Greed of the Few
By Maureen Paterson
Wednesday afternoon, April 14th, there was an overflow room of people attending the Bonner County Commissioners Open Meeting. A developer of a 160 acre Ag/Forest plot in the Hoodoo Valley was applying for a zone change and comprehensive plan amendment. This would change it from Agriculture/Forest to Rural-Residential and from allowing it to be divided instead of 10 acre parcels to 5 acre parcels. Bonner County Commissioner Dan McDonald, announced 5 minutes into the start of the meeting, that it would be postponed until April 28th at 1:30. This is after many had taken off work, rushed from CDA or Priest River area to speak out at this specified meeting. He stated that there was some new information and they wanted everyone to have plenty of time to review it before having another meeting.
Already a previous meeting of March 10th, had many local speakers from the Hoodoo Valley speaking against this application and stating:
- Bonner County Planning explained that the Comprehensive Plan states the desire to preserve and protect agriculture and prime farm land and recommended a denial to the commissioners.
- Bonner County Planning and Zoning also recommended a denial based on diminishing the rural character and natural resources of the area.
- A huge increase in Spirit Lake Cutoff traffic which is already over saturated had the Spirit Lake Fire District stating there has already been a 10% increase in vehicle crashes.
- Fire and medical emergency support in the area is already over strained and a traffic study should be done before approval.
- The aquifer would be greatly impacted for local land owners who have shallow wells.
- Subterranean creeks that feed into Hoodoo Creek could be polluted by the purposed 24-32 septic systems.
Commissioner Steve Bradshaw honored the Planning Department and Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendations to deny the application. The other two commissioners, felt there was no difference between 5 acres and 10 acres, not acknowledging that Agriculture’s minimum is 10 acres for a reason. Nor was it acknowledged that we need to protect our diminishing prime agriculture lands. A public input meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, April 14th, but is now rescheduled for April 28th 1:30, at 1500 HWY 2.
Are we losing the character of our rural areas to greed of a few?
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