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Newscast 08.09.23: Iowa joins lawsuit against TikTok; Woodbury County considers ordinance controlling commercial solar arrays

Iowa State Attorney General Brenna Bird (R)

Iowa has joined other state attorneys general as part of an investigation into the social media company TikTok and its possible harmful effects on young users' mental health.

The five-member Iowa Executive Council unanimously agreed this week on granting a request from Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird’s office. The council will bring in special counsel to help the office in its investigation into and possible litigation against the wildly popular video platform and its "potential negligent, deceptive, or otherwise unlawful provision of products and services to minors."

Iowa Third District Congressman Zach Nunn says the upcoming Iowa State Fair could be an opportunity to ask former President Donald Trump about his recent federal indictments.

Trump was indicted earlier this month on four counts related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Nunn, a Republican, declined to comment on all charges against Trump, but said the former president should be held accountable.

Iowa 3rd District Congressman Zach Nunn (R)

"I'm an intelligence officer. I don't care whether you're the president, past or present. I also am very adamant that anyone who violates things like, you know, classified information is a real concern. It's a grave threat to our national security."

Trump, who is running for a second term, is scheduled to visit the Iowa State Fair on Saturday.

Sioux City's Planning and Zoning Commission advanced a concept plan Tuesday for a residential subdivision near North Middle School.

The commission sent the plan before the City Council at its Aug. 28 meeting. A few property owners told teh commission they were concerned about the proposed subdivision, according to the Sioux City Journal. Lieber Heights would feature 92 single-family lots and 41 duplex or townhouse lots.

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon gave initial approval to proposed changes in the county’s zoning code. The update concerns the use of solar power in unincorporated areas. The changes passed 5-0.

Under amendment one of the proposed ordinance change, private landowners would be allowed to use solar arrays with a building permit. Amendment two details commercial and utility use of a solar array and would require a conditional use permit as well as approval from the Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment.

Board member Keith Radig spoke out against the ordinance. Radig said he believed homeowners should have the last word on how to use their property. Also, he was concerned about residents losing payout for solar farms and the county losing tax revenue for the county.

Woodbury County Supervisor Keith Radig, courtesy of Facebook
Woodbury County Supervisor Keith Radig, courtesy of Facebook

“On average, it's about a thousand dollars paid to farmers, so you’re talking about four million dollars paid to Woodbury County over a year. We’re just going to say, well, we don’t need that spent in our economy local. And when you look at potential tax revenue, even if you estimate about 30 percent, you are talking about taxes on 200 million dollars worth of investment. So. You are kind of saying no to a lot of things on the financial front."

Supervisor Jeremy Taylor said there is value in zoning rules, because without them there could be a lot of costly misunderstandings.

Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor, courtesy Wikipedia
Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor, courtesy Wikipedia

“Without parameters up front I think it is way too open and way to subject to interpretation. And I guarantee you we will be in some sort of lawsuit soon, because all of a sudden, a developer will be told here are the five, six, seven conditions that you have to meet. Why didn’t you tell me that up front? If I had known that upfront on slope, on the percentage of acres, on setbacks or whatever it is, then I would have developed the project along those lines.

No one at the meeting spoke against the change during the first three public hearings held during Tuesday’s supervisor’s meeting.

The second reading of the proposed ordinance change will take place next week Tuesday with a third and final reading to take place later on.

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