Future residents of the Autumn Heights Subdivision, located near 1 N. 3700 E. in Rigby, will not be receiving individual wells after applicant Jim Bernard’s plat amendment was denied at Thursday night’s Jefferson County Planning and Zoning meeting.
Bernard and his application for the 84 lot Autumn Heights Subdivision was approved in 2008 with the intention of using a central water system.
The proposed individual drilled wells would be utilized for .60 to .810 acre lots.
During the public hearing Bernard stated that the subdivision has already been approved and that switching from a municipal well system would not increase water usage.
“The subdivision is going in one way or another, it’s still going to be the same amount of water usage, same amount of sewer,” he said.
Aspen Engineering Civil Engineer Ryan Loftus said if the well systems were approved, the sewer would be in the back of the lot and the water in the front in an effort to keep the two separated.
Bernard’s proposal was met with heavy opposition from surrounding landowners worried about how 84 wells would impact the aquifer and their water shares. More than 10 residents expressed their concerns at the meeting.
“The 84 wells will have no monitoring systems, the two community wells will be monitored,” resident Luke Hicks said. “The amount of water, we will have no control under 84 wells and would have control under two community wells.
Hicks also indicated that Eastern Idaho Public Health noted that they wouldn’t issue septic permits for all 84 lots.
“Therefore why would we approve every lot,” he said.
Victor Rounds was representing the Harrison Canal Company when he explained their opposition.
“We haven’t seen the set back rules, haven’t seen where lots come up against the canal, because that would be our concern,” he said. “What about contamination from the sewer system into the canal?”
“Being a homeowner downstream from the natural groundwater flow, I am very, very concerned about the impact that the sewer system will have,” Greg Dehlin said.
Like many other before her, Susan Hawkins said she was concerned about the location of the sewer systems.
“This was done in 2008 under those standards, I feel it would be appropriate if the city reconsider under the current standards,” she said.
“I’m highly concerned about the well due to the fact it does go dry out there,” Jerry Rounds said. “I’m down 160-feet and that’s not sufficient enough.
Other residents that spoke in opposition for similar reasons include Jason Duffin, Ned Hawkins and Jerry Matthews.
Other that Bernard and Loftus no one else spoke in favor of the individual well systems.
After the hearing the commissioners deliberated on what was said and what reasons the commissioners at the time decided to approve a community well.
Being on the board at the time, Commissioners Mike Clark briefly deliberated on the findings in 2008.
“I don’t remember the rationale behind putting the community well in,” he said. “I do know that the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) at the time was very much in favor as was the District 6 Health Department.”
Reading from the findings from the meeting in 2008, Planning and Zoning Attorney Paul Ziel said the conclusions include there needing to be provisions for neighbors to connect to community wells if their wells have problems among many other protective provisions.
With those conclusions in hand, the commissioners ultimately decided to deny the proposed plat amendment leaving it as is.
“I don’t see any current reason to eliminate that from the previous requirements,” Commissioner Bill Stoddard said.