Board of Supervisors approves pair of ordinance agenda items, tables plat request based on need to study applicable case law

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, May 23 to address a full agenda of matters including the consideration of the Third Reading of the RAGBRAI Ordinance LXII, consideration of two Secondary Road Department hires and consideration of adopting Amendment #9 to Zoning Ordinance L.

During Public Comment, Executive Director Val Reinke of Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) advised that The Standard newspaper has completed the Tri-State Area Community & Visitors’ Guide, a tourism guide being made available at locations in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, with Reinke adding that she will have this tourism guide available at the Iowa State Fair this summer. Reinke also briefly mentioned that Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker has a Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) tabletop exercise scheduled covering weather-related emergency planning.

Reinke further noted that a Zoom web-conferencing meeting is scheduled for later this week for RAGBRAI Executive Committee members relating to planning for this year’s event. Taste of Lansing, which is taking place Thursday, May 26 starting at 4:30 p.m., was discussed by Reinke, noting a small passport fee allowing participants to sample a variety of food items at participating businesses (see advertisement below for additional information).

Reinke also discussed the grand opening of the Allamakee County Veterans Museum in Waukon to take place at 10 a.m. this Saturday, May 28 with Memorial Day Weekend hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 12-4 p.m. hours Memorial Day, Monday, May 30. Reinke also noted the Shooky Fink Tournament hosted by the Kee High School baseball team is taking place this Saturday, May 28 in New Albin.

The meeting moved into the Third Reading of RAGBRAI Ordinance LXII regarding vendor permitting and fees during the late July event, with Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer advising that no additional comments have been received. Board of Supervisors Chairperson Larry Schellhammer and Supervisors Mark Reiser and Dan Byrnes approved the Third Reading of RAGBRAI Ordinance LXII as presented with the Ordinance being approved for adoption with a separate vote.

Beyer also addressed the next matter relating to the consideration of using the County credit card for the purchase of election supply containers. Beyer advised that tote containers will be needed to transport various office supplies for the upcoming Primary Election. The Supervisors approved the use of the County credit card for this purchase of supply containers.

The liquor license renewal for Empty Nest Winery was reviewed and approved.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of the Third Reading of Amendment #9 to Zoning Ordinance L to change the zoning district boundaries and change the zoning district of the Official Zoning Map of Allamakee County for Commencing at the North ¼ Corner of Section 32, Township 99 North, Range 4 West of the 5th P.M.; thence S 01°-11’-40” E, 1321.27 feet to the northwest corner of the SW1/4-NE1/4 of said Section 32 which is the Point of Beginning; thence S 01°-07’-10” E, 245.80 feet along the west line of said SW1/4-NE1/4; thence N 56°-49’-44” E, 144.61 feet; thence N 37°-03’-41” W, 208.81 feet to the Point of Beginning. Said described parcel of land contains 0.35 acres, more or less. Bearings are based on the Iowa State Plane Coordinate System North Zone (1401) Horizontal NAD 83 (2011) from C -1, Commercial to A-1, Agricultural. The Third Reading of Amendment #9 to Zoning Ordinance L was approved with adoption of the matter being approved by a separate vote.

Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Stephanie Runkle provided an overview of plat requests including those made by Sam Schwartz, Michael and Kelly J. Schwarck, and the Stortz Farm Partnership. Following review, these three requests were approved by the Supervisors.

Runkle also provided information relating to the Richard Bennett Trust Plat request pertaining to a location within the French Creek Agriculture Area, and an associated agenda item relating to the discussion and consideration of an agricultural area withdrawal. Reiser provided a recommendation to table the Richard Bennett Trust Plat request, with Allamakee County Attorney Anthony Gericke in agreement that additional time to research case law relating to the agricultural agreement and withdrawal request would be beneficial to the matter.

As part of this discussion, Iowa Code Chapter 352 relating to County Land Preservation and Use Commissions was discussed by Gericke in relation to the agriculture area withdrawal request, which he indicated would likely be allowed after three years with board approval or after six years by written request.

Gericke questioned how these time frames apply to the original owner and the subsequent buyer with further case law research necessary before providing his recommendation. The Bennett Trust Plat was tabled until the Tuesday, May 31 Supervisors meeting.
Allamakee County Environmental Health Director Laurie Moody provided additional background on the agricultural area matter, advising that the establishment of this area was brought about to aid in agricultural preservation, protecting farmers and farming practices and the prevention of nuisance matters in the event of sub-division growth.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour addressed the next matter relating to the consideration of hiring for two job openings in the Secondary Roads Department. Ridenour provided a recommendation to hire Owen Malone for the temporary part-time scale position starting May 24 at $13.42 per hour with no benefits. The Supervisors approved the hiring of Malone. Ridenour also provided a recommendation to hire Brett Cota starting June 6 for the full-time Maintenance II position out of the Waukon shop at $21.04 per hour. The Supervisors approved the hiring of Cota.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed ongoing work being performed relating to culvert and bridge projects, rock hauling, among other projects. He noted that a part-time roadside mower has started and that a Secondary Roads position out of the Waterville shop is being advertised.

Prior to adjournment, Beyer discussed preparations for the Tuesday, June 7 Primary Election with Monday, May 23 being the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail with in-person absentee voting taking place until Monday, June 6. Beyer noted that the Allamakee County Courthouse will be closed Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day with the next Supervisors meeting to take place Tuesday, May 31 as result of that holiday observance.