Following a public input on earlier materials, the most recent draft documents related to creating a Windham village plan and boundary are ready for public review and comment. A public hearing scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14 will include opportunities for additional public input and discussion.
The “Public Hearing Draft” and related files are online at johnsoncountyiowa.gov/windham-village-planning, and hard copies can be accessed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Planning, Development and Sustainability (PDS) Department, Johnson County Administration Building, 913 S. Dubuque Street in Iowa City.
The public is welcome to share written comments by Thursday, Nov. 10, if they would like their input included in the packet for the Johnson County Planning and Zoning (PZ) Commission. Members of the public may share comments or request more information by contacting Nate Mueller, PDS assistant director, at [email protected] or 319-356-6083. Comments may also be mailed to Mueller at the address provided above.
The plan and boundary concepts will then be considered by the PZ Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, in the Second-Floor Boardroom of the Administration Building located at 913 S. Dubuque Street in Iowa City. The public is welcome to share written or oral comments at the public hearing.
The Public Hearing Draft under review contains all plan components, including the community’s goals and vision, and a proposed boundary, which PDS staff is recommending based on input received to date. An alternative boundary suggested by some members of the community in early October, after two County-hosted community meetings, is also being shared for consideration.
The PZ Commission will, along with discussing the entire plan, recommend a boundary to the Board of Supervisors. The Board will set the final boundary as part of their approval process during subsequent public meeting(s) that are expected to be held in December. The County’s PDS Department is coordinating the planning process at the direction of the Board of Supervisors.
The purpose of a village plan and boundary is to help balance preservation of agricultural land and environmental amenities with appropriate growth opportunities. Village plans also work in tandem with other Johnson County planning documents to guide decision-making by the Board of Supervisors and the PZ Commission.
Whether a property is included within an eventual village boundary or not, all existing uses of a property may continue--or may be enlarged, altered, expanded or reconstructed--provided that they conform with current regulations in the County’s Unified Development Ordinance. This includes properties that are currently agriculturally exempt. A property that is agriculturally exempt is considered to be in compliance with the ordinance so long as exemption is maintained. In general, when a property is included within a village boundary, there is more opportunity for development than if the property were outside the boundary.
Two additional resources are available online and at the PDS office: adopted plans for other villages at johnsoncountyiowa.gov/compplan and an overview of what a village plan does and does not do and the planning process at johnsoncountyiowa.gov/villageplanning.