Friday, March 9, 2007

Camas to consider 20,000-acre rezone

Public hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 14


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

Express graphic by Gavin McNeil At a meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, the Camas County Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed rezoning of several large tracts of land dispersed throughout the county. The meeting will be at the American Legion Hall, 114 Camas Ave. East in Fairfield.

A proposal to rezone approximately 20,000 acres on the Camas Prairie southwest of the Wood River Valley will be among several important issues the Camas County Commission will discuss during a meeting in Fairfield next week.

The areas under consideration for rezoning are primarily agricultural lands scattered about the Camas Prairie in several large tracts.

The plan, the result of six months of work by county planning staff and public officials, was approved by the Camas County Planning and Zoning Commission at a meeting last fall, on Oct. 24.

If approved by the County Commission, the plan would provide Camas County planners with something they've never had before: a zoning map.

A quick glance at the proposed zoning map provides a sense of where the county wishes to concentrate growth.

"What we've tried to do is locate most of the density around the existing city centers," said P&Z Chairman Ed Smith during a public hearing last fall.

What this means is most of the growth and density would be focused near Fairfield, Camas County's only incorporated municipality.

"As you go on out, the densities get less and less," Smith said.

Currently, the vast majority of private property in Camas County is zoned A-80, or agricultural district. This district allows for only one dwelling unit per 80 acres.

Under the plan approved by the P&Z, large sections of land surrounding Fairfield, as well as several large outlying parcels, some lying to the north near Soldier Mountain Ski Resort and south near Mormon Reservoir, would essentially be upzoned under a variety of newly created zoning designations.

The new zoning would run the gamut from A-20, which would allow one dwelling unit per 20 acres, to R-4, which would allow four dwelling units per 1 acre. The zoning map also includes several smaller areas set aside for commercial and industrial uses.

During next Wednesday's meeting, the County Commission will also consider a new zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance and a county comprehensive plan map.

Copies of the proposed changes can be picked up at the Camas County Courthouse Annex and at the public hearing.




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