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The Salmon City Council is in the process of reviewing the elements of the proposed City Development Code that have brought complaints from citizens. At its November 20 meeting the council spent over an hour on two of the issues: An allowance for duplexes in Low Density Residential areas and a zoning designation of Public Purpose for properties used by government entities.

Presently some of the properties used for the public’s purpose are zoned according to how surrounding properties are zoned. City Park and Island Park are zoned commercial. The City Shop, Hockey Rink, Child Development Center and Business Innovation Center are located in a residential area but are zoned highway commercial. The proposed Development Code changes the zoning on all those properties to the same designation, Public Purpose.

After much debate, the main issues of public contention were narrowed to two portions of the proposal. The first was the insertion of the word ‘may’ related to public hearings. The word leaves a choice of whether or not to allow public comment on any change in the use of Public Purpose land up to the discretion of the City Council. At the September 17 hearing, participants made it known they felt the public must have a say in changes-of-use issues.

It was also made known that residents didn’t like the name “Public Purpose.” Councilman Jim Kluesner mentioned at a previous council meeting the term Public Purpose has United Nations origins.

During the discussion Councilman Jim Bockelman recommended deleting the word “may” from the proposed code and renaming the zoning designation. Councilman Fred Waidely said the zone designation rules that would be applied to land being used for the benefit or service of the public is very limited as far as what is and isn’t allowed on the property. Examples of properties now in existence include the Emergency Services building, county and city offices, ambulance shed, hospital and schools plus property used by the state or federal agencies.

Waidely made a motion to change the proposed Development Code term ‘Public Purpose’ to ‘Public Use’ and to adopt the wording, “…the City Council shall conduct a public hear on any changes from current use.” The motion passed unanimously.

The current City Development Code does now allow duplexes to be built in Low Density Residential (LDR) zoning where no more four dwelling units per acre are allowed. The proposed Development Code included an asterisk in the designation of LDR which would allow duplexes in the single family dwelling zones. LDR zoning encompasses all of the bar hill. Duplexes are allowed in Medium Density Residential (MDR) and Flood Plain zones in the current code as well as the newly proposed code.

Councilman Fred Waidely made a motion to allow duplexes in LDR, as written. Waidely and Councilman Jim Bockelman voted for the motion which was defeated on a vote of four to two.

Councilman Jim Baker then made a motion to declare a new zoning category where duplexes would be allowed, Low Density Residential-2, for the area extending from the Salmon River to the Southeast, West of Highway 93 and South of Main Street

The motion passed unanimously. A public hearing is required before any zoning changes can be adopted and one will be held for the council’s LDR-2 recommendation as well as for the revised Development Code proposal when the council completes its document review and re-write.

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