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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Rural Housing Readiness Assessment Process
This fact sheet describes the four steps for completed the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment (RHRA) process, a program offered by the ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development unit. The goals of the RHRA process are to help communities understand the complexities of the housing market and the challenges to improving housing quality, quantity, and affordability; to plan a road map that aligns strategies for addressing these housing challenges; and to act on those plans.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Assembling a Housing Steering Committee
This fact sheet describes how a community should create a housing steering committee as part of the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment (RHRA) process. Included is information about committee makeup, members' roles and responsibilities through the RHRA process, meeting guidelines, and samples of a resolution and an ordinance to establish the committee.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Open Meetings and Open Records Laws
This fact sheet will help housing steering committees understand the requirements under open meetings and open records laws and operate accordingly as they work through the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment (RHRA) process.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Updating City Ordinances
This fact sheet defines city ordinances and describes the process and requirements for updating or amending and publishing them according to the Iowa Code.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Previous Housing Recommendations Worksheet
This fact sheet is a worksheet on which a housing steering committee going through the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment (RHRA) process can list any previous housing assessments and plans conducted in its community and describe the results.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits
This fact sheet defines low-income housing tax credits, describes how they work and who is eligible to apply, and provides tips for obtaining these highly competitive tax credits.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Manufactured, Modular, and Mobile Homes
This fact sheet defines and describes the benefits of establishing manufactured, modular, and mobile home developments to address housing issues. It also defines land-lease communities and the requirements for regulating these communities.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Rental Housing Inspection Programs
This fact sheet describes the importance of rental housing inspection programs in helping a community maintain a minimum quality standard for the existing housing stock. It describes why cities should require landlords to register rental properties, the types of rental housing inspection programs, and how to fund such programs.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Restricted-residence Districts
Iowa Code § 414.24 provides a means for small municipalities to prepare and adopt a version of zoning that is less complex and easier to administer than a conventional zoning plan. Under this approach, the city council establishes areas of the community called “restricted-residence districts,” known also as “restricted residential districts.” This fact sheet describes the advantages and disadvantages and best practices for establishing this type of district.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Allowing Flexibility in Dimensional Requirements
This fact sheet identifies the problems under Iowa law with granting dimensional variances to allow flexibility in property dimensions. It also describes creative ways to allow flexibility under certain circumstances in the local zoning ordinance to make it easier to build new and rehabilitate existing housing.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Tax Increment Financing
This fact sheet defines tax increment financing (TIF) and how cities can use it to fund variety of community projects that are designed to encourage economic growth and jobs, including housing developments. It also describes how TIF funds can be used and explains how to set up a TIF district.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Property Acquisition through Tax Sales
This fact sheet explains how a local government can acquire a nuisance property through tax sales. It also describes the processes defined in the Iowa Code that local governments can use to obtain tax certificates from third parties.
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Housing Readiness Fact Sheet: Iowa Case Studies in Rural Housing Readiness - Infill Housing Development
This fact sheet defines infill housing development and presents the advantages and disadvantages of this type of development. It illustrates examples of infill housing development in Sioux City and describes the steps for creating an infill housing development.
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Leading Communities: A Place-based Leadership Program
Leading Communities guides you toward:
  • Understanding your community
  • Identifying local issues
  • Making community decisions
  • Building social collaboration
  • Working together effectively
  • Making it happen!
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Planning and Zoning - Iowa Smart Planning Principles - Iowa Code 18B.1
State agencies, local governments, and other public entities shall consider and may apply the principles included in this fact sheet during deliberation of all appropriate planning, zoning, development and resource management decisions. Note: Nothing in this section shall be construed to expand the eminent domain authority of a state agency, local government, or other public entity beyond that which is authorized under chapter 6A or 6B of the Iowa Code.

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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - Thirteen Elements of a Comprehensive Plan from the Iowa Smart Planning Law - Iowa Code 18B.2
Subsection 2: A municipality [meaning a city or county] shall consider the smart planning principles under section 18B.1 and may include the following elements, if applicable, when developing or amending a comprehensive plan under chapter 335 or chapter 414 or when developing or amending other local land development regulations.

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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - Process for Adopting a Comprehensive Plan Added to Iowa Code by SF 2389, 2010
This Fact Sheet includes the changes to Iowa Code 335.5 and Iowa Code 414.3, both related to the process for adoption of a 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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - The Zoning Ordinance
This Fact Sheet discusses the zoning ordinance as the primary mechanism for implementing the policies of the comprehensive plan. The two parts comprising the zoning ordinance include the zoning map and zoning text. Both documents together technically constitute the zoning ordinance and must be kept current at all times. Learn more about these two critical documents in this publication.

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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - Spot Zoning
What is spot zoning? How does it occur? Learn more from this publication in the planning and zoning series.

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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - Nonconforming Uses
A nonconforming use is generally defined as "a land use or structure that was legal when established, but does not conform to the restrictions of the current zoning ordinance." This creates a "nonconforming use" that can actually cover several situations, including nonconforming uses, lots, and structures. This fact sheet contains an overview 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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - Special Uses and Conditional Uses (Special Exceptions)
The Board of Adjustment has the power to "hear and decide special exceptions to the terms of the ordinance upon which the board is required to pass under such ordinance" (Iowa Code §§ 335.15 (counties) and 414.12 (cities)).

The terms "special use," "use exception" and "conditional use" are frequently found in zoning ordinances, and are discussed in this planning and zoning fact sheet.

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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - Variances
A variance is an authorization to allow a landowner to do something that is generally forbidden by the ordinance. In order to be granted a variance, the applicant carries the burden of proving to the board that strict enforcement of the terms of the ordinance will inflict an unnecessary hardship on the landowner. This fact sheet discusses the primary tests the landowner must satisfy for a variance and guidelines from the Iowa courts.

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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - Rules of Decorum for Audience at Board of Adjustment Hearings
Although the public hearing process is governed by certain rules, the Board of Adjustment strives to conduct hearings in a relaxed and informal manner. This fact sheet discusses the rules of decorum for the audience/participants at public hearings and the process that occurs during the hearing.

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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - Conflicts of Interest
Acting as a public servant on an elected or appointed body requires loyalty to the public. Conflicts of interest arise when a public servant is in the position of deciding between public duty and private interests. This fact sheet discusses the two most common conflicts of interest and general guidance from the Iowa Supreme Court.

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/programs-and-services
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Planning and Zoning - A Pre-hearing Ethics Checklist
Elected officials, planning commissioners and board of adjustment members should review the attached list in advance of hearing every application brought by a landowner to judge whether a situation might be present that would prevent them from taking part in the case. Should you recuse yourself from the proceedings? Follow this checklist to find out.

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/programs-and-services
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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/programs-and-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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Preparing for a Collaborative Community Assessment
This publication helps community development specialists prepare for collaborative community assessment activities. It discusses characteristics of such an assessment, steps involved, and practical implications.
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