Posted by: Patricia Salkin | April 4, 2010

Iowa Smart Growth Bill Awaits Action By Governor

Thanks to Prof. Gary Taylor of Iowa State University for the following information:

Iowa’s Smart Planning bill (SF 2389) has worked its way through the state legislature and during the final two days of the session a version passed that was very similar to the version as originally proposed.  It was attached to the $274 million Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund appropriations bill.  A final enrolled version has not yet been distributed it, and it still must go to the Governor for his signature (who has line-item veto authority, although it is not expected that he will disturb the smart planning provisions). 

The smart planning provisions in the bill contain these four sections: (1) sets forth ten smart planning principles, and says that state agencies and local governments “shall consider and may apply” them during “deliberation of all appropriate planning, zoning, development and resource management decisions”; (2) sets forth 13 elements that local governments “may include” when developing or amending comprehensive plans or “other local land development regulations” (although not artfully worded, it is significant because Iowa is one of the few states that never adopted the Standard City Planning Enabling Act, nor any other planning enabling legislation); (3) creates a smart planning taskforce charged with a number of responsibilities, including the evaluation of state policies and practices for their conformance with the smart planning principles, the development of statewide goals for comprehensive planning consistent with the smart planning principles, the development of a “model regional comprehensive plan,” a review of local comprehensive plans to assess how they address hazard mitigation, and the centralization of information for comprehensive planning, and a central repository for comprehensive plans; and (4) makes $30 million available for infrastructure projects to cities and counties that are applying the smart planning principles and adopting comprehensive plans consistent with the other sections of the bill.

Prof. Taylor tracked the bill through the House and Senate on the Midwest Planning Bluz blog, and he will be posting summaries of the four sections of the bill noted above over the next week or two.  His blog postings also contain excellent background information on the bill’s content. The blog can be accessed at:


  1. Would this legislation help with my problem. A new neighbor moved a cattle feed station less than 100 feet from my house and I have been plagued with flies, dust and smell ever since. In two years my 5 acres cannot be sold but taxes keep on increasing and the valuation does not consider my new “nearest” neighbor.

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