Amusement Recreation, such as miniature golf, billiard or bowling centers and game arcades, will be allowed on West Washington and Main Street with a special use permit.

City officials passed the second reading of the ordinance at their first meeting of the year on Jan. 7. It will allow Amusement Recreation land uses by private businesses or organizations in the Commercial Mixed-Use (CUC) zoning district. The ordinance is the result of requests from potential businesses to use the district for this purpose.

The CUC district, which generally extends on West Washington and Main Street, contains both residential and commercial properties. Based on land-use compatibility in the area, the city says potential conflicts could occur between different land uses. Therefore, potential businesses and organizations must obtain a special use permit and will be subject to review by the Board of Adjustment.

The board will conduct public hearings prior to considering a special use permit. The ordinance also states the board will have the authority to revoke a permit if the operation violates any conditions under which the permit was granted.

Additionally, a second ordinance was passed to define and regulate urban garden land uses. This land use was originally requested by Sprigs ‘n Sprouts, a nonprofit organization that supplies organically-grown produce for the Pella Community Food Shelf.

Urban gardens can be utilized in the following zoning districts after obtaining a special use permit:

  • Institutional (INS)
  • Community Commercial (CC)
  • Limited/Light Industrial (M1)
  • Heaving Industrial (M2)

Urban gardens are allowed by right in Rural Residential (RR) and Agricultural (A1), which do not require a permit.

A special use permit is required for the former zoning districts because urban gardens are usually larger than private gardens on vacant lots, and they often bring more people and activity to the site. Retail customers brought to potential sites could require parking, lighting, signage issues, and buildings/stands for retail sales. They can also include more intense and complex operations, like larger equipment, pesticide/herbicide use, beekeeping and animals.

The permit would allow the Board of Adjustment to address these use conflicts, which often cannot be addressed through a single definition. It also allows the board to consider concerns from neighboring properties and identify options for mitigating them. If there are too many conflicts to overcome, the board has the authority to deny an application.

In other news:

  • Six financial businesses were named as depositories for city funds, with deposit levels of $30 million. The businesses include Bank Iowa, Leighton State Bank, Marion County Bank, MidWestOne Bank, US Bank and Wells Fargo.
  • Kristine Stone was reappointed as the city attorney. She has served as the city’s attorney since 2018.
  • Council held a Policy and Planning meeting to discuss a new development agreement for senior housing with Harvest Investments, the Sidewalk Repair Project Bid and a timeline to discuss the city’s 2020-2021 budget. Official action will be taken for these items during upcoming city council meetings.

Emily Hawk can be reached at or by calling the newsroom at 641-628-3882.

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