures in the Flood Plain (Overlay) District.

(4)        Record and maintain a record of the elevation (in relation to National Geodetic Vertical Datum) to which all new or substantially improved structures have been flood proofed.

(5)        Notify adjacent communities/counties and the Department of Natural Resources prior to any proposed alteration or relocation of a watercourse and submit evidence of such notifications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

(6)        Keep a record of all permits, appeals and such other transactions and correspondence pertaining to the administration of this chapter.

  1. Flood Plain Development Permit.
  2. Permit Required. A Flood Plain Development Permit issued by the Administrator shall be secured prior to any flood plain development (any man-made change to improved and unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations), including the placement of factory-built homes.
  3. Application for Permit. Application shall be made on forms furnished by the Administrator and shall include the following:

(1)        Description of the work to be covered by the permit for which application is to be made.

(2)        Description of the land on which the proposed work is to be done (i.e., lot, block, track, street address or similar description) that will readily identify and locate the work to be done.

(3)        Indication of the use or occupancy for which the proposed work is intended.

(4)        Elevation of the 100-year flood.

(5)        Elevation (in relation to National Geodetic Vertical Datum 1988) of the lowest floor (including basement) of buildings or of the level to which a building is to be flood proofed.

(6)        For buildings being improved or rebuilt, the estimated cost of improvements and market value of the building prior to the improvements.

(7)        Such other information as the Administrator deems reasonably necessary (e.g., drawings or a site plan) for the purpose of this chapter.

  1. Action on Permit Application. The Administrator shall, within a reasonable time, make a determination as to whether the proposed flood plain development meets the applicable standards of this chapter and shall approve or disapprove the application.  For disapprovals, the applicant shall be informed, in writing, of the specific reasons therefore.  The Administrator shall not issue permits for variances except as directed by the City Board of Adjustment.
  2. Construction and Use to be as Provided in Application and Plans. Flood Plain Development Permits based on the basis of approved plans and applications authorize only the use, arrangement, and construction set forth in such approved plans and applications and no other use, arrangement or construction.  Any use, arrangement, or construction at variance with that authorized shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.  The applicant shall be required to submit certification by a professional engineer or land surveyor, as appropriate, registered in the State of Iowa, that the finished fill, building floor elevations, flood proofing, or other flood protection measures were accomplished in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, prior to the use or occupancy of any structure.
  3. The City Board of Adjustment may authorize upon request in specific cases such variances from the terms of this chapter that will not be contrary to the public interest where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this chapter will result in unnecessary hardship. Variances granted must meet the following applicable standards.

(1)        Variances shall only be granted upon:  (a) a showing of good and sufficient cause; (b) a determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant; and (c) a determination that the granting of the variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public or conflict with existing local codes or ordinances.

(2)        Variances shall only be granted upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.

(3)        In cases where the variance involves a lower level of flood protection for buildings than what is ordinarily required by this chapter, the applicant shall be notified in writing over the signature of the Administrator that:  (i) the issuance of a variance will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance up to amounts as high as $25.00 for $100.00 of insurance coverage; and (ii) such construction increases risks to life and property.

  1. Factors Upon Which the Decision of the Board of Adjustment Shall Be Based. In passing upon applications for variances, the Board shall consider all relevant factors specified in other sections of this chapter and:

(1)        The danger to life and property due to increased flood heights or velocities caused by encroachments.

(2)        The danger that materials may be swept on to other land or downstream to the injury of others.

(3)        The proposed water supply and sanitation systems and the ability of these systems to prevent disease, contamination and unsanitary conditions.

(4)        The susceptibility of the proposed facility and its contents to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the individual owner.

(5)        The importance of the services provided by the proposed facility to the City.

(6)        The requirements of the facility for a flood plain location.

(7)        The availability of alternative locations not subject to flooding for the proposed use.

(8)        The compatibility of the proposed use with existing development and development anticipated in the foreseeable future.

(9)        The relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and flood plain management program for the area.

(10)      The safety of access to the property in times of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles.

(11)      The expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise and sediment transport of the flood water expected at the site.

(12)      The cost of providing governmental services during and after flood conditions, including maintenance and repair of public utilities (sewer, gas, electrical and water systems), facilities, streets and bridges.

(13)      Such other factors which are relevant to the purpose of this chapter.

  1. Conditions Attached to Variances. Upon consideration of the factors listed above, the Board of Adjustment may attach such conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purpose of this chapter.  Such conditions may include, but not necessarily be limited to:

(1)        Modification of waste disposal and water supply facilities.

(2)        Limitation of periods of use and operation.

(3)        Imposition of operational controls, sureties, and deed restrictions.

(4)        Requirements for construction of channel modifications, dikes, levees and other protective measures, provided such are approved by the Department of Natural Resources and are deemed the only practical alternative to achieving the purpose of this chapter.

(5)        Flood proofing measures.

160.07     NONCONFORMING USES.

  1. A structure or the use of a structure or premises which was lawful before the passage or amendment of this chapter, but which is not in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, may be continued subject to the following conditions:
  2. If such use is discontinued for six consecutive months, any future use of the building premises shall conform to this chapter.
  3. Uses or adjuncts thereof that are or become nuisances shall not be entitled to continue as nonconforming uses.
  4. If any nonconforming use or structure is destroyed by any means, including flood, it shall not be reconstructed if the cost is more than 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred, unless it is reconstructed in conformity with the provisions of this chapter. This limitation does not include the cost of any alteration to comply with existing state or local health, sanitary, building or safety codes or regulations or the cost of any alteration of a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places, provided that the alteration shall not preclude its continued designation.

160.08     PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS.  Violations of the provisions of this chapter or failure to comply with any of the requirements shall constitute a misdemeanor.  Any person who violates this chapter or fails to comply with any of its requirements shall upon conviction thereof be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days.  Nothing herein contained prevents the City from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy violation.

160.09     AMENDMENTS.  The regulations and standards set forth in this chapter may from time to time be amended, supplemented, changed, or repealed.  No amendment, supplement, change, or modification shall be undertaken without prior approval of the Department of Natural Resources.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Suggested forms of notice and of a resolution and order of the Council for the administration of this chapter are provided in the APPENDIX to this Code of Ordinances.  Caution is urged in the use of this procedure.  We recommend you review the situation with your attorney before initiating procedures and follow his or her recommendation carefully.

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