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Thread: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?

  1. #1
    George Wesselhoft
    Guest

    [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?

    All,



    If asked for a letter of zoning compliance, how do your respective
    governments respond? Do you issue a general letter stating what the
    property is zoned and listing the permitted uses for said district or do you
    also include more specific information such as not having any known
    violations and being in compliance with the zoning ordinance, including any
    required zoning permits or certificate of occupancy?



    George Wesselhoft, AICP, LEED GA

    Planning and Zoning Director

    City of Pella

    100 Truman Road

    Pella, Iowa 50219

    (641) 628-1601

    <mailto:gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com> gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com

  2. #2
    Jeff D Benson
    Guest

    Re: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?

    For the more complicated, second type of letter you refer to, the City of
    Ames has a short application on our website so we can get the information
    we need to do the research and we also provide there a list of what we
    will check and what we won't check. We call it a "Zoning Confirmation
    Letter." We never state that the current use of the site or improvements
    comply with zoning. But if the person does want what we can do, then they
    send the form and we bill them $100 with the letter. It takes anywhere
    from one to five days, depending on work load.

    If they want to know what uses are allowed on a property, and they can't
    just go to the on-line ordinance, we send them the list from the Code for
    free.


    THANKS!

    Jeff

    Jeffrey D. Benson, AICP, ASLA
    Planner, Department of Planning and Housing
    City of Ames, Iowa

    515 Clark
    P.O. Box 811
    Ames, IA 50010

    Ph: 515-239-5269
    Fax: 515-239-5404

    e-mail: jbenson (AT) city (DOT) ames.ia.us

    Caring People ~ Quality Programs ~ Exceptional Service





    "George Wesselhoft" <gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com>
    Sent by: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com
    02/24/2011 06:36 AM
    Please respond to
    IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com


    To
    <IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com>
    cc

    Subject
    [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?







    All,

    If asked for a letter of zoning compliance, how do your respective
    governments respond? Do you issue a general letter stating what the
    property is zoned and listing the permitted uses for said district or do
    you also include more specific information such as not having any known
    violations and being in compliance with the zoning ordinance, including
    any required zoning permits or certificate of occupancy?

    George Wesselhoft, AICP, LEED GA
    Planning and Zoning Director
    City of Pella
    100 Truman Road
    Pella, Iowa 50219
    (641) 628-1601
    gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com

  3. #3
    Paul Dekker
    Guest

    RE: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?

    Urbandale will provide a "full boat" compliance letter, BUT there're
    still limits as to what we'll certify, have to be sure you don't go
    beyond what you know to be absolutely correct and to include a
    qualifier, at least qualify "to the best of our knowledge and available
    City records", or some such.



    If you DON'T know and have no reasonable way to determine, DON'T certify
    no matter how badly they want it.



    Some ask you to certify for everything, about ask for assurance that the
    property will never get hit by a tornado, guess you can't blame them for
    trying, but.



    It's important to check with City legal counsel however, to see what
    they're comfortable with. Some might prefer NOT to do at all, and some
    planners might, but I view it as a service we need to provide, within
    reason, not really possible for anyone else to do it.



    At the same time, we don't do it for free. We charge $40 for a
    single-family residence, $75 for townhomes or other "single family
    attached", and for multi-family and any nonresidential we charge a
    minimum of $150 plus an additional $50/hour if the time expended to
    research, inspect et.al exceeds 2 hours. Some of those can be VERY
    difficult and time-consuming, as I'm sure you know....



    We get lots of requests from consultants who are charging for the
    service, so certainly is no reason to provide the information for free
    to them. For most other situations there is a lender or attorney
    involved and they're all charging hefty fees, so again no reason to
    provide for free.



    If someone ONLY wants a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy, there's no
    charge for that.



    By the way, be sure to archive every certification letter you provide
    because the chances are good that they'll need another in a few years,
    the next time they refinance or whatever. Important to know what you
    said previously, also makes the next one WAY simpler to do since you
    only have to check the time period between.



