Guidelines to Building

Building in the Unincorporated Portion of Winneshiek County

If you are thinking of building a home outside of the city limits in Winneshiek County there are rules and regulations that apply. There are steps you can take to make the process easier and avoid some of the pitfalls commonly encountered. The following rules and tips, taken in order, will assure you of being able to build your dream house on that perfect spot in the country.

First of all, do your homework. Before you purchase a piece of property, a visit to the Zoning Office and Auditors Office in the County Courthouse can be very useful, and it’s free. They can help you determine if the property is suited for the purpose you have in mind and whether it will be in compliance with the rules and regulations of Winneshiek County. Next, contact the County Sanitarian and find out if the site is suitable for a septic system. Not all lots are buildable sites. These steps can save you time and money.

A building lot must be at least 1 acre in size, excluding any road right-of-way. There are building setbacks from the lot line that vary from zone to zone which must be met. Provisions for a safe driveway and a good functioning septic system must be made. The number of homes that can be built on a quarter quarter section is limited by the zoning of the area and what is already in existence. These are just some of the questions that you can get answers for at the Court House.

After you have purchased your building site you’ll need to do the following steps in order to get your building permit.

  1. The Winneshiek County Engineer’s office will check the safety of your driveway and make recommendations for the location and size of culvert needed. They will also assign the 911 address to the property.
  2. The County Sanitarian will help you site your well and septic system to make sure you have a safe water supply and determine how large a leech field will be needed. You may contact the Sanitarian at 563-387-4120.
  3. The Zoning office will then issue you a building permit.

If you have any questions about building in the country visit the Winneshiek County Zoning office or call 563-387-4080, we’ll be glad to help.