Development Regulations

Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)

2018 Comprehensive Plan & Village Plans
 

Other Important Information

Fee Schedule for Development Applications

Fringe Area Agreements

Sensitive Areas Regulations - Including information on Sensitive Areas Assessements, submittal guidelines, checklists, and waivers.

Stormwater Management Regulations - Including information on Stormwater Management Plan submittal guidelines, checklists, and waivers.

Erosion and Sediment Control and Grading Regulations - Including information on Erosion and Sediment Control Plans, Grading Permits, submittal guidelines, and checklists.
 

Common Applications

Agricultural Exemption Application

Description: Individuals who can demonstrate that they will be actively engaged in the agriculture on a property may apply to construct a new or replacement dwelling.

Important considerations: With the exception of retired farmers, should the use of the land or buildings change, or are discovered to not qualify under the exemption, such use shall be subject to the zoning and building regulations of the County.

Exemption does not extend to well and septic requirement, driveway or work in the right of way requirements, or floodplain management requirements. Exempt structures must still comply with these regulations as well as any state regulations including inspection requirements.

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $0

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: Maximum 30 days

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Conditional Use Permit

Description: Certain uses listed as “conditional uses” under a zoning district may only be established if permitted by the Board of Adjustment. A Conditional Use Permit provides flexibility to zoning and is subject to meeting certain supplemental conditions of the Unified Development Ordinance. Additional conditions of approval may be included by the Board to further minimize any possible negative impacts of the use on surrounding properties.

Important considerations: In addition to any conditions attached by the Board of Adjustment, in accordance with subsection 8:1.23 of the Unified Development Ordinance, some conditional uses require compliance with other baseline conditions which may include compliance with Sensitive Areas and Stormwater Management requirements. The applicant will also need to file a parallel application with the Johnson County Health Department at the same time as filing the Conditional Use Permit with PDS (Johnson County Public Health Zoning Application is available here).

Deciding body: Board of Adjustment

Application fee: $250

Filing deadline: Third Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 35 days (longer if within 2 miles of an incorporated city)

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements
Rezoning Application (Map Amendment)

Description: A request to permanently change the zoning designation of a property its allowed primary, accessory, and conditional uses.

Important considerations: Rezoning a property is a permanent change to the classification of that property, and all uses allowed - and the potential impacts thereof - in the proposed District are considered during the review process. The County utilizes a portfolio of land use plans to inform the review and recommendations for rezoning requests. The applicant will also need to file a parallel application with the Johnson County Health Department at the same time as filing the rezoning request with PDS (Johnson County Public Health Zoning Application is available here).

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors, following recommendation by the Planning & Zoning Commission

Application fee:

  • $300 for rezoning to A, AG-T, SF, ERP, or P
  • $400 + $40/acre for rezoning to RS, RM, RR, C, CH, C-AG, ML, MH, or SWDRR
    • Where a rezoning request proposes one designation from each of the above categories on a single lot, only the fee for the residential, commercial, or industrial rezoning shall apply

Filing deadline: Second Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 70-77 days (possibly longer if within 2 miles of an incorporated city))

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Site Plan Review

Description: An engineered Site Plan is required prior to issuance of building permits for property zoned RR, C, CH, AG-T, C-AG, ML, MH, and SWDRR, and also for some conditionally permitted uses. Site Plans help ensure that infrastructure will be in place to support the proposed use.

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors (or Zoning Administrator for certain Conditional Use Permits or amendments to existing plans)

Application fee: $250

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections have been submitted and necessary legal agreements (if any) have been approved by County Attorney and PDS staff

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements
Special Exception/Variance Application

Description: If there is a practical difficulty (for Special Exceptions) or unnecessary hardship (for Variances) presented by requiring structures on a specific lot to comply with the bulk standards (i.e. setbacks or structure height) for a given zoning district, this application is used to request a reduction in setbacks or extension in allowed height for a specific property. Applications will be evaluated on the criteria listed in subsection 8.1.28(E)(2) of the Unified Development Ordinance for Special Exceptions and subsection 8.1.28(D)(2) for Variances.

Important considerations: Practical difficulty and unnecessary hardships do not include financial burden. In order for a request to be considered, there must be a building permit on file with PDS for the project necessitating the reduced standard. Although not required, it is recommended that a licensed land surveyor locate the property’s lot pins and can verify that the requested setback distances are accurate.  

