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Zoning enforcement is handled through the Planning Division of the Community Development Department. Each zoning violation is reviewed on a case-by-case with enforcement action being determined by the severity of the violation. If you suspect a zoning violation has occurred, please contact the Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350.
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Accessory structures must meet the minimum setback requirements for accessory structures according the zoning classification of the property (refer to FAQ Question #1 to determine a property zoning designation) In general, accessory structures cannot be located within the front yard setback of a property or between the principle structure and the front property line. In most instances, accessory structures can be placed as close as three feet to an interior side property line and rear property line. In cases of a corner lot, structures must be placed a minimum of 15 feet from the street side yard property line. Accessory structures cannot exceed 18 feet in height and must remain subordinate in overall size to a principle structure (e.g., residential dwelling).
Permits for fences are required as of 2022. Fence regulations including placement, location, materials, etc., for all zoning districts may be viewed at the following link:
Contact the Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350 if you have additional questions. Last, always remember "Call Before You Dig" at 1-800-292-8989 or 811.
All suspected zoning violations can be reported to the Council Bluffs Community Development Department via phone (712) 890-5350 or in person at 209 Pearl St (lower level of City Hall.)
All rezoning requests are decided upon by the City Council after review and recommendation by the City Planning Commission. As part of the rezoning process, the City Council must consider several important factors when making their decision including, but not limited to, minimum lot size, surrounding land uses, consistency with the Council Bluffs Comprehensive Plan and the availability of utilities to service the subject property. For more information on rezoning a parcel of land, please contact the Council Bluffs Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350.
A daycare service is considered any facility which receives for temporary care, six or more individuals during any part of a 24 hour day. Such facilities require a conditional use permit from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) prior to operation. Daycare services which care for five or less individuals in a 24 hour day are not required to obtain a conditional use permit from the Council Bluffs ZBA. Individuals interested in operating a daycare should also check with the Iowa Department of Human Services to determine if any special license(s) are required. For more information on requesting a conditional use permit from the Council Bluffs ZBA and/or operating a day care service from your home, please contact the Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350 for more information.
If it is determined that the portion of your property you want to sell to your neighbor is not considered to be of a buildable size and does not create any nonconforming building setbacks, it might be possible to do a Property Line Adjustment. A form would be required to be filled out and signed by both you and your neighbor and a filing fee is required. If the Community Development Director determines it necessary, a property survey would also be required. The Property Line Adjustment is reviewed and approved/denied by the Director and does not go before the Planning Commission or City Council. Contact the Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350 for more information.
Yes. If your property is a locally designed historic landmark or located within a locally designated historic district all exterior modifications including signage requires the review of the City Historic Preservation Commission. If your property is entered in the National Register of Historic Places (as a landmark or as part of a district), but is not locally designated review of the City Historic Preservation Commission is not required. If you are unsure about the designation of a property you may view the historic preservation layer on the website referred to FAQ Question #1, or contact the Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350 for more information. Please note that in addition to Commission review all other permitting requirements are in effect.
Property owners located adjacent to an unimproved alley right-of-way can request that it be vacated and conveyed to the adjoining property owner(s). In most situations, vacated property is divided evenly between property owners, (i.e. a 12-foot wide alley located between two lots would be divided 6 feet to each of the property owners). Once a request and filing fee are received it is sent to all City departments and public utilities to determine the existence of any utilities within the alley. Notices are also sent to all property owners adjoining the alley in order to determine if anyone objects to vacating the alley and to make sure all owners are willing to accept their portion of alley. If, after public hearing by the City Planning Commission and the City Council, it is determined that the alley can be vacated, it may be conveyed to the abutting owners at no additional cost. Contact the Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350 for more information.
Parking of one recreational vehicle (e.g., camper or boat) may be allowed outside within the required front yard setback (which in most cases is 25 feet from the front property line) on a hard surface driveway or on a hard surface pad contiguous with the driveway, provided: 1. Space is not available in the side yard, behind the required front yard or there is no reasonable access to either the side yard or rear yard; 2. Parking in an enclosed structure is not possible; 3. The vehicle is parked perpendicular to the curb; and 4. The vehicle may not extend over the public sidewalk or public right-of-way. For more information, please contact the Council Bluffs Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350 or reference Chapter 15.23.030(04) Recreational Vehicle Parking of the Council Bluffs Municipal Code.
The primary incentive of the urban renewal law is the use of tax increment financing (TIF). TIF is a method by which the amount of increase in property tax revenues generated by a project can be used by the municipality to assist in the development of the project. TIF allows the city to acquire, prepare and assist in the development of project and/or sites that would not have been otherwise developed by the private sector. Using TIF districts “freezes” the base valuation of the designated area and captures the increment gained from the new development. This new increment is what is used to help finance the project. Each individual project is examined by staff in order to determine whether or not a project will be eligible for TIF assistance. Please contact the Community Development Department at (712) 890-5350 to initiate this process.
• Housing Development – The conservation and redevelopment of established neighborhoods and the preservation and expansion of their housing stock.• Economic Development – The revitalization of commercial properties and job creating projects that benefit low and moderate income people.• Public Services and Facilities – The development of physical and human service projects that benefit low and moderate income people by non-profit organizations.
The League of Human Dignity offers a Barrier Removal Program. This program provides grants to low income persons with disabilities to assist them in modifying their residential units for accessibility. The program encourages persons to remain in their existing living environment and creates additional accessible housing in the community. The program is available for rental units and owner-occupied housing. For more information, call the League to Human Dignity at (712) 323-6863 or visit the following website.