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An official public hearing on the cityís proposed Comprehensive Plan was conducted during the July 7th meeting of the Salmon City Council. The plan has been in the works for the past year as additions and deletions were added and subtracted from the old 1991-92 plan, based on several public input meetings and months of Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission study. Before forwarding it to the City Council the P&Z officially recommended the proposed plan be adopted.

The Comprehensive Plan Update includes a Land Use Plan map which reflects future intended use of the land but does not in itself reflect or change current zoning.

Terri Ottens is the Consulting Planner who has been working with City Community Development Planner Dan Maiyo on the Comprehensive Plan process. She told council members that after hearing from the public they could make minor changes to the plan without having to hold another public hearing. If desired changes were deemed major, such as substantially changing the intent of the proposed plan, the plan would have to be returned to the P&Z for further consideration and the public hearing process would have to be repeated.

A formal public hearing is structured to hear written comments, comments from those in favor, those neutral and those opposed to what is being presented. Four letters were read into the record. A letter from former mayor Stan Davis pointed out private property rights in terms of land use and wanted an addition to the grandfathered private property rights section. A written comment from County Planning and Zoning Administrator Gary Goodman urged that clauses be added about specific nuisance enforcement to insure clutter free and weed free, landscaped properties. Other written comments came from Tom Keegan and Beth Waterbury who mostly suggested changes and clarification of verbiage in specific portions of the plan.

There were no in-person comments in favor of the plan or taking a neutral position. Two people in attendance took issue with portions of it.

Mary Benton voiced concerns about the future land use map, specifically the intended future land use of property at the corner of North St. Charles and Confederate Drive. The map shows a possible commercial designation for that property in the future. She noted that even though it is now being used commercially the area is actually zoned residential. Her concern was that the map already showing future commercial zoning would someday create an influence towards an actual zoning change. Ottens confirmed that the map shows an intention for future zoning. ďSo, if someone comes in and asks for a zone change from residential to commercial, the map says it should be approved.Ē Ottens said if the zoning concern is strong the lot in question should not be designated as a future commercial land use. City Attorney John McKinney determined that changing the map to reflect the areaís present residential zoning would not constitute a substantial change in the plan.

Jim Lund, a resident on Washington Street, also had issues with the future land use map based on the same residential versus commercial indications. He said he and his neighbors opposed a zoning change from residential to highway commercial several years ago. He said he didnít think the four property owners involved were aware of the intended land use map designations or have changed their minds concerning rezoning to highway commercial. He asked that the future land use map show the residential zoning that is currently in place. Lund said he will contact his neighbors and inform them of what the map says that areaís future land use could be.

Once the public hearing was officially closed Ottens reviewed the councilís options. She said the changes suggested in written comments were clarifications of language not substantial changes of the planís intent therefore could be added. As far as private property right concerns she said they are already addressed under the planís Private Property Rights Policy on page 8. As to the map she said if the council decided to remove the future commercial designation at the end of Confederate Drive it would not be considered a substantial change requiring further P&Z study and another public hearing. Attorney McKinney concurred.

Ottens said the Comprehensive Plan of the early nineties was adopted by way of an ordinance. Because adoption of the rewritten plan requires repealing the old plan it must also be in the form of an ordinance. She said that even though the law states Comp Plans should be put in place by resolution in this case the required three reading, public comment process of adopting an ordinance will allow for the suggested changes to be made.

The council heard the first reading of the ordinance and passed it unanimously. The second and third readings with whatever amendments have been added will be conducted at subsequent City Council meetings.

A copy of the draft Comprehensive Plan can be requested at City Hall. The document is also posted on line at www.cityofsalmon.com

The next meeting of the Salmon City Council will be July 21st.

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