Agreement getting close on contentious Des Moines zoning code

DES MOINES, Iowa - Developers and the Des Moines City Council could be close close to agreement on a new zoning code that has proven to be a contentious issue in recent months.

Dan Knoup with the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines says a wide gap over requirements for new homes has been been narrowed. "Ninety-five percent of what's happening in the metro and in the city of Des Moines will be accommodated by the newly negotiated levels of the ordincane," said Knoup.

Knoup is hopeful the two sides can reach an agreement before the city council meets again to address the zoning code later this month.

The city was wants to increase property values and streamline the building process while developers want to keep housing costs affordable.

Knoup credits a closer agreement on square footage requirements for new homes, which had been a major sticking point.

"We're not talking about going down to Easter Lake at putting an 840 square foot house next to a 2,000 square foot ranch (home)," Knoup said. "We're talking about putting it in those neighborhoods where those homes already exist."

Knoup says a few stipulations in the code still need to be hashed out, including the definition of "multi-family homes". "You've got three, four, five, six-plexes, that's vastly different than a 10 unit apartment complex that's going to have 3,000 people living in it," said Knoup

He said the percentage of vinyl siding allowed for single and multi-family homes must also be ironed out.

The city is trying to update the zoning code for the first time in 50 years.

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