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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission split on nuisance codes for lakes, towns

Updated: Nov 7, 2023


By Charlene Sims, Journal staff


MOUND CITY – A proposal to revise nuisance codes for the lake developments and unincorporated towns in Linn County has not yet received approval after being presented late last month.


At the Linn County Commission’s meeting on Monday, Aug. 7, County Counselor Gary Thompson used the example of junk cars to illustrate the issue.


He explained that while five inoperable cars on 100 acres, 10 acres or even one acre may not seem like a problem in the rural areas, in the communities with lots of less than an acre, five inoperable cars might seem like too much.


For a complete list of the proposed codes, click this link to our article last week.


Commissioner Jim Johnson asked why this was being brought up.


“Where did this come from?” he asked. “I mean the planning and zoning didn’t talk about it. Where did this come from?”


Planning and Zoning Director/Codes Enforcement Officer Darin Wilson said that since the new zoning regulations were developed and there was a new, separate zoning district were created for lake areas and unincorporated cities, lake communities have asked about situations like five cars being allowed on a property.


Thompson had explained last week that codes and codes enforcement are separate from planning and zoning.


Johnson said that he thought the county was overstepping its bounds by regulating what he called "the lake resorts.”


Thompson pointed out that was the county’s position 10 years ago – that the county was not going to regulate anything in the lake areas.


But then, Thompson said, the commission began moving in a different direction a couple of years ago, and the county’s momentum has continued to be in that direction.


“So, if you want to reverse that momentum, I am fine with that, but we just need to know it,” said Thompson.


Commissioner Jason Hightower said that residents in the lake communities are taxpayers as well. “Does it not benefit us to have some of these things in place? That’s where we see the majority of our taxpayer growth.”


Johnson asked why the county had to regulate the lake communities.


Hightower said that the county enforces regulations everywhere else in the county.

Johnson then talked about a location on 1200 Road that it took years to clean up, and he said the only reason it is cleaned up now is because a neighbor bought the property and cleaned it. He pointed out that it had been to codes court several times and had not been cleaned up.


Wilson said that it had been to codes one time since he had been here.


Thompson explained that it had taken it a while to get it processed as those cases often do. He also said that the county does not typically go looking for places with problems. Instead, it waits until there is a complaint.


Commission Chair Danny McCullough agreed with Hightower that the lake community landowners pay their taxes the same as other Linn County residents. He said he did not like how the county just excludes the lake owners from the county.


McCullough said that he has calls from people at Tanglewood about dust control and the county can do nothing about it.


Thompson explained that taking care of the dust on roads at Tanglewood was the same as doing dust control on somebody’s long private drive.

Thompson told the commissioners that if they wanted to move away from enforcing the county’s zoning codes in lake developments they can do that.


Jason Hightower said that was not where he wanted to go.

Thompson said he would wait to continue until the commissioners decided what they wanted to do.


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