    Paul Dekker



    Director of Community Development

    3600 86th Street

    City of Urbandale, IA 50322-4057



    515-331-6721

    515-278-3927 (Fax)

    PDekker (AT) Urbandale (DOT) org

    http://www.urbandale.org/



    ________________________________

    From: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com [mailto:IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com] On Behalf
    Of George Wesselhoft
    Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:37 AM
    To: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com
    Subject: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?





    All,



    If asked for a letter of zoning compliance, how do your respective
    governments respond? Do you issue a general letter stating what the
    property is zoned and listing the permitted uses for said district or do
    you also include more specific information such as not having any known
    violations and being in compliance with the zoning ordinance, including
    any required zoning permits or certificate of occupancy?



    George Wesselhoft, AICP, LEED GA

    Planning and Zoning Director

    City of Pella

    100 Truman Road

    Pella, Iowa 50219

    (641) 628-1601

    gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com

  4. #4
    a hauer
    Guest

    Re: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?

    Paul,

    There was at least $1,000 of advise in this response!  I really like the 'keep
    the correspondence' proviso; bet there's some history there....

    Andrea Hauer

    ________________________________
    From: Paul Dekker <PDekker (AT) urbandale (DOT) org>
    To: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com
    Sent: Fri, February 25, 2011 10:08:28 AM
    Subject: RE: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?

     
    Urbandale will provide a “full boat” compliance letter, BUT there’re still
    limits as to what we’ll certify, have to be sure you don’t go beyond what you
    know to be absolutely correct and to include a qualifier, at least qualify “to
    the best of our knowledge and available City records”, or some such.. 

     
    If you DON’T know and have no reasonable way to determine, DON’T certify no
    matter how badly they want it.
     
    Some ask you to certify for everything, about ask for assurance that the
    property will never get hit by a tornado, guess you can’t blame them for trying,
    but.
     
    It’s important to check with City legal counsel however, to see what they’re
    comfortable with.  Some might prefer NOT to do at all, and some planners might,
    but I view it as a service we need to provide, within reason, not really
    possible for anyone else to do it.
     
    At the same time, we don’t do it for free.  We charge $40 for a single-family
    residence, $75 for townhomes or other “single family attached”, and for
    multi-family and any nonresidential we charge a minimum of $150 plus an
    additional $50/hour if the time expended to research, inspect et.al exceeds 2
    hours.  Some of those can be VERY difficult and time-consuming, as I’m sure you
    know….
     
    We get lots of requests from consultants who are charging for the service, so
    certainly is no reason to provide the information for free to them.  For most
    other situations there is a lender or attorney involved and they’re all charging
    hefty fees, so again no reason to provide for free.
     
    If someone ONLY wants a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy, there’s no charge
    for that.
     
    By the way, be sure to archive every certification letter you provide because
    the chances are good that they’ll need another in a few years, the next time
    they refinance or whatever.  Important to know what you said previously, also
    makes the next one WAY simpler to do since you only have to check the time
    period between.
     
    Paul Dekker
     
    Director of Community Development
    3600 86th Street
    City of Urbandale, IA 50322-4057
     
    515-331-6721
    515-278-3927 (Fax)
    PDekker (AT) Urbandale (DOT) org
    http://www.urbandale.org/
     

    ________________________________

    From:IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com [mailto: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com ] On Behalf Of
    George Wesselhoft
    Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:37 AM
    To: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com
    Subject: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?
     
     
    All,
     
    If asked for a letter of zoning compliance, how do your respective governments
    respond?  Do you issue a general letter stating what the property is zoned and
    listing the permitted uses for said district or do you also include more
    specific information such as not having any known violations and being in
    compliance with the zoning ordinance, including any required zoning permits or
    certificate of occupancy?
     
    George Wesselhoft, AICP, LEED GA
    Planning and Zoning Director
    City of Pella
    100 Truman Road
    Pella, Iowa 50219
    (641) 628-1601
    gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com
     

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