Trail Creek Partners LLC's request for a permit to build in the Trail Creek floodplain
Decision Makers: Victor Planning & Zoning Commission
Topic: Trail Creek Partners LLC's request for a permit to build in the Trail Creek floodplain
City of Victor
Planning and Zoning Commission
PO Box 122
Victor, ID 83455
April 8, 2008
Dear Members of the Victor Planning and Zoning Commission,
I am writing on behalf of Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) regarding Trail Creek Partners LLC’s request for a Conditional Use Permit for building in the Trail Creek Overlay Zone. VARD opposes this request for a CUP because the integrity of the floodplain will be compromised. It is important to protect the integrity of the floodplain in order to preserve water and fish quality in Trail Creek, to allow the creek to meander within its natural boundaries as well as for flood protection for residents who live along the creek.
Although the Victor ordinances allow for building up to fifty feet from the high water mark of the creek, the ordinances do not adequately enforce the vision of protecting Trail Creek that is outlined in Victor’s Comprehensive Plan. The Local Land Use Planning Act (LLUPA) requires that decision makers evaluate developments to ensure that they are in accordance with both the city ordinances and the goals of the comprehensive plan. The Comprehensive Plan specifically requires that the flood plain be protected, and VARD is, therefore, concerned about any hard surface being put in the flood plain, particularly directly adjacent to the creek.
Policy 4 of General Land Use Goals in the Victor Comprehensive Plan states, “encourage compatible uses of floodplain areas, such as for agriculture or open space and recreation.” Policy 4 of Historic Preservation Policies also states, “Preservation of the Trail Creek Flood Plain and other natural features of the City of Victor should be undertaken through planning, development controls and specific activities for future open space usage.” Policy 8 of Hazardous Areas Goals further guides decision makers to “restrict activities destructive of vegetation in designated riparian areas.” In Chapter 13 Special Areas and Sites, the Trail Creek Drainage area is identified as one of three areas Victor residents “value and would like to maintain within the City limits.”
Any riparian area in the valley is important because that is where the majority of the biodiversity, such as songbirds, raptors and big wildlife, are located. Riparian areas are often also important wildlife corridors. Trail Creek is an important resource because it is one of three major headwaters of the river, and the flood plain allows the creek to migrate within its natural boundaries. In this instance, the health of the creek, the riparian area and the cutthroat trout that live in the creek are important to the region and their health is of principal concern to many Victor residents, as evidenced by the Comprehensive Plan. Given that this will probably be a particularly high water year and that there is currently an eagle family nesting along the creek, it seems like an appropriate time for the city to protect the Trail Creek Overlay Zone as required by the Comprehensive Plan.