Free webinar to prepare public for county land use plan update
In this screenshot from Project 7B's Story Map website explaining land use and planning issues, the blue shows where zoning changes have occurred since 2019. Yellow shows rural residential zoning districts, pink shows agriculture/forestry zoning districts and green shows higher density land use areas. The group is hosting an online webinar Thursday on land use issues and codes.
SANDPOINT – As Bonner County is experiencing a growth boom, county government is undertaking an update of the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
That's why Project 7B decided to host an upcoming webinar, "Land Use Planning 101" on Thursday. The Zoom webinar is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. April 14 and is free and open to the public.
The plan is a state-mandated document that sets the vision for what the county will become as the population grows. County land use codes must follow the land use plan.
Because public involvement is an important part of creating a plan that reflects the community's values and vision, Project 7B officials wanted to help residents learn what they need to know about the process and more. That's why they decided to sponsor a Land Use Planning 101 webinar for Bonner County, Project 7B officials said in a press release.
The information will also be helpful for when the city initiates its comprehensive plan update.
The webinar will feature expert speakers on the topic of land use, including Leanne Bernstein, Planning & Zoning administrator for the city of Driggs. Driggs recently updated its land use plan, and is located in Teton County, which also undergoing a land use plan update.
Among the topics to be covered in the hour-long webinar are the basics of what a comprehensive plan is supposed to do, how planners can make sure they are following it, how land use designations are established, and how all that relates to zoning. The presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer period.
The webinar will be recorded and made available after April 14 on Project 7B’s website at Project7B.org.
Graduate students in planning from University of Utah assisted Project 7B with organizing the webinar, Project 7B officials said in the press release. The students are involved with the Gateway & Natural Amenity Region Initiative, an affiliation of university faculty, government and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and community leaders working to assist communities in gateway and natural amenity regions throughout the West to prepare and respond to planning and development challenges.
Funding from the Union Pacific Foundation also helped make this webinar possible, Project 7B officials said.
Bonner County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan was last updated in 2005. However, recent years have seen a number of amendments to the plan’s land use map that would allow landowners and developers to increase density.
The county Planning Department appointed a member of the former Planning and Zoning Commission to work with in-house planners to begin the process of updating the plan. Now the county has created two commissions – a Planning Commission and a Zoning Commission. The Planning Commission has been tasked with the Comprehensive Land Use Plan update. Workshops have yet to be scheduled.
To register for the Land Use 101 webinar, go to bit.ly/3Dr4Y0U.
For more information about local land use issues, check out the Bonner County Story Map at Project7B.org.