Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge, says if she’s elected governor she’d push to institute a comprehensive plan to protect Iowa’s natural resources. Judge, a democrat, says the fight over where to locate large-scale livestock facilities has shown the need for such a plan.
She says many counties don’t have any land use plan and Judge says the legislature’s been struggling with this for about ten years and it’s time to get a comprehensive land use plan in place. Judge says the plan would cover more than agriculture. She says she’ll create a commission that will require a land use plan to be submitted from each county and the commission will review the plans to be sure that they cover residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural and recreational opportunities.
Judge says the plan “must work, and it must be enforceable.” She says it sets a framework for development and lets people know what places in a county are suitable for residential development, industrial development and what places are suitable for developing livestock. Local residents may be concerned that the plan would be too restrictive — but Judge says the restrictions are something that’re needed.
Judge says she thinks the counties that have enacted the comprehensive land-use plans are glad they have. She says the negatives are outweighed by the positives in gaining some control over the growth of the county. Judge says the plans need to be uniform among counties. Judge says that would be the purpose of the commission that she proposes, so that the plans are comprehensive and also compatible from county to county. The plan also calls for moving the licensing and regulation of livestock confinements from the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture. Judge is currently serving her second term as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, and prior to that was a state senator.