County commissioners hear proposal on Fort Hall ordinance

BLACKFOOT — Bingham County District Attorney Scott Andrew has proposed an ordinance that would be enforceable between Bingham County and the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. He presented it to the Bingham County Commissioners Monday.
Andrew’s proposed ordinance incorporates Bingham County’s existing policies and defers enforcement of P&Z matters, specifically land matters on the reservation, to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
The county commissioners took Andrew’s proposal under advisement. No decision has been made.
Andrew said the need for this proposal was brought to his attention at the June 26 hearing of the Bingham County Planning and Zoning (P&Z) commissioners. At this hearing, Mark EchoHawk, attorney for the Tribes, pointed out there was no mention of the tribe in the proposed final ordinance of the P&Z draft.
“There are special jurisdictional issues on the reservation,” Andrew said.
These include limits on the county’s jurisdiction regarding land that is part of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Reservation land in Bingham County is zoned agricultural except with the permission of the Fort Hall Land Use Commission.
This would not be a resolution or memorandum of agreement but an ordinance, Andrew said.
“My concern is that a resolution or memorandum of agreement is not legally enforceable and would be inappropriate,” he said. “In my opinion, an ordinance would be legally enforceable.”