7-1-1 – Purpose
7-1-2 – Definitions
7-1-3 – District and Boundaries
7-1-4 – General Provisions
7-1-5 – “R-1” Restricted Residence District
7-1-6 – Buildings Requiring Special Permits to Locate Within Restricted Districts
7-1-7 – Special Permits
7-1-8 – Amendments
7-1-9 – Violations and Penalties
7-1-10 – Certifying Ordinance
7-1-11 – Validity

7-1-1 – PURPOSE.

The purpose of this Ordinance is to establish a Restricted Residence District in the City of Fertile, Iowa, and to provide reasonable rules and regulations for the erection, reconstruction, altering, and repairing of buildings of all kinds, and to provide that there shall be no use in such district except for residences, school houses, churches, and other similar structures, except when a permit is granted in accordance with this Ordinance.


For use in this Ordinance, the following terms are defined:

1. Building Official: The City Council shall annually appoint the Building Official who shall be responsible for the administration and enforcement of this Ordinance.

2. Church or church school: A building used for public worship, or connected with a building so used, for instruction in religious beliefs, or for the conduct of activities related to church affairs.

3. Family: One (1) or more persons occupying a single dwelling unit, provided that all members are related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

4. Garage: An accessory structure for sheltering motor vehicles or household equipment and/or effects.

5. Home Occupation: Any occupation or profession carried on by a member of the immediate family, residing on the premises, in connection with which there is used no sign other than a nameplate not more than two (2) square feet in area or no display that will indicate from the exterior that the building is being utilized in whole or in part for any purpose other than that of a dwelling.

6. Household: A group of persons living together in a single dwelling unit with common access to, and common use of, all living and eating areas within the dwelling unit.

7. Lot: For the purposes of this Ordinance, a lot is a parcel of land of at least sufficient size to meet minimum requirements for use, coverage and area to provide such yards and other open space as are herein required. Such lot shall have frontage on a public street or private street, and may consist of: (a) A single lot of record; (b) A portion of a lot of record; (c) A combination of complete lots of record; of complete lots of record and portions of lots of record; or of portions of lots of record; and (d) A parcel of 133 land described by metes and bounds; provided that in no case of division or combination shall any residual lot or parcel be created which does not meet the requirements of this Ordinance.

8. Lot. corner: A lot abutting upon two (2) or more streets at their intersection.

9. Lot. depth of: The mean horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.

10 Lot. double frontage: A lot having a frontage on two (2) non-intersecting streets, as distinguished from a corner lot.

11. Lot. interior: A lot other than a corner lot.

12. Lot lines: The lines bounding a lot.

13. Lot of record: A lot which is a part of a subdivision recorded in the office of the County Recorder of Worth County, or a lot or parcel described by metes and bounds, the description of which has been so recorded.

14. Lot Width: The width of a lot measured at the building line and at right angles to its depth.

15. Manufactured home: A factory built structure, which is manufactured or constructed under authority of 42 U.S.C. Section 5403, is required by federal law to display a seal from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and was constructed on or after June 15, 1976. A manufactured home is to be used as a place for human habitation, but which is not constructed or equipped with a permanent hitch or other device allowing it to be moved other than for the purpose of moving it to a permanent site, and which does not have permanently attached to its body or frame any wheels or axles. A manufactured home shall be considered as a dwelling under the provisions of this Ordinance and will be assessed and taxed as real estate.

16. Mobile home: Any vehicle without motive power used or so manufactured or constructed as to permit its being used as a conveyance upon public highways or streets; so designed and so constructed as to permit residential occupancy thereof, whether attached or unattached to a permanent foundation. Mobile homes shall include any such vehicle with motive power not registered as a motor vehicle in Iowa. A mobile home is not built to a mandatory building code, contains no state or federal seals, and was built before June 15, 1976. Mobile homes to be used for dwelling purposes shall be placed only in an approved mobile home park.

17. Mobile Home Park or Trailer Park: Any lot, parcel or portion thereof having an area of at least five (5) acres upon which three (3) or more mobile homes or trailers occupied for residential purposes are located regardless of whether or not a charge is made for such accommodations; and provided further that said Mobile Home Park shall provide a minimum of three thousand (3,000) square feet per mobile home unit, and maintain front, side, and rear yard areas around said park of at least thirty (30) feet. Each mobile home within said park must maintain at least twenty (20) feet of front, side, and rear yard from all other adjacent mobile homes. Further provided that said Mobile Home Park shall be licensed in accordance with the provisions of the regulatory agencies of the State of Iowa.

18. Residence: Any building or portion thereof which is designed or used exclusively for residential purposes, but not including a tent, cabin, trailer or mobile home.

