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P&Z asks for clarification of Groundwater Protection Ordinance; Open Meeting training; Various solid waste updates; County and FTR to collaborate on grant for Teton Creek

P&Z asks for clarification on the Groundwater Protection Ordinance

Kurt Hibbert, the county planning and zoning administrator, asked the BOCC to clarify the language in Title 9-6-3, Subdivisions and PUDs Within an Area Of Critical Concern, for the members of the P&Z.  The main point of confusion has to do with whether an NP study can be required only when a piece of ground lies within the wetland overlay district or on any piece of ground that meets certain qualifying conditions.  There seems to be two different ways to interpret the ordinance and the P&Z has struggled on at least two occasions recently with whether or not to require an NP study.  The BOCC asked Kurt to listen to the groundwater protection public hearing tapes to decide what the intent of the ordinance was.

VARD believes it is important to rewrite that section of Title 9 so that it is very clear when an NP study should be required. There are areas in the valley which do not lie within a wetland overlay district that should absolutely have an NP study done if they are to be developed because of certain conditions that exist on site, such as having groundwater within 10 feet of the surface. VARD believes that a groundwater protection section in Title 9 should stand on its own and that it needn’t be connected to a wetland overlay district. The critical point to keep in mind is that an NP study is another tool to help protect one of our most valuable resources: water.

Open Meeting Training
As you probably know, the Attorney General’s office responded to a complaint filed against commissioners Stevenson, and Young and ruled that they did not violate any open meeting law. At the same time, the Attorney General recommended that all the commissioners attend a training session on the nuances and interpretation of the Idaho open meeting statute. That session took place during the regular BOCC meeting.

A lawyer from the Attorney General’s office came out and conducted the informative hour-long training.  The bottom line is that whenever deliberations are taking place by the commissioners those deliberations are open to the public and must be properly noticed.  The lawyer said that in Idaho there are many grey areas of the law that are open to interpretation.  He said at the end of his talk that even when one is careful mistakes can be made but that the important thing in the eyes of the law is that those mistakes are not made willfully made.

Landfill closure

 The bids process has begun to identify who will get the contract for the landfill closure. To date five bid packets have been picked up. The awarding of the contract will be during the commissioners meeting on Nov. 13th.


Transfer Station
Good progress has been made on resolving some of the design problems that were brought to light at the last BOCC meeting.  Chairman Young had a productive conference call with all the parties involved and a path of action was decided on to resolve the outstanding issues. The important point is that the work on the permanent transfer station will able to keep moving forward.

The bond that the county is using to pay for the transfer station is in place and the county will borrow 3 million dollars at 4.2562% points. Over the course of the 20 year loan the interest cost to the county will be in the neighborhood of $60,000.

Interim transfer station
Mostly due to weather the opening of the interim transfer station has been moved back to Saturday October 27. Please look in the last two issues of the TVN for operation guidelines.

County and FTR collaborate on Teton Creek
The BOCC moved to move forward with a Brownfield grant in partnership with Friends of the Teton River to do an assessment of the land that the county owns along Teton Creek east of the old landfill. The purpose of the assessment is to see if that piece of ground could possibly be used as an overflow area for Teton Creek. For that to happen it is first necessary to see if any potential problems lie under the surface where the Driggs city dump was located.

The next scheduled BOCC meeting is Monday, Nov. 12th.   The BOCC meets in the back room of the American Legion Hall which is behind the courthouse on Wallace Avenue.  To get to the room, enter through the  entrance off of the alley between the American Legion Hall and the Cooke building.


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