Board of Adjustment Denies Review

A Request for an administrative review came before the Sioux Center Board of Adjustments from a group of concerned neighbors wondering about the designation and legality of the construction of a house in their neighborhood.  The home being built by Hope Haven is already under construction and will eventually house Hope Haven clients.  According to residents bringing the review request, their concern comes from information found on the construction permit that seems to contradict the actual zoning ordinance of the city.  They were concerned the city changed the zoning for the property without a public hearing, and without providing information to the neighborhood.

Sioux Center Building Code Official Joel Gonzalez explains that on the building permit submitted by Hope Haven, the R-3 designation refers to the use of the structure, not the type.  Sioux Center City Attorney Brian Van Engen says that designation comes from the International Building Code and does reflect what the property is zoned for. 

After more questions and clarification, the Board of Adjustments took comments from Hope Haven CEO Matt Buley.  Buley says words from Leviticus direct the mission of Hope Haven, to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Buley says the people who will live in this house will be good neighbors.

He says it’s about inclusivity.

Hope Haven legal counsel told Buley that to refuse housing like this “violates the Fair Housing Act, and the law is on your side.”  The Board of Adjustment moved at the end of discussions to deny the request for an administrative review and allow plans to continue for the new home for Hope Haven clients. 

Hope Haven started in 1964 as a school providing education to individuals with disabilities.  As more students from far away enrolled, the need for housing became a serious need.  Families opened their homes to host these students, and soon Hope Haven began providing their own housing for them.