19. Residential accessory use: A building or structure customarily used in conjunction with a dwelling, namely a garage with a capacity of not more than three (3) cars or more than one garage per apartment building nor more than one stall per dwelling unit, a tool or “summer” house not exceeding 150 square feet floor area, or a private swimming pool properly fenced and screened. Any other building on residential property shall not be deemed a residential accessory use if not incidental to a residential purpose, nor if it is used in conjunction with or for the business of selling goods or rendering services.

20. School: A building used for educational purposes, public or private, that is regulated by the state department of public instruction as to curriculum.
21. Sign: Any identification, description, illustration or device illuminated or non-illuminated which is visible from any public place or is located on private property and exposed to the public and which directs attention to a product, service, place, activity, person, institution, business or solicitation, including any permanently installed or situated merchandise; or any emblem, painting, banner, pennant, placard or temporary sign designed to advertise, identify or convey information with the exception of window displays and national flags.

22. Yard: An open space on the same lot with a building or structure unoccupied and unobstructed by any portion of a structure from twenty-four (24) inches above the general ground level of the graded lot upward. In measuring a yard for the purpose of determining the depth of a front yard or the depth of a rear yard, the least distance between the lot line and the main building shall be used. In measuring a yard for the purpose of determining the width of a side yard, the least distance between the lot line and nearest permitted building shall be used.

23. Yard. Front: A yard extending across the full width of the lot and measured between the front lot line and the building. “Front” shall be determined from the street where the address is derived.

24. Yard. Rear: A yard extending across the full width of the lot and measured between the rear lot line and the building or any projections other than steps, unenclosed balconies or unenclosed porches. On both corner lots and interior lots the opposite end of the lot from the front yard.

25. Yard. Side: A yard extending from the front yard to the rear yard and measured between the side lot lines and the nearest building.


The Official Restricted Residence District Map is on file with the City Clerk and is made a part of this Ordinance. Said map delineates various areas of the City into the following classifications:

“R-l” – Restricted Residence District
“N-R”- Non-residential District

For the purpose of this Ordinance, all restrictions described herein are applicable in the “R-l” Restricted Residence District. All district boundary lines shown on the official map correspond with property lines, street lines or center lines of right-of-way. In the case of a district boundary line which divides a property of single ownership, the City Council may make such boundary line adjustments as to place said lot of single ownership in or out of the Restricted Residence District.

All land that is hereafter annexed to the City of Fertile shall be automatically classified as being in an R-l Restricted Residence District until such classification is changed by amendment of this Ordinance, as provided herein.


A. Building Permit Required in All Districts.

1. All buildings or other structures, hereafter erected, reconstructed, altered, repaired, or occupied within the corporate limits shall be required to first secure from the City a permit therefor. Permits for residences, schoolhouses, churches, and other similar structures within the Restricted Residence District, and for structures outside the Restricted Residence District, shall be applied for and are required, but shall be issued by the Building Official if the requirements of this and other applicable City Ordinances are met. Structures proposed within the Restricted Residence District that do not comply with the provisions of this ordinance as determined by the Building Official shall be required to obtain a Special Permit according to 7-1-6 and 7-1-7.

2. A building permit shall not be issued for any buildings that do not comply with this or any other Ordinance of the City of Fertile. The Building Official may revoke a permit or approval, issued under the provisions of this Ordinance, if a false statement or misrepresentation was made by the applicant on the application or plans on which permit approval was based.

3. If construction, as covered by the building permit, is not initiated within one (1) year from the date of permit issuance, said permit shall be void.

4. There shall be a $35.00 fee for a building permit.

B. Non-Conforming Uses and Lots in the Restricted Residence District.

1. A lawful, or authorized, nonconforming use existing at the time of adoption of this Ordinance may be continued, maintained, repaired, or sold to another party. Said nonconforming use may not be enlarged, expanded or changed, nor shall it occupy more lot area than was in use on the effective date of this Ordinance unless the Official Restricted Residence Ordinance Map is amended or a Special Permit is granted.

2. If said lawful non-conforming use, or any portion thereof, is discontinued, either voluntarily by the owner or through the sale of the property or business, for a period of one (1) year or more, any future use of such land shall be in conformity with the provisions of the “R-l” Restricted Residence District unless the Official Restricted Residence Ordinance Map is amended or a Special Permit is granted.

3. Where two (2) or more vacant and contiguous substandard recorded lots are held in common ownership, they shall be combined into zoning lots and shall thereafter be maintained in common ownership and shall be so joined and developed for implementing this Ordinance. The razing of a building on a substandard lot shall constitute the formation of a vacant lot.

