A Different View of the Greenprint
By Anita Aurit
For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I follow City Council meetings. I stepped out of my comfort zone today, took a couple of hours off work and attended the County commissioners meeting.
Before you ask, no I am not expanding my blogging horizons but the Commissioners presented a memorandum regarding the contentious Greenprint Plan the city has embraced. You can read my blog posts on the Jan. 4 meeting and Feb. 1 meeting about this, the first introduction and then the last meeting vote for some background information.
There was much that was nebulous about the city’s plans for the Greenprint but one thing came through loud and clear. Aaron Qualls wants it incorporated into the city planning documents. As he said in the February 1 meeting, “The report is not regulatory, it is a 2-year process, a lot of work went into it, and the goal is to raise awareness. The plan would help the city of Sandpoint win funding for specific projects and “in our area of city impact”, which is, he explained, the area the city is someday projected to grow into.”
This is the part that many at the Commissioner’s meeting this morning were leery about. Some live only a mile our two outside of the city limits. Selle Valley and Sagle have been mentioned by the city when they talk about “growing” and the Greenprint map shows this as well. The citizen response at the last city council meeting caused the mayor and the council to backtrack and make statements that were in opposition to what they presented earlier. They received a large sum of money from the LOR foundation to do a Greenprint of almost 100,00 acres in Bonner County, yet when the people spoke up in opposition, the mayor back peddled stating , ”
“It’s certainly been outlined that government should approve the plan in their jurisdiction. The expectation would be that they would approve of this study and then it would inform each jurisdiction’s planning efforts. All of you who are concerned with the impact in your area, this issue today is as it relates to the Sandpoint constituency. We are making an effort to understand where our assets and resources that are significant to our community are in conservation. Nothing in this plan gives the city of Sandpoint any authority whatsoever to influence any other areas.” If this is the case, why did the report cover almost 100,000 acres?
I also learned that despite the mayor’s attempt to insinuate that the county had been involved all the way through the Greenprint process, the county provided its history with the Greenprint at the meeting this morning. In 2014, Sandpoint, Kootenai and Ponderay along with the Bonner County Commissioners signed an agreement regarding the Trail Mix (connecting trails in the county). In that same year, the County instructed their staff not to participate in the Greenprint process. In addition, the County did not adopt the final Trail Mix plan. (The Greenprint was paid for by the LOR foundation)
It was helpful, connecting the dots of the process and finally separating fact from fiction. I have sadly, little trust in the city and what is to come. I applaud the stand the County Commissioners took today to prevent government overreach.
Trust me, this is not the last we’ll hear about the Greenprint and I urge you, in the meantime to familiarize yourself with Greenprint and those responsible for putting it together. The mayor and council felt quite comfortable stating that there had been a robust polling of the citizens of the city of Sandpoint regarding their vision for the community. I would argue that point and so would a great number of people who had no say.
Anita Aurit is the owner and operator of
The Office Sandpoint.