P&Z administrator

Tiffany Olsen, Bingham County’s new head of planning and zoning, attended her first meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission Wednesday night were she is shown chatting with commission Chairman Darren Leavitt.

BLACKFOOT – In a two-hour meeting Wednesday night, the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Committee met their new administrator, Tiffany Olsen.

The board approved four Conditional Use Permits, granted a variance to the road setback requirement, and voted to recommend that the county commissioners approve a four-acre subdivision.

Under unfinished business from the November meeting, Chairman Darren Leavitt again declined to act on a request from Shelley resident Cody Hawker’s request for a Conditional Use Permit for a private motorbike track on his property, instead instructing Hawker, Olsen, and Chase Hendricks, civil deputy from the county prosecutor’s office, to meet with the neighbor protesting the permit and resolve the problem between them.

Action on Hawker’s request was tabled at the November meeting because the zoning board was reluctant to grant the CUP, but at the same time deny him the use of the track on his property. It was the board’s consensus at the time that they might be setting a precedent that would end with a requirement that every property owner riding motocross bikes on their property had to apply for a CUP.

Leavitt said the track was a neighborhood issue rather than a zoning board issue. After asking Hawker whether a resolution had been reached and receiving a negative response, Leavitt said, “That’s very disappointing. We were very specific in the motion that that happen.”

At the end of the meeting, Hawker returned to say agreement had been reached that the track would be used only between the hours of 10 a.m., and dusk and only by his family members — two young sons; no riding would take place when the neighbors were outside enjoying their yard, dust would be controlled, and spark arresters put on the machines.

A neighbor had complained that dust and noise from the track interferes with their enjoyment of their home, including the fact his wife sleeps until 10 a.m.

Hawker said there had been a misconception about the track. He said it was not a racetrack, just a single track for riding small motor bikes and not wide enough for two machines side-by-side. He testified at the November meeting that the track was on the property when he purchased it before the five-acre lot subdivision named The Ridges was developed, and is a part of it.

Unless Hawker withdraws his application it will come before the board again at the March 11 meeting and the zoning board will have to either deny or grant the CUP.

Under new business, with no one testifying in opposition, Scott Briscoe was granted a CUP to transfer three division rights from an original parcel of land, with one right going to a recent land purchase at 576 Highway 39 and two going to his home place at 558 W 75 S.

Leona Barnard was granted a CUP to transfer three division rights from her original parcel to an adjoining parcel of 8.36 acres to the south of her property in an Agriculture Zone at approximately 729 E., 800 N.

Four people protested a CUP for John Clark to transfer 48 division rights from 13 original parcels of land he owns in the Paradise Valley near the Blackfoot Reservoir to 80 acres of land in an Agriculture Zone at approximately 146 S., 800 W. Their fears are that the area is too small to accommodate 48 new houses, and that the increase in population might be detrimental to their enjoyment of the country life and devalue their properties. They also feared the effects on water quality from that many additional individual wells and septic systems.

Leavitt said Idaho Code and the county’s zoning ordinance allow a landowner to transfer four division rights from each parcel of property to another owned property, and the board can’t refuse them that right. He commented that the practice is a fairly new thing in the county, and the more people find out about it the more it will happen, but the time for neighbors to protest is if and when the land is developed.

With no one testifying in opposition, Jim Powell was granted a CUP to operate an automotive repair shop for cars and small trucks on property at his home place in a Residential/Agriculture Zone at approximately 861 W. 150 N., and Steve Saxton was granted a 10-foot variance from the county’s 50-foot setback requirement from Highway 39 to build storage units at 688 W. Highway 39.

The action that drew the most protest was a recommendation to the county commissioners to approve a four-lot subdivision for Linda Leavitt on 5.8 acres in a Residential Zone south of the Teeples-Bergeson Riverview Acres subdivision at approximately 21 S., 615 W.S.

People testifying against the application cited several concerns including access issues, water use, noise, a road too narrow and dangerous for more traffic, access easements, and mainly restrictive covenants that came with the purchase of the land that say, for one thing, that no more homes would be built there.

Leavitt said the land is zoned Residential, and that mean homes can be built there. He pointed out that, according to the county’s Comprehensive Plan, the owner could put 12 more houses on the property if she wished to.

Despite the testimony and a few letters submitted in opposition, the five members of the P&Z board present voted unanimously to recommend that the county commissioners approve the application while also giving consideration to the restrictive covenants. A public hearing on the recommendation is scheduled before them at 11 a.m. on March 16.