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County’s Unified Development Ordinance passes second vote

Third and final vote set for 9 a.m. Dec. 19

IOWA CITY– Johnson County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) moved one vote closer to adoption on Thursday, Dec. 12, as the board of supervisors held the second of three considerations (votes) on the controversial measure during a regular meeting.
As with the first vote on Dec. 5, supervisors Rod Sullivan, Royce Ann Porter and Pat Heiden voted in the affirmative with supervisors Janelle Rettig and Lisa Green-Douglass in the negative for a 3-2 final tally.
The ordinance, which repeals and replaces the current UDO (also known as Chapter 8, Property and Land Use, in the Johnson County Code of Ordinances), met resistance throughout its development from the agricultural community which argued various provisions in the document were an illegal attempt at regulating agriculture in direct conflict with state code.
The Johnson County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) submitted 16 recommended changes to the 299-page document, that have been incorporated into the final draft, which the supervisors approved thus far.
The third and final vote occurs on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 9 a.m. If approved, the UDO will go into effect on Jan. 15.
Johnson County’s legislative delegation was asked a number of questions about their thoughts regarding the UDO and the potential for legal action and/or legislative corrective actions, as has been seen in the past with the county’s efforts to impose their own minimum wage. Representative Dave Jacoby, a Democrat in Iowa House District 74 (stretching from the Coralville Reservoir through Penn Twp., the City of Coralville, and western Iowa City to Highway 1), responded by saying it was, “A contentious discussion with a number of variables, but it comes down to one simple concept. Home rule/local control. And also listening to neighbors’ concerns.”