When do I need a building permit?
Clarke County zoning ordinance requires a building permit for any new construction or expansion of a building. If you live in the City of Osceola, Murray or Woodburn you will need to check at you local city hall about specific requirements.
Prior to construction of any structure in Clarke County, an application for a building permit must be submitted for review and approval. This should be done online at https://clarkecountyia.portal.iworq.net/portalhome/clarkecountyia. The purpose of the Building Permit is to ensure that the proposed construction meets certain conditions set out for the district in which it is located. The following items are considered when reviewing a permit:
- If the proposed structure is non-farm related and the administrator doesn’t deem it exempt, a determination is made concerning the zoning district in which the proposed building will be located, and its use. A commercial building cannot be built in a residential district, and industrial businesses cannot locate in any other district to keep them separated due to noise, dust and traffic.
- Lot sizes and set back requirements from property lines vary for each district. Front yard, side yard, and rear yard set backs are described in the zoning ordinances and the property owner is made aware of the appropriate distances at the time of application.
- Special requirements may apply to various districts or uses. Building heights, accessory structures such as sheds, garages and such also have unique requirements.
- Other considerations are given when an application is received. If there is a property split or new lot created, Subdivision Regulations may apply.
The purpose of land use planning and zoning is to protect property owners from encroachment of uses that are not compatible. The Zoning Commissions in each county make recommendations to the Boards of Supervisors where zoning districts should be located, and what type of restrictions should be put into place. Each property owner has a right to do what they want to with their land, unless it infringes on the use and enjoyment of the surrounding property owners. That is why land use plans are developed with public input, and zoning ordinances are created to control development in the best interest of the public as a whole.
Board of Adjustment
The Clarke County Board of Adjustment is a five- member board whose members are appointed by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors. The Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body given the authority under the Code of Iowa to make special exceptions to the Clarke County Zoning Ordinance. The Board of Adjustment also reviews and approves or denies conditional use permits, approves or denies variance requests, and hears appeals and petitions of any property owner aggrieved by the decisions of the Director of Zoning.
The current members of the Board of Adjustment are:
- Dave Tokheim
- Don Reasoner
- Judy Moore
- Mathew Oberembt
- Mary Pett
The Board of Adjustment meets only on demand.
Planning and Zoning Commission
The Clarke County Planning and Zoning Commission is responsible for reviewing major subdivision preliminary plats, final plats, zoning changes, zoning ordinance changes/amendments, comprehensive plan changes/amendments, and other planning and development issues. The Clarke County Board of Supervisors appoints the members of the nine-person commission. Planning and development issues brought before the Planning and Zoning Commission are reviewed and given a recommendation of approval or denial by the Board of Supervisors.
The current members of the Planning and Zoning Commission are:
- Heather Wells
- Jason Boyer
- Jason Gibbs
- Joe Johnston
- Randy Barnard
- Staci Heaberlin
- Terry Robins
Jessica (Conley) Bear, Zoning Administrator
Clarke County Public Health
144 W. Jefferson
Osceola, Iowa 50213
https://clarkecountyia.portal.iworq.net/portalhome/clarkecountyia Link for building permit applications (including subdivisions)
https://clarkecounty.iowa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Ordinance-34-2017-Clarke-County-Zoning-2020-Update.pdf Link to 2020 Zoning Ordinance
https://clarke.iowaassessors.com/index.php Link to GIS