Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hailey mulls review of P&Z decisions

2-week limit for builders and affected neighbors

    A proposed change to Hailey’s zoning and subdivision ordinances would provide quick reconsideration of Planning and Zoning Commission decisions.
    The P&Z on Monday made a unanimous recommendation for passage of an ordinance that would allow builders as well as affected neighbors to request reconsideration of a commission decision within 14 days, rather than proceed with an appeal to the City Council.
    Under the proposed law, a party could not appeal a decision to the council based on specific criteria already mentioned in the P&Z’s decision after the two-week period ends.
    Community Development Director Micah Austin said at Monday’s meeting that the new law was a “good law” because it would keep appeals at the lower-level jurisdiction, perhaps avoiding legal fees at the council level.
    The law states that “failure [by the P&Z] to identify the nature of compliance or noncompliance with express approval standards or failure to explain compliance or noncompliance with relevant decision criteria or standards shall be grounds for invalidation [of the decision].”
    Commissioner Jay Cone said the new law would add more specificity to the commission’s decision-making.
    “We will have to be on point as to what standards we are basing a decision on,” Cone said.
    City Attorney Ned Williamson said he initiated the proposed law to keep the city in line with a law passed by the Legislature that went into effect on July 1.
    Williamson said Idaho Code section 67-3535 was designed “to reduce the number of appeals and the complexity of appeals” in the municipal permitting process.
    “This gives the parties and governmental entities an opportunity to correct a decision early on in the process,” he said.

Tony Evans:

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