Monday, October 03, 2022

Hoodoo rezone to be heard by commission

Staff Writer | March 1, 2022 1:00 AM

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VAY — Two years and seven scheduled hearings later, the potential 160-acre Hoodoo Valley rezone may come to a close on Wednesday.

Located east of Spirit Lake Cutoff Road, and north of Chip ‘n’ Dale Lane, property owner Daum Construction is seeking a 160-acre rezone from Ag/Forest-10 to Rural/Residential-5, saying that it better aligns with the county’s comprehensive plan and land use goals.

“This site has no features that make it incompatible with the Rural/Residential land use designation,” Planning Department’s staff said in a Dec. 16 report on the project. “There appears to be no reason to deny the applicant's request to redesignate this site as Rural/Residential.”

In addition, the staff report asserts that the parcel does not fit the qualifications for Ag/Forest land according to the comprehensive plan, saying it is “missing almost every criterion for this designation.”

The staff report also mentioned that no obvious challenges to residential development existed on the site.

However, the Bonner County’s Planning & Zoning Commission disagreed with the staff report, and recommended that county commissioners deny the rezone application.

Planning & Zoning commissioners gave two reasons for the recommended denial — that the rezone is inconsistent with county land use, and that the land does not fit the requirements for Rural/Residential-5 consideration.

The issue will go before county commissioners on Wednesday for a final decision. The project has been met with much backlash from neighbors of the property. Over a hundred signatures and many written public comments have been received by the county in anticipation of the meeting.

Those who have chosen to speak on the issue expressed concern about a variety of potential issues including spot zoning, preserving the agricultural lifestyle, and water & sewer availability.

The rezone was approved by county commissioners on January 26 as part of their consent agenda during their weekly business meeting.

“We live in the Hoodoo Valley. … This would be a disastrous precedent,” Maureen Patterson said on Jan. 25. “We had a petition. We had very little time, but we have over 100 signatures from people in that area against this. I’m asking you to accept that as a moral responsibility to your constituents. I’m just asking you to not allow this to pass and preserving agricultural-zoned land should be a top priority for Planning and Zoning according to these objectives.”

Shortly after Patterson’s comments, commissioners approved the consent agenda including the rezone.

On Wednesday, commissioners will decide on the matter. There is expected to be a large turnout at the meeting.

Those interested in attending the meeting can find it on the first floor of the county administrative building at 1500 U.S. 2. Those who prefer to virtually attend can do so by watching a livestream of the meeting at Bonner County’s YouTube Channel.

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