FAQ

Here you will find answers to questions that come up frequently. If you have a question or topic that should be added please email:

Building Permits

Q: When do I need a building permit?
A: Generally, you need a building permit when ever you change the structure of the building, or you install or replace any plumbing or electrical devices. There are very specific exceptions. You should call city hall (472-4707) to check on these exceptions.

Q: Do I need a building permit for a shed or fence?
A: You do not need a permit for a fence, but you cannot build a fence over six feet tall. You do need a permit for a shed that is over 120 square feet. Generally, this means anything larger than a 10 feet by 12 feet building.

Q: I just filled out the building permit form and paid the permit fee at city hall. Can I start building?
A: No. The form is only an application for a permit. You still need to obtain a permit by calling the building inspector prior to doing any work.

Q: Will the building inspector contact me?
A: No. You must contact the inspector prior to any work and when an inspection is needed.

Please view our home page for all permits and forms.

Golf Carts

Per City of Vinton Code Chapter 77: Golf Carts

Q; Can I drive my golf cart in the city?
A. Yes, under very specific rules which are covered below..

Q: What must be on my golf cart to operate legally in the city?
A: Your golf cart must have functional brakes, a slow-moving sign and a bicycle flag.

Q: When can I drive my golf cart?
A: Only between sunrise and sunset.

Q: Must I have a driver’s license?
A: Yes.

Q: Where am I prohibited from driving my golf cart?
A: You are prohibited from driving on any city street which is also a state highway, except to cross it. You cannot drive a golf cart on the sidewalk.

Q: How do I apply for a permit and register my golf cart?
A: Click here for the downloadable form: Golf Cart Permit & Registration

Junk Vehicles

Add link to City of Vinton Code Chapter 141: Inoperable Vehicles

Q: What constitutes a junk vehicle?
A: Any vehicle that is not currently licensed OR is inoperable, or both. Vehicles missing necessary parts such as glass, tires, etc., or vehicles which have been wrecked or damaged in such a way to make them unsafe on the public roadway may also be considered junk.

Open Burning

Q: Is there open burning in Vinton?
A: Open burning is prohibited in Vinton except for very specific instances.

Q: When can I burn yard waste (landscape waste)?
A: Ordinance #1011 effective July 1, 2015. The disposal by open burning of landscape waste originating on the premises is permitted only on the last Thursday, Friday and Saturday in April and on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday in May in the spring. In the autumn burning will be permitted on the last Thursday, Friday and Saturday in October (Excluding October 31) and the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday in November. This will be permitted only during the hours of 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. At any other time, yard waste is to be taken to the city brush dump north of the Cedar River bridge. Yard waste cannot be burned on any asphalt road.

Mowing

Q: How high can my grass grow before I need to cut it?
A: Vinton City Code defines tall grass as a nuisance when it is 8 inches tall in a developed residential or commercial area, 12 inches in a developed industrial area and 18 inches in an undeveloped area.

Q: I received a notice to mow my grass. What is the deadline for mowing the grass?
A: You must mow the grass within 72 hours after receiving the notice, except in emergency situations.

Pets and Livestock

Add links to:

City of Vinton Code Chapter 85: Control of Dogs and Other Animals
City of Vinton Code Chapter 86: Dangerous and Vicious Animals
City of Vinton Code Chapter 87: Injury to Livestock and Animals

Q: Does the city limited the number of cats and dogs that a family can own?
A: Currently, no.

Q: What type of livestock (cows, horses, etc.) can I keep inside the city limits?
A: This depends on the zoning for the property where the livestock will be kept. Generally, livestock can only be kept on property zoned as an agricultural district. Horses can be kept in a residential district provided the property is at least 2 acres in size and the stable for the horses is at least 200 feet from a house that is not the owner’s house.

Q: Does the City of Vinton have a leash law?
A: No, the City does not require animals to be on a leash, HOWEVER, it is illegal to allow an animal to run at large which means off the premises of the owner and not under the control of a competent person, restrained within a motor vehicle or housed in a veterinary hospital or kennel. Violators can be ticketed and fined.

Q: Do I need a rabies shot for my dog?
A: The city ordinance states that every dog over 6 months of age must be vaccinated against rabies. Dogs kept in kennels and not allowed to roam at-large are not subject to this ordinance, HOWEVER, dogs can get out of kennels and run loose, so you should have your dog vaccinated even if it is kept in a kennel.

Q; Are pit bulls allowed in the City?
A: The City ordinance states that the keeping of any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being of the breed of Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and any other breed commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers, or a combination of any of these breeds is prohibited.

Parking Regulations

Q: How are parking regulations enforced?
A: Parking violations are enforced by a simple notice of fine placed prominently on a vehicle in violation of City Ordinances. Simple notice of parking violations are $15 each, and are due and payable to the City Clerk, 110 W 3rd Street, Vinton, Iowa within 30 days of the date they were issued.

