BLACKFOOT – At the start of the Blackfoot City Council meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Marc Carroll read a proclamation marking April as fair housing month in Blackfoot. Carroll’s proclamation noted the different areas of potential prejudice that have plagued people throughout the years in the United States and around the globe.

There are many laws on the books that protect people from being disproportionately approved or disproved for housing, but the concerns that surround housing — especially in the current market — creates concern that fair will not be truly fair.

Following the proclamation, Carroll started into the agenda with the standard COVID update and expressing that he was proud to announce that he had received his second dose of the vaccine and the information from Southeastern Idaho Public Health regarding the current state of COVID in the health district. He said because of the decrease in cases across the area, SIPH has reduced how often they will be conducting information calls with political leaders in the district from weekly to monthly. They will continue to monitor the number of cases of COVID in the area and will make adjustments to the frequency of the calls if the need arises.

Carroll then turned the time over to the forensic accountant they had hired to verify the funds and the utilization of tax dollars. The report indicated areas that could help save the city money and he appreciated all of the effort put forth by the department heads as well as those he had interactions with. He explained the difference between income, taxes, and expenses as well as the funds attributed to BURA. Following Morgan’s report, the new city treasurer followed up with more information before turning the time back to Carroll.

The council would then hear from Kurt Hibbert regarding decisions and recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Commission from their March meetings. Hibbert first introduced property on Hepworth Lane that has been a pasture in its traditional land use and the property owners wanted the zone to reflect the traditional agriculture use of the property. Following the report from Hibbert, council members made comments on the recommendation of the rezoning along the lines of thanking the P&Z for being so thorough and for presenting the data.

The other rezone request was for property on Court Street from R1 to R3, which had surrounding R3 zones near the property in question. The owner wants to develop townhomes on the property but cannot do it without the rezone because of the density issues. The P&Z felt it was a good candidate for a rezone and recommended it to the council who agreed and affirmed the rezone. They would also hear about a conditional use permit presented for a kennel on Harbor Drive. The P&Z felt it important to share the decision with the council so that if they are approached or asked about the kennel, they would be informed on the CUP and would be able to answer any questions and would not be blind-sided by anyone who objected to the approval.

It would be the final item on the agenda involving P&Z that would hear the most comment out of the members of the council, including Councilman Chris Jensen explaining that he did appreciate all of the effort that has been put into revisiting the planning and zoning code inside the city. P&Z Chairman Ron Ramirez explained that they have been working through the different descriptions over the past few months.

Ramirez presented the information to the council to which Jensen said he would prefer to revisit more than just the planning and zoning code and recommended that they table the item until more research can be had into the other codes in the city. Jensen suggested more be done to eliminate antiquated or unnecessary ordinances. Ramirez continued to try and move forward with the zone description changes for the council’s approval, but Jensen was not willing to budge on his recommendation of tabling the item. The other members of the council felt that Jensen was correct in wanting to table the item and voted in favor of the motion.

The council will hold their next meeting May 4. For those wishing to attend via Zoom, the link is listed on the top of the meeting agenda available on the city’s website.