Friday, June 2, 2006

What you need to know about 2025

Status of the review, and proposed changes to the ordinances

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County's 2025 planning process is complex and at times overwhelming.

The first four ordinances were recommended for approval—with some revisions—by the Planning and Zoning Commission in late April. They have since moved on to the county's Board of Commissioners, who will ultimately approve or kill the ordinances at the conclusion of their review process later this month or in early July.

The county commissioners began their review May 25. Since then they've held four public hearings, including three on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Hearings will resume Tuesday, June 6 (the deadline for written comment) at 9:30 a.m., and Thursday, June 8 (the final day to issue oral comments) at 6:30 p.m. Both will be held in the Old County Courthouse.

By Thursday, the county commissioners had swept through all four ordinances, making preliminary changes and recommendations. County planners Jeff Adams and Tom Bergin will incorporate those recommendations in the ordinances in preparation for a final hearing later this month. That hearing, which has yet to be scheduled, will be the last chance the public can comment before the commissioners render a final decision.

An additional three 2025 ordinances, mainly dealing with riparian and wildlife setbacks and public lands, will be reviewed by the P&Z commission in late June.

Following is a summary of the first four ordinances as they were initially proposed and the revisions that were recommended by the P&Z commission.

Ordinance 1: RR40 and the Mountain Overlay District (MOD)

As proposed

· Downzone A10 lands to RR40

· Prohibit Planned Unit Developments (PUD's) but encourage cluster developments (CD's) in RR40 zone.

P&Z revisions

· Downzone A10 to RR40 outside a three-mile "sphere of influence" around the cities and three-quarters of a mile around Gannett and Picabo.

· All land within the spheres of influence will remain A10.

Ordinance 2A: A20 and A40 zoning, wetlands and Transfer of Development Rights (TDR)

As proposed

· Create a TDR program with a sending area around Silver Creek.

· Rezone A20 to A80.

P&Z revisions

· Rezone all A20 lands to A40, but keep A20 within spheres of influence.

· Remove wetlands setback from ordinance since wetlands merit more careful consideration and should be addressed individually.

· Draft a family cluster that would allow farmers to subdivide for their immediate families.

Ordinance 2B: TDRs

As proposed

· Establish sending area in the southern tip of the Bellevue Triangle, near Silver Creek, and a receiving area north of Pero Road.

P&Z revisions

· Receiving area north of Pero Road is inappropriate.

· Receiving areas should be broader and cities should be included in the process.

Ordinance 3: PUDs and CDs

As proposed

· Prohibit PUD's in rural areas, and encourage CD's.

· CD's should have a minimum lot size of 2.5 acres, with a maximum of five lots per cluster.

· CD's should be within one mile of a paved road.

P&Z revisions

· Nothing significant.

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