For the week of September 2 thru September 8, 1998  

Other counties join Blaine in land planning dilemmas

Express Staff Writer

Wood River Valley residents were not alone in their concern about losing control of private property rights at a Legislative Council Interim Committee hearing Monday.

Idahoans traveled from counties on all sides of Blaine--Twin Falls, Lincoln, and Elmore--to address the committee at the old county courthouse.

To the committee’s question of whether legislative action is needed in 1999 to address the nexus of private property rights and local land-use planning efforts, those from parts other than Blaine emphatically said, "Yes, please."

Filer Realtor Judy Hoffman testified that her Twin Falls County government is mis-directed when using zoning maps rather than soil analyses to designate "prime agricultural land" in its comprehensive zoning ordinance.

"Defining what agriculture is without a scientific basis is discriminatory," Hoffman said.

Twin Falls County planning and zoning director Bill Crafton said he and other officials had "compatibility of uses" on the brain when supporting the zoning map.

Because of a conflict in residential and agricultural uses, Twin Falls "tried to direct growth away from more prime agricultural land and...toward population centers" Crafton said.

Elmore County land-use battles have been furiously fought, according to Mountain Home resident Barry Peterson.

Especially in the case of applications to put businesses on agricultural land, court threats and long hearing processes strain applicants’ and taxpayers’ pocketbooks.

"The sad thing is the taxpayer eventually pays," Peterson said. "It’s a heck of a bind that the legislative body put us into."

Lincoln County Commissioner Lawrence Calkins said his officials as well are experiencing land use planning pains.

"The bigger cities have got bigger problems than we do but we’ve our problems, too," Calkins said.


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