Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Camas ‘hilltop ordinance’ gets public hearing

P&Z recommended approval of law allowing ridgeline construction

Express Staff Writer

Camas County Board of County Commissioners Chair Janet Croner called for a public hearing before the commission votes on an ordinance that would allow for increased building on hilltops in the county. The county has had an ordinance prohibiting buildings on hilltops above 5,200 feet for 10 years. Photo by Tony Evans

Camas County residents will have an opportunity to provide public comment to the county commissioners on a proposed ordinance that would increase landowners' rights to build on hilltops and ridges.

During a commissioners meeting Monday, commission Chair Janet Croner called for a public hearing to take comments on a proposed ordinance that would overturn a 10-year-old "hilltop ordinance" similar to Blaine County's, which favors the rights of neighbors and passersby to have unrestricted views of natural hillside scenery.

The commission had been given taped comments on the issue gathered from residents by county staff, but Croner insisted that a public hearing take place.

"I don't want to listen to tapes. I want them to talk to me," she said. "We may get different input at a governmental level."

A temporary restraining order was issued last summer by 5th District Judge Robert Elgee to stop construction of a building belonging to Merlyn Colpron, which was allegedly permitted in violation of the current hillside ordinance.

Colpron said in an interview Monday that he chose not to fight the lawsuit, and that he would be allowed to continue his project if the new law is passed.

"It's cheaper to dismiss [the suit] than to fight it," he said.

The new ordinance was written last summer by Camas County Building Inspector and Planning Administrator Dwight Butlin, after Elgee's court order.

Butlin said he wrote the ordinance because it discriminated against some landowners.

Croner's insistence on a public hearing aggravated Commissioners Bill Davis and Ken Backstrom, who said at Monday's meeting that enough public comment had been taken during two Planning and Zoning Commission hearings in recent months.

Both commissioners indicated that they would vote in favor of the new ordinance, which would eliminate restrictions placed by the current ordinance on building on ridges above 5,200 feet in elevation.

Backstrom said if the county experienced a "growth spurt" resulting in numerous "eyesore" homes being built on ridges, the commission could consider repealing or amending the new ordinance.

"To build at all on hilltops is ugly for some. For others it's beautiful," he said.

The public hearing will take place on Thursday, May 10, at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield senior center.

In other Camas County news:

- The Fairfield City Council will meet Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. at City Hall to consider a sign ordinance, which would establish standards for the fabrication, erection and use of signs within the city.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.