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Polk to consider allowing agricultural buildings on vacant land

COLUMBUS — Residents will soon have the opportunity to give comments on whether or not Polk County should amend its zoning ordinance to allow agricultural buildings on land with no primary residence.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners recently set a public hearing for Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m.

Polk County Planner Cathy Ruth said a resident who has 32 acres requested the amendment in order to place a building on the property to keep a tractor. There is no residence on the property, and the county does not currently allow accessory buildings unless there is a primary residence.

The Polk County Planning Board recommended agricultural buildings to be allowed on properties with 10 acres or more or allowed as a conditional use for less than 10 acres.

The county is considering amending the ordinance to add a new category to its permitted use table in all zoned districts to include Agricultural Building for 10 acres or more and as a conditional use for les than 10 acres as well as adding a definition for agricultural building and a definition for building height.

The proposed definition for agricultural building is, “a structure on agricultural land designed, constructed, and used to house farm implements, livestock, or agricultural produce or products used by the owner, lessee, or sub-lessee or their immediate families, their employees, and persons engaged in the pick up or delivery of agricultural produce or products grown or raised on the premises. The term ‘agricultural building’ shall not include dwellings.”

The proposed definition for building height is, “in measuring a building/structure, or part thereof, to determine compliance with the maximum height provisions, measurement will be taken from the level of the highest point, or part thereof, and shall not include ornamental cupolas, weathervanes, belfries, chimneys, flag or radio poles, unless otherwise defined.”

The public hearing will be held at the beginning of the county’s regular meeting in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus.