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The Salmon City Council has set a date of September 17 for a formal public hearing on the City’s proposed Development Code.

The council scheduled the hearing at its August 21 meeting as it made the decision to accept the Development Code document from the City Planning and Zoning Commission rather than remand it to P&Z for further review or modification.

City Attorney Fred Snook informed the council of the process it is bound by state law to follow. He said the P&Z held a hearing and afterwards made some material changes to the Development Code text. The commission then had a legal choice of holding another public hearing on those changes or passing the Development Code on to the City Council, which is what it chose to do. Snook said the council as the governing board has a legal right to remand the document to P&Z or to proceed with a mandatory public hearing on the changes made after the P&Z public hearing. The council chose the latter option.

If, after the September 17 public hearing, material changes are made to the Development Code document another public hearing will be set for public comment on those changes. If there are no changes necessary after the council’s public hearing there will be no need for another hearing and the council will proceed to deliberate its Development Code decision. Snook said it is a complicated process and it is one set by state statute.

The council unanimously passed a motion by Councilman Fred Waidely which read, “…that the City Council shall conduct its own public hearing to consider recommended material changes in the text in accordance with Idaho Code 67-6509 (a)(b) and Idaho Code 67-6511 (2)(c) and will have the public hearing on Tuesday, September 17 at 6PM.”

The hearing will take place in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room.

In an earlier Public Comment period P&Z Commission member Gregg Farmer Lowell listed the various options the council could pursue and stated he felt it would be a terrible mistake to send the Development Code back to the Planning and Zoning committee. He labeled the P&Z as a dysfunctional organization and said that to return the document to them would merely be a repetition of the circumstances that have led to legal issues as well as questions and doubts from the community. Lowell’s preference was to enlist the assistance of professional consultant Terri Ottens, who has been involved with creation of the Development Code, and obtain clarifications on the disputed issues.

In Public Comments following the council decision to move forward with a public hearing, Lorraine Hand, an outspoken opponent of the Development Code as written, commended the council for its action. She asked if she may get copies of the recommendations presented to the council and was directed to City Clerk Mary Benton.

Lloyd Jones commented he was glad to see that folks in the impact zone are having an opportunity for input. He referred to criticisms the Development Code has generated and said that to criticize or offer constructive criticism doesn’t make citizens the enemy and it doesn’t make the elected people the enemy. Jones said, “Sometimes, depending on how the criticism is worded, it may indicate we think you guys are the enemy or the County Commissioners are the enemy or the feds are the enemy and I don’t think that’s true at all.”

The September 17 Development Code Public Hearing will take place in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room.

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