Planning & Zoning Rejects Chicken Ordinance Amendment

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Planning and Zoning Commission met this week,  and took up a couple of unusual agenda items.

In recent weeks, multiple citizens have approached the Sheldon City Council seeking permission to keep chickens in the city limits. City Manager Sam Kooiker had told the council that he thought those requests should be handled by the City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, which would require an amendment to the Sheldon City Ordinance, something that needed approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Kooiker says that amendment was taken up at this week’s P&Z meeting.

(As above) “On the P&Z agenda was an ordinance amendment to allow small animal raising, such as 4H, as a special exception use, meaning you’d have to go to the Board of Adjustment and get a permit from them. The Planning and Zoning Commission turned down that amendment. They decided that they did not want to expand livestock in city limits. In fact, they asked for me to bring forward an ordinance amendment back to them at a future meeting to constrict it even further.”

In other action, Kooiker says the Planning and Zoning Commission took up an issue that, until recently, everyone THOUGHT had been taken care of more than a quarter century ago.

(As above) “In 1994 Ag Partners had requested a vacate of a portion of the old 11th Street right-of-way near Western Avenue and part of Railroad Avenue. Everyone, including the City, thought that it had been properly vacated, but it turns out there was an issue with the legal descriptions. So, for the past 26 years, part of that previously-thought-to-be-vacated right-of-way  actually HADN’T been vacated and it has become an issue for Ag Partners as they try to sell that portion of the property.”

Since the vacate of the property still needs to be done, Kooiker says he asked P&Z to expand on that vacate request.

(As above) “The City Planning Commission is required to consider a vacate request. And then I asked, as long as we’re considering that, which made a lot of sense to do, let’s also consider vacating the rest of that right-of-way between Western Avenue and Ag Partners…the old West 11th Street right-of-way…which currently has a junkyard on it. My agenda was, I just simply want to see the junkyard cleaned up. It doesn’t matter so much to me if we keep the right-of-way or vacate it. It makes sense to get rid of it because it’s a dead-end right-of-way. And that strategy appears to be working because the cleanup…after years of a big mess there, the cleanup has already started, and there are three people interested in buying the right-of-way because it’s 70 feet wide and approximately 350 feet long.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission opted to proceed with both vacate requests, and send them to the City Council for Public Hearing. Kooiker says the council will set the date and time for the hearings at their meeting this coming Wednesday.



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