P&Z ordinance heads to a close

Bingham County Commissioners and P&Z Director Allen Jensen worked through the final draft of the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) ordinance Thursday morning.
After legal counsel has reviewed changes made to the ordinance, commissioners have set the next meeting for 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday in their chambers.
Thursday commissioners went through the ordinance using comments and specific concerns expressed by people at the September public hearing.
Commissioners agreed that the county needed an ordinance.
Some of the changes recommended by the commissioners including putting the phrase "be a U.S. citizen" when explaining the qualifications for being appointed as a P&Z Commission member. It was suggested the citizenship requirement was omitted in Ordinance 3.3.2 while residency in the county was included in ordinance.
Regarding the Nitrate Priority Overlay Zone, county commissioners recommended a letter be given to people attempting to build in a potential zone of that type.
Commissioners discussed "Additional Studies" (Ordinance 8.4).
"I can see this could be a double-edged sword," said commissioner Ladd Carter. "The [P&Z] commissioners need information but requiring studies by supplied at the applicant's expense could be prohibitive."
After discussion, the commissioners decided to leave this ordinance as is.
Discussion about original parcels was lively (Ordinance 14.3.3.B). The commissioners decided this section should read:
"The original parcel shall retain any division rights when any split occurs unless transferred by deed."
Commissioners omitted Chapter 16, Lands within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
"This was not discussed with P&Z and has not yet ratified with the Tribal Council," Carter said.
Work on this ordinance started in 2007, Carter said. He expressed appreciation for the concerned citizens—200-300 of them—who have worked on the ordinance.
"Eighteen different board members have served on the P&Z commission [to complete the ordinance]," he said. "We have reinforced the constitution, having given them a forum to talk.
"They have helped to refine down [the ordinance] to something we can live with," Carter said.
"Without input, we wouldn't be where we are," said Commission Chair Cleone Jolley.
"The ordinance is guidelines and what everyone's brought up to us," said commissioner Whitney Manwaring.
Some of the comments from the 17 people who attended the work meeting included:
"There was no conversation about these things," said Julianne Young. "We needed a forum to have conversations but the process doesn't allow for that."
"We are not against guidelines," said Lona Murdock. "The public is aware we need guidelines to be governed but we don't need restrictions.
"We need guidelines to protect our rights but not to restrict our rights," she said. "They seem to enjoy riding their favorite dead horse."
"I think they're in a hurry," said Bradley Young. "They don't seem to be open to new ideas.
"They don't recognize "how it's always been done" is wrong, too," said Young.