C. Rules and Regulations.

1. As permitted under Section 414.24 of the Code of Iowa, there are hereby adopted the following rules and regulations for the erection, reconstruction, altering, and repairing of buildings of all kinds within restricted districts established by this Ordinance for the use and occupancy of such buildings, and for the granting of permits to erect, reconstruct, alter, or repair any structure other than a residence, residential accessory use, school, church, or church school within said districts.


The following regulations shall apply in all areas designated in the “R-l” Restricted Residence District.

A. Principal Permitted Uses (Only one (1) principal permitted use shall be allowed per lot, including lots of record).

1. Dwellings or residences.

2. Churches, cathedrals, temples, and similar places of worship.

3. Public and parochial schools, including elementary and secondary schools.

4. Fire stations.

5. Publicly owned parks, playgrounds, golf courses, libraries, and recreation areas.

6. Agricultural uses, including nurseries and truck gardens; provided that no offensive odors or dust are created, and provided further, that no retail sales shall be permitted on the premises. This shall not be construed to include the operation of livestock feed lots or auctions, public stables, boarding kennels or veterinary clinics or such similar uses.

7. Mobile Home Parks may be established provided approval is granted by the City Council after a public hearing has been held pursuant to the establishment of such use.

8. Multiple dwellings, including row dwellings consisting of not more than six (6) units in a continuous row, cooperative apartment house, and condominium dwellings.

9. Boarding and rooming houses.

10. Nursing, convalescent and retirement homes.

11. Uses other than those permitted in this section may be erected, reconstructed, altered, or placed provided the City Council shall have approved, by Special Permit, the said erection, reconstruction, alteration, or placement of the use.

B. Permitted Accessory Uses.

1. Customary home occupation as a secondary use carried on entirely within the residence not including any garage or other building or structure not designed and used for daily, human habitation and where there is no evidence of such occupation being conducted on the premises by virtue of signs, or displays, or excessive noise, odors, electrical disturbances, or traffic generation, except one (1) sign not larger than two (2) square feet in area.

2. A residential accessory building or structure customarily used in conjunction with a dwelling, namely, a garage, a tool or utility building, or a private swimming pool properly fenced and screened. Any other building on residential property shall not be deemed a residential accessory use if not incidental to a residential purpose, or if it is used in conjunction with or for the business of selling goods or rendering services.

C. Lot and Building Regulations. (Minimum requirements)

1. Lot area:

One family dwelling – 8,700 square feet.
Two family dwelling – 8,700 square feet.
Multiple family or other permitted use – 9,000 square feet.

2. Lot area per dwelling unit:

Multiple dwellings – 3,000 square feet each for the first four (4) units, plus 850 square feet per additional unit.

3. Lot width:

One family dwelling – 66 feet.
Two family dwelling – 66 feet.
Multiple family dwelling and other permitted uses – 66 feet.

4. Front yard: No residential building or residential accessory use building shall be erected hereafter on a lot closer to the street property line on which it fronts than the set back of the nearest adjacent existing building except that no new construction shall be made closer than twenty feet (20), nor shall any construction be required to be built with its front further than thirty (30) feet from said front property line. Any lot situated at the junction of two (2) or more streets shall provide a side yard of not less than fifteen (15) feet in every instance where the side property line is adjacent to a public street. Schools and churches are exempt from the front yard and corner side yard setback requirements.

5. Side yards: Five (5) foot setback for all principally permitted uses.
Accessory Building – unattached in rear yard a minimum setback distance of six (6) feet from the principal building; may be no closer than three (3) feet of side yard lines.

6. Rear yard: Twenty (20) foot setback for all principally permitted uses.
Accessory Building – unattached in rear yard a minimum setback distance of six (6) feet from the principal building; may be no closer than three (3) feet of rear yard lines.

7. Maximum height: Principal building – Forty-five (45) feet except that for each one (1) foot that the building or a portion of it sets back beyond the required front, side, and rear yards, one (1) foot may be added to the height limit of such building or portion thereof, provided, however, that no building shall exceed a height of seventy-five (75) feet.

Accessory building – Twenty (20) feet.

8. Maximum number of stories: Principal building – Four (4) stories.
Accessory building – One and one half (1½) stories.

9. Maximum rear yard coverage for an accessory building(s): Forty percent (40%).

D. Fence Regulations.

Fences are permitted in any yard and may be constructed on the property lines in the Restricted Residence District except as herein provided. Fences or walls shall not in any case exceed a height of six (6) feet, except such fences or walls shall not exceed a height of four (4) feet in the front yard. Privacy type fences shall not be permitted in the front yard regardless of height.

