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For the week of July 30 - August 5, 2003

Editorials

Idaho logic


Idaho logic just came here to roost. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the Idaho Land Board could develop open-pit mines on state lands anywhere.

The court struck down a lower court opinion that would have required the state to comply with local zoning ordinances.

It mattered not to the high court that an open-pit mine, in this case a gravel operation in Ohio Gulch, is near a residential area or that the pit violates Blaine County zoning.

The court read the law to give the state the right to lease its land for mines, grazing, oil, gas and geothermal development, and single-family home sites. In other words, the state can wreck any neighborhood it wants anyway it wants if it owns property there.

The court said the Idaho Legislature had given the Land Board this right.

Well, if the Legislature gave the board the right, itís time for it to take it away.

The elected officials who serve on the Land Board need reigning in to prevent damage to communities by ill-conceived developments like the gravel mine planned for Ohio Gulch.

One bright spot in the decision: The state must comply with local zoning governing industrial enterprises, retail outlets, business and professional office buildings, hospitality enterprises, commercial recreational activities, multi-family residential developments and other similar businesses.

As the dust rises and the big trucks roll in Ohio Gulch, residents can ponder the logic that lets the state develop mines, but not condos, without consulting anyone.

 

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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.