Rodney Pritchard / Monona City Hall ◦ BOA - Chapter 21
February 13, 2013
405 W. Dull Street, POB 385 BY EMAIL ONLY
Monona, IA 52159
RE: Formal Complaint 13FC:0040, concerning the Board of Adjustment, City of Monona, Iowa
Dear Mr. Pritchard:
On December 10, 2013, you filed a formal complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) alleging that the Board of Adjustment, City of Monona, Iowa (BOA) held an illegally closed meeting on October 16, 2013, during which they improperly denied your request for a variance on your garage size.
Investigation by this office revealed that there was a BOA meeting on that date. The minutes indicate that the BOA held a public hearing concerning the variance and then closed the public hearing, notifying all present that a written decision would be mailed to you. At that time you left, believing the entire open meeting to have ended. After you left, the BOA continued discussion of your request and voted to deny it.
The BOA did not hold a closed session in this instance, although it was certainly not unreasonable for you to think that the meeting was ending. Because of your confusion and in light of the importance of this decision, this office asked the BOA to rehear the variance. This was requested, and agreed upon by the BOA, not as any indication of wrong-doing by the BOA, but to avoid any future challenges. The rehearing was held. You and your attorney were present for the entire hearing.
Pursuant to Iowa Administrative Code Rule 497-2.1(3), the IPIB may delegate acceptance or dismissal of a complaint to the Executive Director. The decision of the Executive Director is subject to review by the Board.
Iowa Code Section 23.8 provides two options for action by the IPIB upon receipt of a complaint, the second of which states:
“Determine that, on its face, the complaint is outside its jurisdiction, is legally insufficient, is frivolous, is without merit, involves harmless error, or relates to a specific incident that has previously been finally disposed of on its merits by the board or a court. In such a case the board shall decline to accept the complaint. If the board refuses to accept a complaint, the board shall provide the complainant with a written order explaining its reasons for the action.”
Based on the response of the Department, it is therefore ordered that the complaint is dismissed on the grounds that it is legally insufficient.
A copy of this Order is being forwarded to the Iowa Public Information Board for review at its next scheduled meeting on February 20, 2014.
Keith Luchtel, JD