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Commission raises the bar on what is required for preliminary plat hearings; Blue Indian Subdivision asked to return with several additional materials

Commission raises the bar on what is required for preliminary plat hearings
In a lengthy discussion, P&Z developed their policies and procedures for how the county planning staff will interpret the ambiguous language in our code regarding processing preliminary plat applications.

One issue that the P&Z addressed was mandatory fiscal impact studies, which have not been thoroughly done in the past.  Most fiscal impact studies submitted by developers predict huge monetary windfalls for the county, though closer scrutiny of their methodology, and experience, shows that this is usually not the case. The P&Z directed the planning staff that fiscal impact studies will now be based on templates provided by two previous studies that the commission found to be credible.  The P&Z also developed criteria for traffic studies.

In the past, development applications were routinely being scheduled for hearing when they were still missing requirements. Going forward, the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) comments on nutrient-pathogen (NP) studies must be received by the county before the development in question can be scheduled for a preliminary plat hearing.

These clarified guidelines are a very progressive step for P&Z that will benefit developers because they will have a clear idea of what studies are expected of them, and how they should be done.

Blue Indian Subdivision asked to return with several additional materials
VARD, Idaho Fish & Game, and members of the public expressed concern with wildlife impacts and road safety issues with this 44-unit subdivision proposed on 143 acres located at 600W and Bates road near the base of the Bighole Mountains. VARD also commented on the need for the commissioners to develop a policy on what kind of proof of available water rights would be required to get preliminary plat approval.

P&Z did a good job of taking the tools that they had just discussed and applying them to this development application by requiring the developer to provide several additional and/or improved submittals: a revamped fiscal impact study based on the templates provided by the P&Z, proposed mitigations based on this fiscal impact study, a wildlife site assessment and mitigation plan, proof of water rights transfers purchases, and proposed road mitigations that are based on the county engineer and planning administrator's recommendations.

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