Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 21, 2014

Zoning bites the dust in Washington County

By LINDA WENGER | Sep 05, 2013

WASHINGTON, Iowa (GTNS) – Eight months after taking the oath of office, three newly elected Washington County supervisors fulfilled a campaign promise to rescind the county’s zoning ordinance.

There was no fanfare — no confetti or balloons drifting down from the ceiling and no sounds of corks popping Tuesday when the third reading of the Washington County Ordinance to rescind zoning was approved on a 3-to-1 roll call vote.

Supervisors Stan Stoops, Jack Seward Jr. and Bob Yoder voted yes on the ordinance, with supervisor and board chairman Steve Davis voting no.

In January 2008, the board of supervisors approved a comprehensive plan that recommended implementing county zoning. Writing the zoning ordinance ended early in 2010 and the ordinance went into effect on July 1, 2010.

Three of five seats on the board of supervisors were open in 2012. Two incumbent supervisors were defeated in the 2012 primary election. One of the incumbents chose not to run for re-election. Stoops, Seward and Yoder were elected to office in the November 2012 general election. The steps to rescinding zoning started after they were sworn into office in January.

The supervisors worked on a second ordinance — the proposed floodplain management ordinance. They held a public hearing and the first of three readings of the ordinance.

The first reading was approved and the ordinance goes on to the second reading at the next supervisors’ meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

In other news, Kalona city administrator Ryan Schlabaugh spoke to the supervisors about the fate of the Bunker Mill Bridge that was damaged heavily by fire. He asked the supervisors for time for people interested in saving the remnants of the bridge. A meeting to find out how much support the residents of Kalona are willing to give to the bridge will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Kalona Chamber of Commerce. He said the bridge also will be brought up at the Kalona City Council meeting.

Schlabaugh offered to attend the Sept. 17 board of supervisors meeting to inform the board of the efforts to save the bridge.

Washington County engineer Jacob Thorius said his department is moving forward with plans to remove the bridge because it represents a liability to the county. Quotes on removal are due Tuesday.

“I’d rather save the bridge,” Thorius said.

He said since the bridge is not used for vehicular traffic, no Secondary Roads funding will be spent on it. He also said his department is going to make it harder for people to get on the bridge this week.

The supervisors did not take formal action, but informally they agreed to wait to see how much support can be raised for the bridge.

The supervisors tabled action on a fireworks permit request from Chuck Rogness due to the lack of rain. The fireworks event is Sept. 21, with a rain date of Sept. 28.

Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said there is no burn ban in the county yet. He also said fire chiefs and the board of supervisors have the authority to issue a burn ban should one be necessary.

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