A new subdivision fee structure could be counterintuitive to the keeping residential development closer to the city limits, according to the Winneshiek County Planning and Zoning Commission.

At Monday's meeting of the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors, County Zoning Administrator Tony Phillips told the Board the Commission is "unhappy with the recent decision of the City of Decorah to start charging applicants for reviewing subdivision plants within the two-mile limit."

Phillips explained the county already charges $250 to review a subdivision plat. In addition, applicants within two miles of Decorah will now pay an additional $100 to $200, depending on the complexity, to review plats within two miles of Decorah.

Phillips said the county has two options:

1. Talk to the city to see if under a Board of Supervisors request they would waive the fees for review of subdivision plats within the two-mile limit

2. The county could waive its right to review subdivisions within two miles of the city limits.

Phillips explained the county could waive its right to review and defer subdivision requirements within two miles of the city limits to the city's discretion. The county would retain all zoning authority, i.e. setbacks, district classification and lot size. Waiving the right to review would require resolution for each request, or possibly a 28E intergovernmental agreement.


When Board Chair John Logsdon asked Phillips what prompted the city to start charging for the review, Phillips said he sent the city three subdivisions in close succession.

"The reason there's a two-mile buffer around there is for possible annexation. That's where you want to encourage your building, around towns and incorporated areas. I guess the question is, is this $200 - $250 dollars per request going to be detrimental to that. I'm sure there's a wide variation of opinion. I think you should talk to these guys some more," said Logsdon.

"I'd like to hear from the city," said Board Member Dean Thompson, adding he would like more conversation on the topic.

Logsdon suggested the Board direct Phillips to send a letter to City Administrator Chad Bird expressing the Board's views. The letter will ask the city to either waive their fee, waive their subdivision review or allow the county to wave its subdivision review.

"This will be a conversation generator," added Logsdon.