Des Moines Continues Talks With Controversial Building Codes

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines city leaders are overhauling the city’s development code for the first time in over five decades.

Residents packed Monday night's meeting for the sixth revision since May.  The city is proposing new building codes that would set criteria for square footage and design standards in Des Moines neighborhoods. The proposal is getting plenty of pushback.  Eleven Des Moines businesses, unions, and non-profit organizations have signed onto a letter asking the city council to reconsider.

After hearing complaints from organizations like the Homebuilders Association and United Way of Central Iowa, the code proposal now removed requirements for a garage on most homes as long as they are equipped with a storage shed.

Opponents also worried square footage requirements would price out a large portion of potential homebuyers in Des Moines.  In response, city leaders added an 18 percent reduction variance on the original requirement of a 1,400-square-foot single story and 1,800-square-foot two-story home. Builders wishing to build outside of the proposed standards can do so but will need zoning and council approval.  While some critics are glad city leaders are listening, they are still hoping for more.

City leaders have also revised the maximum limit on non owner-occupied temporary rentals to 120 days instead of the previous 90-day proposal.  A second reading for the city building code is scheduled for September 23.

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