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For the week of Apr. 5 through Apr. 11, 2000

Trip to the woodshed

The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission dealt out some justice on March 21 when it sent a developer packing and chastised the city planning staff for pushing what was called an "informal endorsement" of the largest commercial development proposed in recent memory.

The P&Z knew when it was being strong-armed and fought off the attack.

Planning and zoning commissions are deliberative bodies under Idaho law. Its members review, debate and vote. They don’t engage in straw votes.

To ask for an informal endorsement was outside planning and zoning law as it’s written in Idaho. There is nothing informal about planning and zoning these days. It is very closely regulated under the law.

Worse, the request was an affront to the citizens of Hailey who deserve a government and a city staff who are public advocates—not the advocates of private development interests. To act otherwise is to wreck the balance between public and private interests the P&Z was created to protect.

We can’t imagine what the planners were thinking. Had the P&Z gone along, it could have tainted the process for both the city and the developer and left any subsequent action open to legal challenges.

Instead of an endorsement, the P&Z gave everyone involved a well-deserved trip to the woodshed, much to their dismay. The lesson was loud and clear: The city should let developers be developers and city officials should remember who employs them.


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