Deciding body: Zoning Board of Adjustment

Application fee: $175

Filing deadline: Third Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 35 days

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements
Subdivision Application (Preliminary Plat only)

Description: Used to divide or combine lots. A stand-alone preliminary plat is required where a development proposes any development-wide infrastructure (e.g. private roads, stormwater management facilities, wells shared between more than 2 lots, or septic systems shared between more than 2 lots). Plats must be prepared by a licensed land surveyor in the State of Iowa.

Important considerations: Sensitive Areas and Stormwater Management regulations must be addressed, either through an approved waiver or a full report. The applicant will also need to file a parallel application with the Johnson County Health Department at the same time as filing the subdivision with PDS (Johnson County Public Health Zoning Application is available here).

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors, following recommendation by the Planning & Zoning Commission

Application fee: $500 + $40/buildable lot + $20/outlot

Filing deadline: Second Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 2 months (56-63 days), (possibly longer if within 2 miles of an incorporated city)

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Subdivision Application (Combined Preliminary and Final Plat)

Description: Used to divide or combine lots. A combined plat may be submitted for subdivisions with fewer than 5 total lots (both buildable lots and outlots included), for which there is no development-wide infrastructure proposed or required (examples of infrastructure include private roads, stormwater management facilities, wells shared between more than 2 lots, or septic systems shared between more than 2 lots). Plats must be prepared by a licensed land surveyor in the State of Iowa.

Important considerations: Sensitive Areas and Stormwater Management regulations must be addressed, either through an approved waiver or a full report. The applicant will also need to file a parallel application with the Johnson County Health Department at the same time as filing the subdivision with PDS (Johnson County Public Health Zoning Application is available here)

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors, following recommendation by the Planning & Zoning Commission

Application fee: $500 + $40/buildable lot + $20/outlot

Filing deadline: Second Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 2 months (56-63 days), (possibly longer if within 2 miles of an incorporated city)

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Note: Estimated Timelines generally refers to the minimum time between the submission deadline for the application (where applicable) and the final consideration by the deciding body. Timelines may be longer for individual projects based on the review and corrections process. Timelines are also typically longer by 30-45 days for applications within 2 miles of an incorporated city.

All Applications

Agricultural Exemption Application

Description: Individuals who can demonstrate that they will be actively engaged in the agriculture on a property may apply to construct a new or replacement dwelling.

Important considerations: With the exception of retired farmers, should the use of the land or buildings change, or are discovered to not qualify under the exemption, such use shall be subject to the zoning and building regulations of the County.

Exemption does not extend to well and septic requirement, driveway or work in the right of way requirements, or floodplain management requirements. Exempt structures must still comply with these regulations as well as any state regulations including inspection requirements.

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $0

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: Maximum 30 days

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA)

Description: A transfer of a small portion of platted land from one adjacent parcel to another.

Important considerations: A boundary line adjustment cannot exceed one net (1) acre moving between 2 parcels. The zoning classification of the sending and receiving parcels must be the same. The application requires not only a plat of survey prepared by a licensed land surveyor, but also transfer deeds for both the sending and receiving parcels. Please see the requirements in Section 8:2.5.E.3 of the Unified Development Ordinance for more details.

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $100

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections and/or additional requested information has been submitted.

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Conditional Use Permit

Description: Certain uses listed as “conditional uses” under a zoning district may only be established if permitted by the Board of Adjustment. A Conditional Use Permit provides flexibility to zoning and is subject to meeting certain supplemental conditions of the Unified Development Ordinance. Additional conditions of approval may be included by the Board to further minimize any possible negative impacts of the use on surrounding properties.

Important considerations: In addition to any conditions attached by the Board of Adjustment, in accordance with subsection 8:1.23 of the Unified Development Ordinance, some conditional uses require compliance with other baseline conditions which may include compliance with Sensitive Areas and Stormwater Management requirements. The applicant will also need to file a parallel application with the Johnson County Health Department at the same time as filing the Conditional Use Permit with PDS (Johnson County Public Health Zoning Application is available here).

