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In an attempt to clear up definitions and legal standings concerning rules that apply to an ‘area of impact’ City Attorney Fred Snook contacted Attorney Dale Storer, with the Idaho Falls law firm of Holden Kidwell Hahn & Crapo, to obtain his legal views. At the December 18 meeting of the Salmon City Council, Snook prefaced his findings with the fact Storer authored some of the state statutes regarding impact areas.

At issue is whether or not a representative resident from the impact area is required to be on the City Planning and Zoning Commission. Snook said that in Storer’s opinion since the city “delimited” (set the boundaries) of the impact area, that area is entitled to representation on the P&Z Commission. He went on to say the representation must reflect the proportion of population living within the city as opposed to the population of the impact area. Snook said the 2010 Census could be used to determine population numbers.

Snook told the council that the bottom line is, residents of the impact area must be on the City P&Z. Snook said Storer recommended the present Salmon City Development Code be immediately amended to implement the proportional representation required by state code.

Councilman Fred Waidely disagreed. He said the area of impact was ‘de-limited’ by a city/county joint agreement therefore the city’s P&Z is not required to have an impact area representative. Waidely went on to say there is a separate Planning and Zoning Commission consisting of three residents from the city and three from the county, plus a chairman and that that P&Z handles any impact area issues.

Waidely said there are three types of situations by which to define impact area boundaries. The first is when the area is delimited by the city. The second is when the area is delimited by the county and the third is when the boundaries are set by a joint agreement which Waidely said is what has been in place for a long time. He said the city has an impact area ordinance and the county has an impact area ordinance.

Snook agreed that is true but that does not constitute an agreement between the two entities. He said a search of records has been unable to find any such joint agreement. Waidely maintained the two ordinances regarding the impact area were mutually agreed upon.

Both men quoted statutes to back their statements.

Snook said he will try to get a more specific opinion since Storer did not address the third option of joint agreement.

One possibility available was to develop a joint city/county agreement. A motion to do so failed on a four to one vote with Waidely casting the only vote in favor.

The council previously voted to make impart area representation a requirement in the new Development Code. Councilman Bockelman thought there should be a legal opinion on operating under a formal joint agreement. Council President Jim Baker said he would like a discussion on which is the best way to operate, as in, option 1, 2 or 3. Councilman Jesse Bender thought the money to get another legal opinion should be saved for later and a general agreement was reached to continue research and discussions on the impact area issues after the first of the year.

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