Revised Solid Waste Fees and Sorting Systems Discussed; Eastern Idaho Public Health Presentation; Road Re-naming; Gee PUD required to do an NP study; Expert Review Committee Discussed; Fire Code Compliance Question
Revised Solid Waste Fees and Sorting Systems Discussed
County engineer Louis Simonet presented a memorandum discussing changing the fees at the new county transfer station. Currently, different fees are charged per ton to domestic haulers vs. service providers, and sorted trash also gets a different rate. The commissioners discussed the different sorting systems that could be used to ensure that county waste is properly sorted. This is a big issue because the county C&D pit is currently out of compliance with state requirements – better sorting needs to be implemented.
Eastern Idaho Public Health Presentation
District 7 Health Director Richard Horn presented a summary of Eastern Idaho Public Health's current services and programs. Most notable was Mike Dronan's environmental health article regarding the dramatic increase in private septic systems in the valley. For example, during the 2007 fiscal year, 182 septic permits were issued, and 17 public water systems were approved. He said that there were cumulative impacts that have to be considered. The article also cites the use of the county's nutrient pathogen ordinance 9-6-3 (the goal of which is to protect groundwater quality) as a critical tool in regulating these systems. On a similar topic, Director Horn also stated that the cost of septic permits might soon increase to $400.
GIS Department Discusses Road Re-Naming
The GIS department presented their final list of potential road names for roads that must be renamed because of similarly named roads across the valley. When residents receive notice that their road name will have to change, they will also receive the list of potential names, which include native flora and fauna. Residents will have 60 days to come up with a new road name on their own, or take a name assigned by the county.
Gee PUD required to do NP Study
This was a continuation of the deliberation on the final plat from the April 17th BOCC public hearing. After debating the language and intent behind the nutrient pathogen ordinance at the previous public hearing, the commissioners tabled this development until the developer obtained a letter from District 7 Health stating that the Gee PUD sewage and water systems are adequate. Since that hearing, District 7 has issued a letter indicating that there is high groundwater in the area, and that if the county NP ordinance were enforced on this project, the District would withdraw its approval pending the results of the study.
At the April 17th hearing Commissioner Trupp had said that someone needed to take the time to listen to the hearing tapes from when the NP ordinance was passed to determine its true intent. Commissioner Stevenson reported at this meeting that she had since listened to the tapes twice, and determined that the statements made by Roger Hoopes and others clarify that the ordinance applies to situations where there is groundwater at less than 10 feet or the property is within the wetland overlay. This is the interpretation of the ordinance that VARD has repeatedly said is in accordance with the plain language and intent of the ordinance. It is also the interpretation that Commissioner Stevenson had argued in favor of at the last hearing, when she requested that Gee PUD be required to do an NP study.
The commissioners then discussed the District 7 field notes, which indicate that there is high ground water present on the property even at a very dry time of year. The commissioners unanimously voted to table this application until an NP study, as proscribed by the ordinance, is provided by the applicant. The commissioners noted the new precedent that has been set by this decision: from now on, the NP ordinance will be interpreted to apply to wetland overlay areas and areas with high ground water. VARD is pleased to see the Board acknowledging the intent of the ordinance and choosing to enforce it consistently. Protecting the quality of our groundwater couldn’t be more important.
Pitchfork PUD Will Be Heard at 6PM on May 15th
Due to a noticing error, Pitchfork PUD final plat will be heard at 6pm on May 15th and NOT at 1:15 PM as advertised.
Expert Review Committee Discussed, But Not Authorized
P&Z Commissioner Dave Hensel sent an email to the BOCC recommending that the county establish a technical review committee (pursuant to county code 9-3-3B and 9-2-2) or hire expert consultants to help the P&Z process large PUDs. The role of these experts would be to assist the P&Z in understanding and evaluating the voluminous applications, with very technical detail, being submitted for several very large PUDs. Commissioners Young and Stevenson expressed great interest in the idea, but wanted more details of how this would be accomplished. Commissioner Trupp said that he believes these kinds of committees are just more bureaucracy that is aimed to slow down and derail development.
Fire District Requests County Assistance With Fire Code Compliance
The Fire District sent a request to the county to stop issuing building permits for two subdivisions that are currently out of compliance with the fire code (their fire ponds have run dry.) The building department said that they did not think they possessed the authority in the county code to withhold building permits on account of fire code noncompliance. The board discussed forming a water district in order to shift the maintenance of fire protection systems from the homeowner's associations (who have no expertise on such matters) to the fire district. The problem, however, is that the fire district does not have the staffing to take on this additional responsibility. The Fire District is currently drafting ordinances with more “teeth” to enforce the fire code.