Deciding body: Board of Adjustment

Application fee: $250

Filing deadline: Third Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 35 days (longer if within 2 miles of an incorporated city)

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements
Erosion and Sediment Control Permit

Description: A permit for erosion and sediment control during the construction phase of certain projects. An Erosion and Sediment Control plan is required as part of the building permit application for certain building permit application types.  An Erosion and Sediment Control permit gets issued concurrently with the affiliated building permit.  There is no separate fee for the Erosion and Sediment Control permit for building permit applications. 

Important considerations: Expires 24 months after approval by the Zoning Administrator. Erosion and Sediment Control permits are only required for certain application types. For more detailed information, please see the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan page here

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections and/or additional requested information has been submitted.

An Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is also required for approval of site plans, grading permits, demolition permits, and some Conditional Use Permits. Also required, but can be deferred, for subdivision plats.

Floodplain Development Permit

Please see the Floodplain Development page here for specific information related to floodplain development, including a link to download the Floodplain Development Permit application form.

Floodplain Variance

Description: The Board of Adjustment may authorize variances from the requirements of the floodplain ordinance where, owing to special conditions in a specific case, a literal enforcement of the provisions will result in an exceptional unnecessary hardship. Applications will be evaluated on the criteria listed in subsection 8:4.11 of the Unified Development Ordinance.

Important considerations: Unnecessary hardships do not include financial burden. Variances from floodplain regulations carry a burden of proof above and beyond regular setback variances. Any floodplain variance approved by the Board of Adjustment is also subject to concurrence by the Iowa DNR.

Deciding body: Board of Adjustment

Application fee: $750

Filing deadline: Third Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 35 days

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Future Land Use Map (FLUM) Amendment

Description: A request to change the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) designation of a specific property in the Johnson County 2018 Comprehensive Plan. A request to update the FLUM, if approved, does not change the zoning designation or allowed uses of a given parcel or area. FLUM Amendments are evaluated with the criteria listed in the Comprehensive Plan.

Important considerations: FLUM Amendments are considered only once a year, and applications are restricted to a specific application window in addition to a formal application deadline. Requests that are located within the extraterritorial review area (typically 2 miles) of a city are sent to the respective city for review and comment which may result in additional review time needed for the application.

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors, following recommendation by Planning and Zoning Commission

Application fee: $750

Filing deadline: Between June 1 and June 30.

Estimated timeline: 3-4 months

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Grading Permit

Description: A grading permit allows grading and other site impacts on a development site prior to approval of the development application (e.g. subdivision plat or Site Plan). The applicant agrees to follow all applicable County, State, and Federal laws related to Erosion and Sediment Control.

Important considerations: Expires 24 months after approval by the Zoning Administrator. For properties where no development application has been approved, an approved grading permit is required before proceeding with any ground disturbance activities that exceed one quarter (1/4) acre.

For more detailed information, please see the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan page here

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $500

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections and/or additional requested information has been submitted.

Click Here for Permit Application Form and Submission Requirements

Home Business / Home Industry

Home Businesses and Home Industries are allowed as a conditional use in certain districts. Please refer to the Conditional Use Permit section above to apply to host multiple special events.

Home Occupation

Description: Home Occupations are businesses can be authorized where the applicant and all employees reside on the parcel. Home occupations where members of the public do not visit the site are allowed by right in most zoning districts and are not subject to permitting. Home occupations where members of the public visit the site need to approval from the Zoning Administrator prior to beginning operation.

Important considerations: Home occupations must follow the requirements outlined in chapter 8.1.23 of the Unified Development Ordinance, including compliance with Johnson County Public Health requirements. Most notable of these requirements are the intensity limits on employees and customer visits. Home occupations with will exceed these intensity limits must seek permitting as a home business or home industry (see section above).

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $100

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections and/or additional requested information has been submitted.

Click here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Limited Slaughter Facility

Description: Administrator-approved permit authorizing the slaughter and processing of animals for human consumption.

Important considerations:  Limited slaughter operations are allowed on certain A-Agricultural-zoned properties, subject to several supplemental conditions including a limit on the number of animal units that can be processed annually and a prohibition on on-site retail sales. Limited slaughter facilities must be permitted through the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship (IDALS) in accordance with all state and federal animal slaughter facilities. Limited slaughter facilities must be approved by both IDALS and the County prior to beginning operation.