E. Parking Requirements.

There shall be a minimum of two (2) off-street parking spaces per dwelling unit required in the Restricted Residence District. A parking space shall be defined as a surfaced area, enclosed or unenclosed having an area of not less than two hundred (200) square feet plus necessary maneuvering space for the parking of a motor vehicle, and connected with a street or alley by a surfaced driveway which affords the satisfactory ingress and egress for automobiles. Said space shall not encroach upon any public right-of-way; nor shall said space be permitted in the required front yard except upon a driveway providing access to a garage, carport or designated parking area in the side or rear yard of the lot. This provision shall also apply to all mobile homes, as herein defined.


Construction of clinics, offices, hospitals, utility buildings and substations, any type of commercial stores and warehouses, plant nurseries, farm buildings, and industrial buildings and structures may be authorized by special permit to locate within the Restricted Residence District only if it appears that said use and type of building will be compatible with the residential character of the district, and that the particular use could not practicably be built in an unrestricted area, or the restricted district boundaries amended logically, due to topography, access to railroad or highway or other proper reason acceptable to Council.


With the exception of the principal and accessory uses stated in this Ordinance, a written special permit shall be required for the erection, reconstruction, alteration, or repair of any building and for its occupancy and use within the Restricted Residential District of this City. Said permit shall be applied for in writing on a properly completed application form provided by the Building Official that is accompanied by plans and specifications sufficient to determine compliance with applicable ordinances of the City. Said application shall be made to the Building Official at least twenty-one (21) days before the City Council meeting at which the request for Council action is made.

No permit shall or will be granted until a public hearing has been conducted by the City Council at a regularly scheduled meeting. Notice of the public hearing shall be posted in three (3) public places within the City as designated by ordinance at least seven (7) days, but not more than twenty (20) days, prior to the hearing. As a courtesy and in addition to posting, the notice of hearing shall be provided to property owners within two hundred (200) feet of the property in question. Notice to property owners shall be mailed at least seven (7) days, but not more than twenty (20) days, prior to hearing. The applicant shall be responsible to provide a list of the names and addresses of the property owners, who are to receive said courtesy notice, together with addressed envelopes with pre-paid first (1st) class postage thereon to the Building Official who shall then mail the notices to the property owners.

After a public hearing is conducted, but prior to consideration of a special permit, the City Council shall weigh the application using the following special permit standards. The City Council shall find that:

1. The establishment, maintenance, or operation of the special permit will not be detrimental to, or endanger, the public health, safety, or general welfare of the City;

2. The special permit will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property already permitted, nor substantially diminish or impair property values of the neighborhood;

3. The establishment of special permits will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district;

4. Adequate utilities and public services (e.g. police and fire protection, sewer and water service), access roads, drainage and/or necessary facilities have been or are being provided;

5. Adequate measures have been or will be taken to provide ingress and egress so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets;

6. The special permit shall, in all other respects, conform to the applicable regulations and ordinances of the City of Fertile; and

7. A properly noticed public hearing, as outlined in this Section, was conducted by the City Council prior to special permit consideration.

After a public hearing is conducted and consideration has been given to the above standards, the City Council shall act on the special permit application. The Council may either approve, deny, or table a special permit application by simple majority roll call vote unless sixty (60) percent of the surrounding property owners who received notice object to the special permit application in which case the City Council shall be bound by different voting requirements in that granting a special permit shall then require an affirmative three-fourths (3/4) vote of all the members of the City Council. Each special permit application shall be accompanied by a check payable to the City of Fertile or a cash payment in the amount of twenty dollars ($35.00) to cover processing costs.


From time to time the City Council may wish to amend, change, or alter provisions of this Ordinance and/or the Official Map, which is a part of this Ordinance. Such amendments, changes, or alterations is hereby allowed, provided that prior to such amendment a public hearing be held at which time all parties involved in such an amendment including those in adjacent properties may be heard. Notice of the public hearing pertaining to amendments, changes, or alterations of this Ordinance shall be made in accordance with the Special Permit procedures for conducting such hearings, as defined herein. Upon adoption, publication, and recordation by the City Council, such amendments, changes, or alterations shall become effective.


Any building or structure erected, altered, repaired or used in violation of this Ordinance passed by the City Council of Fertile, Iowa, shall be deemed a nuisance, and the City Council may provide for the abatement of such nuisance through the procedures outlined in the City’s Code of Ordinances.


Within fifteen (15) days after this Ordinance becomes effective the Clerk shall prepare or have prepared a plat of the restricted residence district as established by this Ordinance and certify such Ordinance and plat to the County Recorder.

7-1-11 VALIDITY.

Should any section, provision, or part of this Ordinance be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, or unconstitutional, that decision shall not affect the validity of the Ordinance as a whole or any section, provision, or part thereof, not adjudged invalid or unconstitutional.

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