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Zoning changes on the way

Marshalltown is beginning the process of changing its zoning ordinance.

The ordinance, first put together in the 1950s, was gradually changed in the 1990s and 2010, but has not had a full overhaul.

“We have periodic changes probably about every year,” Michelle Spohnheimer, Marshalltown housing and community development director said. “Because we’ve had periodic changes over time, it really is time for us to look at the ordinance as one complete overhaul.”

There may not be any drastic changes, but Spohnheimer wants to review the ordinances language and items to be accurate, legal and up to date.

“It’s a good practice to go through every once in a while and review your ordinance as a whole,” she said.

During Spohnheimer’s 20-year tenure the whole ordinance has not been reviewed and updated.

“We looked at a significant review of residential areas in the late 90s and in late 2009 and 2010 we did a comprehensive look at some of the commercial districts,” she said. “We’ll definitely see changes.”

It is very early in the ordinance review process with the Marshalltown City Council discussing it for the first time on Monday.

“There will be opportunities for public engagement,” Spohnheimer said.

She also wants to make sure developers are part of the conversation.

During the same meeting the council received a report on the Chamber of Commerce’s new housing study. The study encouraged the city to work with developers and provide a friendly atmosphere for them.

Spohnheimer anticipates the process will take about one year, with a new ordinance adopted by the end of 2021.

“We may find that we need more time,” she said.

The Marshalltown City Council still needs to vote to approve or disapprove a request for a proposal to officially authorize the project.

“It’s really a process to make sure we are staying current with trends and changes,” Spohnheimer said. “Most residences and business owners will notice very little change in this process.”

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Contact Thomas Nelson at 641-753-6611 or tnelson@timesrepublican.com

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