Commercial Animal Slaughter Facilities, which have higher limits on animals that can be processed and also allow on-site retail sales, are allowed primary uses in the C-Ag-Agribusiness and ML-Light Industrial zoning districts.

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $TBD (not yet set by the Board of Supervisors)

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections and/or additional requested information has been submitted.

Click here for Application Form and Submission Requirements (form forthcoming)

Modification of Subdivision Requirements

Description: The Board of Adjustment has the power to modify the strict application of the principles and standards set forth in Chapter 8:2 when a specified provision is found to create an unnecessary hardship due to physical characteristics peculiar to a parcel of land.
Applications will be evaluated on the criteria listed in subsection 8:1.28(G) of the Unified Development Ordinance.

Important considerations: The UDO specifies that modifications will not be granted on the basis of value of the property, to reduce the cost of development, nor to increase the profitability of the development. The hardship must be more than an inconvenience on the part of the applicant.

Deciding body: Board of Adjustment

Application fee: $750

Filing deadline: Third Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 35 days

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Ordinance Text Amendment (Amendment to the UDO)

Description: A request to permanently change the text of the Unified Development Ordinance.

Important considerations: The applicant is responsible not only for identifying the regulation they are requesting be updated, but they must identify all sections of the UDO that must be updated, as well as provide the actual ordinance amendment language for the Board to consider.

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors, following recommendation by the Planning & Zoning Commission

Application fee: $750

Filing deadline: Second Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 77 days

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Resolution Affirming the Stability of the Road System

Description: While not a development application, this resolution is a submission requirement on all rezoning and subdivision requests. This is a legal document in which an applicant acknowledges the road system serving their proposed development will remain in its current state, unless the applicant or adjacent property owners agree to pay for upgrades to the roads.

Click here to download a fillable PDF of Resolution 04-19-90-2 Affirming the Stability of the Road System

Rezoning Application (Map Amendment)

Description: A request to permanently change the zoning designation of a property its allowed primary, accessory, and conditional uses.

Important considerations: Rezoning a property is a permanent change to the classification of that property, and all uses allowed - and the potential impacts thereof - in the proposed District are considered during the review process. The County utilizes a portfolio of land use plans to inform the review and recommendations for rezoning requests. The applicant will also need to file a parallel application with the Johnson County Health Department at the same time as filing the rezoning request with PDS (Johnson County Public Health Zoning Application is available here).

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors, following recommendation by the Planning & Zoning Commission

Application fee:

  • $300 for rezoning to A, AG-T, SF, ERP, or P
  • $400 + $40/acre for rezoning to RS, RM, RR, C, CH, C-AG, ML, MH, or SWDRR
    • Where a rezoning request proposes one designation from each of the above categories on a single lot, only the fee for the residential, commercial, or industrial rezoning shall apply

Filing deadline: Second Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 70-77 days (possibly longer if within 2 miles of an incorporated city))

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Sensitive Areas Waiver

Description: A request to have some or all of the sensitive areas requirements waived for a development project

Important considerations: Please see the Sensitive Areas page for specific information related to waivers, including supporting documentation required.

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $100

Filing deadline: None, Continuous/No Deadline

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections and/or additional requested information has been submitted.

Click Here for Sensitive Areas Waiver Form and Submission Requirements

Site Plan Review

Description: An engineered Site Plan is required prior to issuance of building permits for property zoned RR, C, CH, AG-T, C-AG, ML, MH, and SWDRR, and also for some conditionally permitted uses. Site Plans help ensure that infrastructure will be in place to support the proposed use.

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors / Zoning Administrator

The Zoning Administrator can approve Site Plans for certain Conditional Use Permits as outlined in the UDO. The Zoning Administrator can also approve revisions or modification to existing plans under certain conditions.

Application fee: $250

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections have been submitted and necessary legal agreements (if any) have been approved by County Attorney and PDS staff

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements
Short Term Rental (e.g. AirBnB, VRBO)

Description: Individuals seeking to rent out their dwelling unit in increments of less than 30 days .   

Important considerations: The entire dwelling unit must be rented as a single unit. Proposals to rent individual rooms within a single dwelling unit are treated as Bed and Breakfast Homes/Inns and are subject to different permitting and supplemental conditions. A dwelling unit that is rented in increments of 30 days or more does not require any pre-approval from the County.

