Planning Commission approves zoning changes

The Idaho Falls Planning Commission approved city-wide zoning ordinance changes at its Tuesday meeting.

This is the first time the city’s zoning ordinance has been updated since the 1960s and planning staff have been holding public meetings on the changes for the past couple months.

The changes reflect an ongoing two-year process that coordinates with the city’s Comprehensive Plan developed in 2013.

“If we never change the code then we’ll never get the kind of development we want in the community,” commission member George Swaney said.

The issue now goes to the City Council and will be discussed at its April 12 meeting.

The new Traditional Neighborhood Zone would allow businesses, homeowners and renters to coalesce once again in the neighborhoods, such as the numbered streets, that were first designed for that lifestyle to begin with.

During public comment, Idaho Falls resident Lynn Rockhold voiced her concerns that the Traditional Neighborhood Zone would cause an increase in traffic and higher population densities in neighborhoods.

Rockhold said the current city zone has so much R1, a single-family residential zone, because “R1 is so important for preserving our neighborhoods.”

Stephanie Rose, an Idaho Falls resident who lives in the proposed Traditional Neighborhood Zone, spoke in favor of the changes.

Rose said the Traditional Neighborhood Zone would help revitalize the neighborhood. She added that she doesn’t want “death by zoning” to happen in the city.

The commission also approved the conditional use permit for the new education building at the Idaho Falls Zoo. The building would be located outside of the zoo alongside Rogers Street.

Rogers Street would also be vacated by the city, so the zoo can expand across the street in the new 4-H lands acquired in December.

The commission also voted to modify its Jan. 9 decision making Foxrun Drive an emergency access only road, to a making it a public access road.

Reporter Isabella Alves can be reached at 208-542-6711 or follow her on Twitter @IsabellaAlves96.