What is the "farm exemption" and what qualifies for the exemption?
The State of Iowa has given counties the authority to develop zoning regulations and to adopt building codes for their unincorporated areas. However, the State has declared that farms should be able to operate relatively free from local restrictions. This "right to farm" is contained in the following sections from the Code of Iowa:

335.2 Farms exempt.

Except to the extent required to implement section 335.27, no ordinance adopted under this chapter applies to land, farm houses, farm barns, farm outbuildings or other buildings or structures which are primarily adapted, by reason of nature and area, for use for agricultural purposes, while so used. However, the ordinances may apply to any structure, building, dam, obstruction, deposit or excavation in or on the flood plains of any river or stream.

331.304.3.b Farms exempt.

A county building code shall not apply to farm houses or other farm buildings which are primarily adapted for use for agricultural purposes, while so used or under construction for that use.

Even though the State exempts farms from zoning and building regulations, it has provided few guidelines as to what should be considered a farm. In order to qualify under the agricultural exemption, it must be clearly demonstrated that the principal use of the land and the proposed building(s) is farm-related. This includes proposed dwellings, and that the occupants of the dwelling are primarily engaged in agriculture.

We strongly encourage anyone wishing to claim the exemption - especially for a new house - to contact us prior to the start of construction to determine if the exemption is appropriate. The farm exemption applies only to Linn County zoning and building regulations. Other permits (such as floodplain development, well, septic, E911 address or driveway access) may be required. Please contact the appropriate county department for information.

We may be reached at (319) 892-5130 or you may submit an information request by contacting us at plan_dev@linncounty.org.

Ag Exemption Packet & Application

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1. How do I find out who owns a certain property in Linn County?
2. What is the "farm exemption" and what qualifies for the exemption?
3. Does the office of Linn County Planning and Development accept public speaking engagements?
4. How do I contact area City building and zonings departments?
5. Where can I get septic and well permits for construction in Linn County?
6. Where do I get a burning permit for Linn County?
7. What are the hours of the Linn County Planning & Development Office?
8. Where is the office of Linn County Planning & Development located?
9. Where do I find important dates for Linn County Planning and Development?
10. What utilities are available in my area?
11. Can I build a garage or shed on my property in rural Linn County?
12. Who do I call about drainage issues?
13. Who do I ask about my subdivision covenants?
14. What are the regulations for putting a mobile or manufactured home on my property in rural Linn County?
15. Can I view aerial photos of Linn County on the internet?
16. Where do I go to get an address for my property?
17. What is a certain property or area designated on Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map?
18. Is there a deadline for submitting my application for next month's agenda?