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: None.

Filing deadline: Continuous/None (applications may be submitted at any time)

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days once all corrections and/or additional requested information has been submitted.

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Special Event Permit ( One-time and Multiple Special Events)

Special Events - both single events and multiple events in a calendar year - are allowed as a conditional use in certain districts. Please refer to the Conditional Use Permit section above to apply to host multiple special events.

Special Event Permit (One-Time Emergent Events)

Description: A permit for a one-time special event that would otherwise not have enough time to complete the Conditional Use Permit process.

Important considerations: The applicant will need to demonstrate that adequate parking facilities, water and wastewater provisions will be provided. Approval is subject to review by the Zoning Administrator, Public Health Department, and Secondary Roads Department or appropriate agency. 

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $250

Filing deadline: N/A

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements
Special Exception/Variance Application

Description: If there is a practical difficulty (for Special Exceptions) or unnecessary hardship (for Variances) presented by requiring structures on a specific lot to comply with the bulk standards (i.e. setbacks or structure height) for a given zoning district, this application is used to request a reduction in setbacks or extension in allowed height for a specific property. Applications will be evaluated on the criteria listed in subsection 8.1.28(E)(2) of the Unified Development Ordinance for Special Exceptions and subsection 8.1.28(D)(2) for Variances.

Important considerations: Practical difficulty and unnecessary hardships do not include financial burden. In order for a request to be considered, there must be a building permit on file with PDS for the project necessitating the reduced standard. Although not required, it is recommended that a licensed land surveyor locate the property’s lot pins and can verify that the requested setback distances are accurate.

Deciding body: Zoning Board of Adjustment / Zoning Administrator

Special Exception applications requesting less than a 10% reduction in the required setback can be approved administratively without a hearing before the Board of Adjustment in most cases.

Application fee: $175

Filing deadline: Third Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 35 days

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements
Stormwater Management Waiver

Description: A request to have some or all of the stormwater management requirements waived for a development project

Important considerations: Please see the Stormwater Management page for specific information related to stormwater waivers.

Deciding body: Zoning Administrator

Application fee: $100

Filing deadline: None, Continuous/No Deadline

Estimated timeline: 7-10 business days

Click Here for Stormwater Management Waiver Form and Submission Requirements

Subdivision Application (Preliminary Plat only)

Description: Used to divide or combine lots. A stand-alone preliminary plat is required where a development proposes any development-wide infrastructure (e.g. private roads, stormwater management facilities, wells shared between more than 2 lots, or septic systems shared between more than 2 lots). Plats must be prepared by a licensed land surveyor in the State of Iowa.

Important considerations: Sensitive Areas and Stormwater Management regulations must be addressed, either through an approved waiver or a full report. The applicant will also need to file a parallel application with the Johnson County Health Department at the same time as filing the subdivision with PDS (Johnson County Public Health Zoning Application is available here).

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors, following recommendation by the Planning & Zoning Commission

Application fee: $500 + $40/buildable lot + $20/outlot

Filing deadline: Second Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 2 months (56-63 days), (possibly longer if within 2 miles of an incorporated city)

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements

Subdivision Application (Combined Preliminary and Final Plat)

Description: Used to divide or combine lots. A combined plat may be submitted for subdivisions with fewer than 5 total lots (both buildable lots and outlots included), for which there is no development-wide infrastructure proposed or required (examples of infrastructure include private roads, stormwater management facilities, wells shared between more than 2 lots, or septic systems shared between more than 2 lots). Plats must be prepared by a licensed land surveyor in the State of Iowa.

Important considerations: Sensitive Areas and Stormwater Management regulations must be addressed, either through an approved waiver or a full report. The applicant will also need to file a parallel application with the Johnson County Health Department at the same time as filing the subdivision with PDS (Johnson County Public Health Zoning Application is available here)

Deciding body: Board of Supervisors, following recommendation by the Planning & Zoning Commission

Application fee: $500 + $40/buildable lot + $20/outlot

Filing deadline: Second Thursday of each month by 4:30 p.m.

Estimated timeline: Approximately 2 months (56-63 days), (possibly longer if within 2 miles of an incorporated city)

Click Here for Application Form and Submission Requirements