201 East Pleasant Street, Maquoketa, IA 52060
(563) 652-2484

Building Inspections

Mallory Smith, Building Inspector
Maquoketa City Hall
201 East Pleasant Street, Maquoketa, IA 52060
Phone: 563-652-2484
Email: mallorysmith@maquoketaia.com

Rental Permits & Inspections

Maquoketa requires rental properties to be licensed annually and inspected regularly. Before being offered for rent, a new rental property must be registered with the City. The transfer of ownership of an active rental property must be registered as well. A Rental Registration Form is used for both cases and should be completed and returned to City Hall with payment if applicable.

Maquoketa’s rental registration and inspection program is designed to protect the health and safety of tenants and their neighbors. It also serves to encourage good property maintenance. Click on the link for a list of Maquoketa Rental Property Standards.

If you see a problem in a rental property that is not being addressed you may be able to request an inspection by filing a complaint. Please use the Inspection Request Form to share your concern.

Zoning & Building Permits

The City of Maquoketa is divided into 10 zoning districts each with specific requirements for uses, setbacks, height and parking. If you have questions about an upcoming construction project or remodeling please contact City Hall for the rules specific to your area. Building permits are required for most projects, the fee is based on project value. Maquoketa enforces its zoning code but does not currently have a building inspection code that would include construction inspections. The State of Iowa may have permit requirements for electrical projects, please check at State Fire Marshall – electrical and for the latest information.

Building permit forms can be picked up at City Hall or downloaded here. To see the residential setback requirements for all three residential zones click here. For regulations regarding accessory buildings such as garages and sheds click here.

The State of Iowa licenses generalelectricalplumbing and mechanical contractors, click on the category to search.

Below we have listed some frequently asked questions about zoning, for more information please contact Maquoketa City Hall, 201 East Pleasant Street, Maquoketa, IA 52060, 563-652-2484.

Frequently Asked Questions About: Zoning
The following questions are some of the ones that we hear most often on the topic of “Zoning:”

When do I need a building permit?

A building permit is almost always required for any type of activity that will change the exterior dimensions of existing structures or when a new structure is being placed on a property. A building permit is also required for any sign that is painted or placed on a structure. More specifically, the City ordinance states:

“5-1Q-2 It shall be unlawful to commence or to proceed with the erection, construction, reconstruction, conversion, alteration, enlargement, extension, raising or moving of any building or structure, fences or parking lots, or any portion thereof, without first having applied in writing to the Building Official for a building permit to do so and a building permit has been granted therefore.”

“5-1O-2-1 A permanent sign shall not be painted or placed on a structure prior to the issuance of a building permit for the sign.”

Do I need a building permit even when I put up a small shed or what I would consider to be a temporary/portable structure?

Yes, a building permit is needed.

The construction of a deck and/or pool also requires a building permit.

How do setbacks work with accessory buildings?

An accessory building is a structure such as a detached garage or a a storage shed. A parcel must have a principal structure in order to have an accessory building.

The rules for accessory building setbacks are as follows:
“5-1K-4 ACCESSORY BUILDINGS, AREA AND LOCATION.

  1. Location. Accessory buildings may be built in a required rear yard, but such accessory buildings shall not occupy more than fifty percent (50%) of the required rear yard area and shall not be nearer than two feet (2′) to any side or rear lot lines and shall be located ten feet (10′) or more in back of or behind the main building. The two foot side yard setback shall be measured from the overhang or eve of the building.
  2. Distance from the Main Building. If the accessory building is located closer than ten feet (10′) to the main building, then the accessory building shall be regarded as part of the main building for purposes of determining side and rear yard areas.
  3. Entrance from Alley. If the accessory building is a garage which is entered from an alley and is not located closer than ten feet (10′) to the main building, then there shall be a rear yard of not less than ten feet (10′).
  4. Height Restriction. No accessory building in a residential district shall be erected, converted, enlarged, reconstructed, or structurally altered to exceed fifteen (15′) in height at the highest point from the ground level.”

What are the regulations for fences?

Fences require a building permit but are not charged a fee. Things to consider before installing a fence include location of property lines and easements and well as height restriction.

“5-1N-1 SIZE AND VISIBILITY. No fence or hedge more than 3 feet high, 4 feet if it is a woven wire fence, may be located in the front yard setback. Fences or hedges of up to six feet high may be erected on those parts of a lot that are further back from a street than the front yard setback. A corner lot has a double front yard setback. Any fence built in an easement is subject to removal at the owner’s expense.

5-1N-2 PERMITS Permits are required for all residential fences proposed for construction in front yard set back areas. Permits are required for all public, commercial, and industrial use fences.”

Can the City help me locate my property line?

No, to be certain of the location of your property line consult a surveyor.

Are the setback different for a corner lot?

Corner lots are considered to have two frontages so they must meet the setback requirements for front yard on both sides facing streets.

Where do I measure from for the front setback?

The front setback starts at the point where the property abuts the public right-of-way. The best way to find this line is with a survey. There are two unofficial, “rule of thumb” methods that can be used to find approximately where a property begins:

  1. Call City Hall to learn how wide the street right-of-way is on the plat map. From the center of the street, measure half that distance of the street right-of-way. This method assumes that the middle of the street is in the exact middle of the right-of-way, and that is not always the case.
  2. If there is a sidewalk, it is likely located in the right-of-way close to the property line. Not all sidewalks are set back from the street by the same distance so this method may not be accurate either.

What is a variance and how is one granted?

When a property owner cannot be granted a building permit under the current guidelines, he/she may apply for a variance which is permission to vary from the rules.

Download and complete a variance application or get a copy of the form at City Hall. Return the signed permit application along with the $50 fee and a list of names and addresses of property owners within 200 feet of your property to City Hall. A public hearing will be set with the Zoning Board of Adjustment to consider your request. Please keep in mind that if a variance is required, the approval of the variance is required before a building permit will be issued and before any work may be begin.

Can a mobile home be set up outside of an existing trailer park?

Yes, but special requirements exist which are listed below. Installing a mobile home in a Mobile Home Park or in a residential area requires a building permit.

  1. The home shall be located in a R-1 or R-2 district of the City of Maquoketa.
  2. The home shall comply in all respects with the zoning regulations applicable to the R-1 zone.
  3. The home shall have a permanent foundation system, in all respects the same as the foundation required of a site-built home.
  4. The home shall meet minimum square footage requirement of a site built home which is nine hundred and sixty square feet. The home shall be assessed and taxed as a site-built dwelling on the lot.”

Can I run a business out of my home?

Businesses in residential neighborhoods are known as home occupations and they are regulated in Title 5, R-1 Districts. Please consult with the Property Maintenance Inspector about your home business.

  • A. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry on a business, profession, occupation or trade at a residence in an area of the City zoned R-1 or R-2 or R-3 or A-1, unless the person has applied for and received a permit to do so or has obtained an exemption under 5-1D-8-(3) from the Home Occupations Inspector. Each day that this Ordinance is violated shall be a separate violation of this Ordinance.