County Office Hours

M - F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Drivers License Hours

M - F 8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Public Health Services Hours

M - F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Clerk of Court Hours

M W F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
T Th 8:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Buena Vista County, Iowa - Beautiful View

Contact Zoning

Kim Johnson

Courthouse 215 E. 5th
P.O. Box 301
Storm Lake, IA 50588
P: (712) 749-2555
F: 712) 749-2566


Zoning (335) and Floodplain ADM

Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors adopted Zoning in 1966 in order to help protect ag land, have uniform development, and to help ensure the property values of its citizens. The county has seven different zoning classifications including Prime Ag A-1, Limited Ag A-2, Mobile Home MH, Residential (Single family) R-1, Residential (Multifamily) R-2, Commercial C-1, and Industrial I-1.

Each of these classifications has different allowed uses and setback requirements.

In addition, The Board of Supervisors adopted a Floodplain Management Ordinance in 2011 as required by State code.  This ordinance is to help lower the risk during a flood event.  By limiting the development along our rivers and streams we increase our chances that there is not loss of life or catastrophic loss of property during a flood event. 

Planning & Zoning

Buena Vista County, along with most communities, has a zoning ordinance that requires a zoning compliance permit for any new construction or expansion of a building. Although the county and each city have their own ordinances and set of rules, the general theme is usually similar.

Prior to construction of any structure in Buena Vista County, whether or not is part of a farming operation, an application for a zoning compliance permit must be submitted for review and approval.The purpose of the Zoning compliance Permit is to ensure that the proposed construction meets certain conditions set out for the district in which it is located. The following items are considered when reviewing a permit:

1. The determination is made if the propose building is to be used for Agricultural purposes. If it is for agriculture, the building is granted an exemption and no requirements are placed on the building. Iowa Code exempts agricultural buildings from zoning requirements.

2. If the proposed structure is non-farm related, a determination is made concerning the zoning district in which the proposed building will be located, and its use. A commercial building cannot be built in a residential district, and industrial businesses cannot locate in any other district to keep them separated due to noise, dust and traffic.

3. Lot sizes and set back requirements from property lines vary for each district. Front yard, side yard, and rear yard set backs are described in the zoning ordinances and the property owner is made aware of the appropriate distances at the time of application.

4. Special requirements may apply to various districts or uses. Building heights, accessory structures such as sheds, garages and such also have unique requirements.

5. Other considerations are given when an application is received. If there is a property split or new lot created, Subdivision Regulations may apply.

The purpose of land use planning and zoning is to protect property owners from encroachment of uses that are not compatible. The Zoning Commissions in each county and city make recommendations to the Boards of Supervisors and City Councils on where zoning districts should be located, and what type of restrictions should be put into place. Each property owner has a right to do what they want to with their land, unless it infringes on the use and enjoyment of the surrounding property owners. That is why land use plans are developed with public input, and zoning ordinances are created to control development in the best interest of the public as a whole.

Do you need a zoning compliance permit? The answer is yes. Check with your city office, or if you are located outside the city limits, call the Buena Vista County Zoning Administrator at (712) 749-2555.