After the property has been properly Zoned and Platted, you are ready to start the building process. A new structure must meet the setback requirements for that parcel’s zoning district. A current list of the setback requirements is available in the Planning and Zoning office. If the building will not meet the setback requirements for one or more of the front, side or rear yards, a Variance application must be submitted to the Board of Adjustment for their approval.

A Variance can only be requested for a hardship due to literal enforcement of the provisions of this Ordinance, not to seek special privileges.

Property owners within 200’ of the parcel requiring a Variance are notified of a Public Hearing. They are invited to come and speak either for or against the request. After all of the information is presented and everyone has an opportunity to be heard, the Board of Adjustment makes a final decision whether to allow or not allow the Variance. If the Variance is allowed, a Decision of the Board of Adjustment is prepared for the property owners to sign in the presence of a Notary. If the Variance is not allowed, changes will need to be made regarding the proposed building on the lot. This process normally takes 30-60 days.

Application Fee: $150 (plus cost of certified letters & recording fee)


  1. The Application must be signed by all property owners and, if applicable, at least one applicant. Note: If the sale of the property is pending, the current owner is also required to attend the meeting in addition to the applicant.
  2. Attach a Site Plan of the property drawn on an 8 1/2”x 11” sheet of paper (does not have to be drawn to scale). The Site Plan should show the size of the lot; dimensions and location of principal building(s) on the lot; dimensions and location of new structures to be built on the lot; location of the well & septic systems and setbacks of any new structures to property lines and road Right-Of-Way (R-O-W). The road R-O-W is an easement for access purposes.
  3. Include 1 or 2 Photographs of the property (or—to allow more time for developing photos, you may bring them to the meeting.) Please mark on the pictures with a magic marker the area in question or the new construction.
  4. Include a check in the amount of $150.00 (non-refundable) for the filing fee, payable to: Dubuque County Treasurer. Certified Letters will be mailed 10-14 days before the meeting to surrounding property owners within 500’ of the parcel in question for a Special Use Permit and within 200’ of the parcel in question for a Variance. The certified letter mailing fees can be paid for later in the process.
  5. Return all documents to the Dubuque County Zoning Office located at:

    13047 City View Drive (across from the Julien Care Facility) Dubuque, IA 52002

    Meetings are held in the Fire Training Center located at
    14928 Public Safety Way (off Seippel Rd.) W-Classroom

  6. You will receive a Meeting Notice 10-14 days before the meeting. Attached will be an aerial map of the property. A list of the surrounding property owner’s names and addresses will also be included for your information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Zoning Office at 563-589-7827.