Q: I just received a parking ticket. I don’t think I did anything wrong. How can I appeal it?
A: Parking violations may be appealed to the Chief of Police during normal City Hall office hours (normally 8:30 a.m. To 4:30 p.m.), within 30 days of their issuance.

Q: What will happen if I don’t pay the parking ticket?
A: Parking violations that are neither appealed to the Chief of Police, or paid within 30 days accrue a $5 penalty. Failure to pay parking violations within 60 days of their date of issue may result in any or all of the following: Warrant of Arrest issued for the registered owner of the vehicle, Suspension of vehicle registration privileges of the registered owner of the vehicle, or the filing of a complaint in District Court. The registered owner of a vehicle on the date the violation was issued is presumed to be the person who committed such violation.

Q: Can a vehicle be towed for parking violations?
A: In addition to the simple notice of fine, vehicles may be impounded and towed by the Police Department for parking violations, without any prior notice, for any of the following reasons: 1) the vehicle is disabled and constitutes an obstruction to traffic; 2) if they are illegally parked and constitute a hazard or obstruction to normal traffic; 3) during snow removal operations; or, 4) after a 24 hour abandoned vehicle sticker has been attached and the 24 hours has expired with no action has been taken by the registered owner of the vehicle. The registered owner of the vehicle is responsible for all reasonable costs associated with a vehicle being towed and impounded.

Q: What parking restrictions exist after a snow storm?
A: No vehicle may be left on any public street, alley or City-owned off-street parking area during snow removal operations unless: 1) The snow has ceased to fall; AND the snow has been removed or plowed from said street.

Q: What is the proper way to parallel park and for angle parking?
A: Parallel Parking—All vehicles parked in parallel parking spaces must be parked within 18″ of the curb, with the right side (passenger side) adjacent to the curb. Angle Parking—All vehicles parked in angle parking spaces must do so with the front of the vehicle pointing toward the curb (no backing in), and such vehicles cannot extend more than 16′ into the roadway when parked as such.

Q: Are there certain reasons why I can’t park my vehicle in a public place?
A: A: Parking is illegal on public streets, parking lots and right-of-ways for any of the following principal purposes:
1. Sale. Displaying a vehicle for sale;
2. Repairing: For lubricating, repairing or for commercial washing of such vehicle except when such repairs are necessitated by an emergency;
3. Advertising. Displaying advertising;
4. Merchandise Sales. Selling merchandise from a vehicle except in a duly established marketplace or when so authorized or licensed under the City Code;
5. Storage. Storage for more than twenty-four (24) hours.

Q: Where else is it illegal to park my vehicle?
A: It is illegal to park in the following locations:
1. On a crosswalk at an intersection;
2. On the center parkway or dividing area of any divided street;
3. Within 20 feet on either side of a curbside mailbox;
4. On or across a sidewalk;
5. In front of a public or private driveway (on the driveway side of the street);
6. Within an intersection, or within 10 feet of an intersection of any street or alley;
7. Within 5 feet of a fire hydrant;
8. Within 10 feet of the approach of any flashing beacon, stop or yield sign, or traffic control signal located at the side of the roadway;
9. Within 50 feet of the nearest rail of any railroad crossing;
10. Within 20 feet of the driveway entrance to the fire station on the station side of the street, and within 75 feet of the fire station on the opposite side of the street;
11. On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge of the curb;
12. Within 50 feet of the entrance of the Palace Theater;
13. Blocking an alley;
14. On the Parking (area of the right-of-way between the edge of the street and the sidewalk edge closest to the street);
15. In more than one space.

Q: Are there certain parking regulations for trucks, trailers and other large vehicles?
A: No person shall park a motor truck, truck tractor with or without trailer attached, semi-trailer, camper or motor home, or other motor vehicle with trailer attached upon any public street, City parking lot, alley, or right-of-way, with the following exceptions:
1. Pickup, light delivery or panel delivery trucks are exempted (generally vehicles withinot more than 3 axles);
2.Vehicles which are actually engaged in delivery or receiving of merchandise or cargo within the business district are permitted to do so for not more than a 2 hour period of time, and then only if they are parked in a manner which will not interfere with other traffic;

Reefers in residential areas—-Reefers in semi tractor trailer combinations cannot be run in residential areas between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Livestock—-No vehicle containing livestock may be parked on any street, alley or City parking lot for more than 30 minutes.

Fingerprinting

Q. I have a new job that requires me to be fingerprinted, can I do this at the Vinton Police Department?
A. No. The Police Department doesn’t have the equipment to do this. All requests for fingerprinting should be made to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office by calling 472-2337 during normal office hours and making an appointment with them to have this done.

Recycling

Q: What can I put in the curb-side recycling container for pick up?
A: Please click HERE for a list of items that CAN and CANNOT be placed in the curb-side recycling container.

Q: What can I bring to Vinton City Hall for recycling?
A: We have boxes for AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt batteries, rechargeable batteries and old cell phones, glasses for the Lions club, and a box for CFLs (florescent light bulbs).