Minutes - Regular Meeting

Boundary County Planning and Zoning Commission

February 28 2013

Present: Matt Cossalman, John Cranor, Caleb Davis, Marciavee Cossette, John Moss, Bruce Behrman, Mike Weland. Excused absense: Ron Self, Steve Shelman. Staff: Dan Studer.

Matt Cossalman, Chairman, opened the meeting at 5:30 p.m. The first agenda item was approving the November minutes. Cossalman confirmed that all members received a copy by mail/email; then asked for any changes. Mike Weland motion to accept the minutes without amending, John Cranor seconded, the motion passed unanimously.

Cossalman opened item two on the agenda, election of officers. Cossalman opened the floor for nominations for Chairman – Mike Weland nominated Matt Cossalman, John Cranor seconded. There were no other nominations for Chairman. Cossalman asked for the vote, which was unanimous.

Cossalman then opened the floor to nominations for Co-Chairman. John Moss nominated John Cranor, Mike Weland seconded. There were no other nominations for Co-Chairman; the vote was unanimous.

Cossalman then opened the third agenda item, discussion regarding the possible application for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment. Cossalman began with an outline of the procedures in the ordinance, and a suggested meeting outline plan, and then what the scope of the amendment might be. Cossalman added that forms for written comment will be accepted, they are available by the sign up sheet; he did not at this time want to solicit public comment at this meeting.

Cossalman read the ordinance provisions for amendment and review, explaining that the scope of the amendment will be limited; the commission would hold multiple workshops to develop the language for the amendment application. This application would be followed by a P&Z public hearing and a Board of County Commissioners public hearing. Should there be significant material changes, additional public hearings would be necessary.

John Moss asked if there is a need for changing the Comprehensive Plan? Cossalman responded outlining the timing of the original Comprehensive Plan, followed by the development of the Ordinance, then court judgments requiring the amending of the Ordinance. Changes made in the Ordinance process brought to light inconsistencies in the current Comprehensive Plan. The Ordinance changed because of court rulings making provisions obsolete, and the Ordinance specifies that the county will not enforce laws that are created and enforced by the federal or state governments. Cossalman added that commissioners were approached a year or so ago and there was resistance to amending the Comprehensive Plan, however, when approached recently the new Board of Commissioners was receptive to the idea of the P&Z Commission reviewing and proposing an amendment. Cossalman also feels this current group of commission members, with the experience working on the Ordinance, is well qualified to take on this task; the members also seem to work well together. Cossalman specifically pointed out Land Uses in Chapter 13 discussing “special uses”, which was amended in the Ordinance to conditional uses. Chapter 14 has areas that suggest extra layers of regulation which duplicate existing laws, and go against the vision statement which would suggest this is not desirable. Cossalman related his experience with Commissioners looking at the critical wildlife habitat map, Chaper 14.3.6.

John Cranor commented that where federal laws and state laws apply the Comprehensive Plan should not suggest added regulation. Cossalman continued that the scope of the amendment be focused only on Chapters 13 and 14, Land Use and Implementation. John Cranor added that his impression after meeting with Commissioners was their recognition that something needed to be done, and they seemed appreciative that the P&Z Commission wanted to take this on. Weland concurred with Cranor, saying that in developing the Comprehensive Plan what was in the back of peoples minds was the old Zoning Ordinance, and the changes made since took another direction in the Ordinance which may lead to conflict with the Comp Plan. This could conceivably lead to lawsuits over the Ordinance not following the outline of the Comprehensive Plan.

Cranor added that going through this process may bring out other things that may come to light, and suggest more changes that will make the Comprehensive Plan match up with the Ordinance.

Cossalman suggested going around the table for comments, John Moss asked about what occurred to remove the overlay map in 14.3.6. Cossalman explained Commissioners response to the generalized map, and their reaction was to drop it. The state and fed's have control of wildlife and it's protection.

Weland said that permits applied for can be routed to state and fed agencies by Studer for their review and comment. There was further discussion regarding the elimination of duplication where other agencies have authority.

Mike Weland made a motion: schedule a workshop to amend the Comprehensive Plan. Motion seconded by John Moss. The vote in favor of the motion was unanimous.

Cossalman lead discussion about workshop dates. It was decided to meet March 7 and April 11. Workshops will be held in the Jury Room of the court house starting at 5:30 pm. Members agreed the format that was used to change the Ordinance worked well. Workshops will accept written comments from the public; public testimony is not allowed at workshops unless it is requested. Cranor emphisized that written comments are to be accepted, and that the public will be heard early in this process.

Weland discussed editing process, using strikethroughs so all additions and deletions are clearly displayed and nothing is lost.

Cossalman stated he had already started going through Chapter 14 changes. He asked that everyone go through Chapters 13 and 14 and they could all discuss specific sections of interest and assign these to members at the first workshop.

Cossette asked about the public attending this meeting, and if they may possibly wanting to make a comment. Cossalman said he would like a motion; Cossette motioned that any public wishing to make a comment to the Commission at this time be allowed. Motion second by Weland. The motion passed.

Cossalman asked those in attendance if they had comments they wished to share. Tim Patton, Bonners Ferry responded that he felt that the agenda was being pushed by Matt Cossalman, and that the process is Matt Cossalman's view and not the publics'. He also expressed dissatisfaction with Commissioner's views.

Jay Epstein, Bonners Ferry, expressed concern the P&Z Commission is headed down a hard and difficult road – the process is going to take a lot of work. The Comprehensive Plan exists for a purpose and needs to be respected.

Ada Gardiner, Bonners Ferry, asked about the workshop format. Matt Cossalman reviewed the ordinance provision Section 18.7 Workshops. Notice of public hearing was discussed.

John Moss read Ordinance Section 18.7.4, that the public may give testimony at workshops if the public is notified of this; Cossalman said they may but would prefer written comments be submitted. Cranor concurred saying written comment is easier to manage. Behrman asked that if written comments are given, may the commission ask questions of the individual? Cossalman indicated yes, but that is different than setting up a meeting where whoever wishes to speak can. Weland commented that until we start this process and begin to post information for people there won't be much comment.

Members of the commission discussed the agenda and notice of the workshop. Although open meeting law states 24 hours notice for special public meetings, the ordinance requires 5 days notice for workshops. The workshop agenda will start with discussing Chapter 14.

The workshop is scheduled for March 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm in the Jury Room. The Commission will begin with Chapter 14, and assign out other sections to members for review and recommendations. A second workshop is scheduled for April 11.

Weland motion to adjourn; second by Cossette. Motion passed.

End of Record.

Dan Studer, Recorder