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CD-DIAL Community Development Data Information and Analysis Laboratory
CD-DIAL is a training and technical assistance unit within Sociology Extension at ISU that works with communities, organizations, and state and local agencies to assist and build decision-making capacity as they evaluate and assess the need for services.
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Data for Decision Makers
Data for Decision Makers reports can be generated by visiting the ISU Extension and Outreach Indicators Portal.
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Glossary of Common Planning and Zoning Terms
More than 150 common planning and zoning terms are defined.
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Planning and Zoning Roles and Responsibilities - Elected Officials
City councils or county boards of supervisors are the primary policy-making entities responsible for setting the direction of the community’s government. These policies address how land in the community is to be used in the future.

This Fact Sheet addresses three important functions:
  • Adopting plans and ordinances
  • Approving development proposals
  • Making appointments to boards, commissions and, in some communities, staff positions.

Planning and Zoning workshops are presented throughout the state of Iowa by Community and Economic Development Extension and Outreach’s Local Governments team. Information on these workshops and other programs can be found at: www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/how-we-work
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Planning and Zoning Roles and Responsibilities - Planning Commission
The planning commission primarily acts in an advisory capacity to the elected body. The commission studies issues, oversees the preparation of plans and ordinances, and reviews and advises on development proposals. The Iowa Code spells out two specific responsibilities for the planning commission related to the development and maintenance of the zoning ordinance.

This Fact Sheet addresses Iowa Code and other responsibilities:
  • Prepare the Zoning Ordinance – Iowa Code
  • Review and Recommend Zoning Amendments and Updates – Iowa Code
  • Other Zoning-related Responsibilities
  • Other Responsibilities

Planning and Zoning workshops are presented throughout the state of Iowa by Community and Economic Development Extension and Outreach’s Local Governments team. Information on these workshops and other programs can be found at: www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/how-we-work
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Planning and Zoning - Being an Effective Planning Commission
Because of its status as an advisory body, the role of the planning commission is often not well understood by citizens, others in local government, or even the commissioners themselves. This frequently leads to isolation or marginalization of the commission. What can the commission do for itself to ensure relevance and effectiveness? This Fact Sheet offers some tips and references.

Planning and Zoning workshops are presented throughout the state of Iowa by Community and Economic Development Extension and Outreach’s Local Governments team. Information on these workshops and other programs can be found at: www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/how-we-work
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Planning and Zoning Roles and Responsibilities - The Zoning Board of Adjustment
Iowa Code §§ 335.15 (counties) and 414.12 (cities) provide identical mandates for zoning boards of adjustment. These statutes are very specific in limiting the functions of the board of adjustment to (1) hearing appeals of decisions made by the zoning administrator, (2) granting or denying special exceptions (also referred to as "special uses" or "conditional uses"), and (3) granting or denying variances. This Fact Sheet discusses each of these issues.

Planning and Zoning workshops are presented throughout the state of Iowa by Community and Economic Development Extension and Outreach’s Local Governments team. Information on these workshops and other programs can be found at: www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/how-we-work
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Planning and Zoning Roles and Responsibilities - The Zoning Administrator
The availability of staff to assist in performing planning and zoning functions varies widely from community to community. At a minimum, every community that has adopted a zoning ordinance must have an official charged with the administration of the ordinance. The zoning administrator is typically the first contact for citizens applying for any type of permit required by the zoning ordinance. This Fact Sheet outlines the principal duties of the zoning administrator.

Planning and Zoning workshops are presented throughout the state of Iowa by Community and Economic Development Extension and Outreach’s Local Governments team. Information on these workshops and other programs can be found at: www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/how-we-work
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Planning and Zoning - The Purpose of the Comprehensive Plan
The comprehensive plan, also known as a general plan, master plan or land use plan, is a document designed to guide the future actions of a city or county. The comprehensive plan also presents a vision for the future with long-range goals and objectives for all activities that affect the local government. This includes guidance on how to make decisions on public and private land development proposals. This Fact Sheet discusses the functions of the city or county comprehensive plan.

Planning and Zoning workshops are presented throughout the state of Iowa by Community and Economic Development Extension and Outreach’s Local Governments team. Information on these workshops and other programs can be found at: www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/how-we-work
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