Blaine County commissioners last Thursday completed their initial review and revision of the first four 2025 ordinances, which, if approved, could significantly slash the development potential of much of the county's remote and rural land.
The next hearing, which could be the last, is scheduled for June 29.
The county's planning staff is in the process of revising the ordinances according to the commissioners' recommendations in time for that hearing.
The Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the ordinances for approval with a series of revisions in late April. The county commissioners have stuck with most of the P&Z commission's major recommendations, except the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) receiving area—which is once again slated for the tip of the Bellevue Triangle, north of Pero Road—and lot sizes in cluster developments.
Cluster developments are a tool the county can use to allow development in agricultural and rural areas while preserving open space.
The county commissioners said cluster development lot sizes should be kept at a maximum of five acres, which drew objections from P&Z Commission Chairman Larry Schoen.
Schoen, who's also the Democratic candidate for the County Commission District 1 seat in the south county, said limiting cluster lot sizes to five acres will encourage suburban style development, which he and the P&Z commission consider inappropriate in rural areas.
"We repeatedly said, stay away from suburban-style development," Schoen told the county commissioners. "You're ignoring (our advice) that these should be rural in nature. I'm asking for some clarification."
Schoen said he agrees that cluster developments should not exceed 20 percent of the parent tract—to preserve open space—but that lot sizes should be allowed to vary. Doing so will grant more flexibility to projects and foster the creation of developments that gel better with the rural environment. Developing straight five-acre lots would be too uniform for agricultural and ranching areas.
The commissioners eventually agreed with Schoen's points.
Following is a list of the other focal points in each ordinance:
Ordinance 1 (R-10, RR-40 and MOD)
• So-called spheres of influence should be created around the cities, with the purpose being that all lands inside the spheres will retain their current zoning standards, while lands outside the spheres will be downzoned to A-40 (one unit of development per 40 acres). Lands north of Baseline Road and in the Poverty Flats/Glendale area will be exempt from the downzone and remain A-20.
• The spheres will extend three miles from the city limits of Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue, one mile from Sun Valley and Carey, three quarters of a mile from Picabo and Gannett, and a half mile from lands currently zoned R-5.
• Lands in the mountain overlay district (MOD) outside the spheres will be zoned one unit of development per 160 acres.
• Cluster Developments (CDs) will be allowed within one mile of paved, plowed roads.
• Planned unit developments (PUDs) will be allowed in R-10, but not in RR-40.
Ordinance 2A (A20, A40, wetlands, TDRs and CDs)
• Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) credits will be set at one unit per 20 acres.
• Density in wetlands can be used in TDRs and for on-site development.
• TDR density will be reduced to one unit of development per 160 acres after transfer.
• The minimum lot size to participate in the TDR receiving area program will be 10 acres.
• PUD's will be allowed in the TDR receiving area.
• The establishment of a wetlands overlay district will be explored by the P&Z commission.
Ordinance 2B (TDRs)
• The primary TDR Receiving area will be located in the tip of the Bellevue Triangle north of Pero Road.
• Receiving areas should be broader and cities should be included in the process.
• The county has opened TDR discussions with all of the municipalities except Carey.
Ordinance 3 (PUDs and CDs)
• No PUDs in RR40 or A-40, and none in A-20 except within the TDR receiving areas.
• Density will be allowed to transfer from A-20, A-40 and MOD lands to contiguous residentially zoned lands under the same ownership.
• No density bonuses for R-10 and A-20 PUDs.
• CDs will not occupy more than 20 percent of the parent tract.
• There will not be a maximum on CD lot sizes.