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The amended Salmon Development Code and Zoning Map came before the January 4 meeting of the Salmon City Council in the form of a Public Hearing on the changes that have been drafted.

Keeping to the procedural rules of a public hearing, written comments were heard first. Comments were then heard by those in favor of the amendments followed by those opposed to the changes. There were no comments offered by anyone with neutral feelings on the subject.

In a written statement from JoAnn Wolters and Dan Schroeder the city was asked to consider designating a portion of their Park Place property as commercial/industrial. The property adjoins the City Park ball diamonds and the 9th hole of the Golf Course. They said such a designation is not out of place in view of other zoning classifications in that area.

Secondly, Wolters/Schroeder asked that Bar area housing inside the city limits be allowed to include duplexes, triplexes and up to six-plexes. They said in their experience workers and starter families need that form of housing because it allows progression to single family home ownership. The letter recounted a successful rental history and stated the rented units were better cared for than many family owned homes.

Dave Gusky, an upper Fulton Street homeowner, spoke in favor of the Salmon Development Code document especially when compared to previous versions. He said he does not favor duplexes being allowed in the area and neither does a majority of neighborhood residents. He said two years ago 85 percent of the residents signed a petition against multiple unit dwellings. Recently a similar petition gathered 95 signatures and 96 percent of the signers wanted low density housing.

Opponents of the city code as written were Fred and Sue Waidely. Fred acted as spokesperson and agreed that the most recent document is much better than the old plan with the exception of “Appendix B” which is a matrix of property uses that made no sense to him whatsoever. Waidely said the matrix is not clear and that the old method is much better as a reference.

Waidely’s second issue was the zoning map. He disagreed with reclassifying the area north of Lombard Street from its current commercial zoning to industrial. He said that is not in the best interest of residents or the city because such a reclassification is not compatible with established use. He questioned who actually owns the property and whether the city would be able to supply the added infrastructure an industrial zone might demand. He suggested that the present owner make a formal written request to the city for a zoning change. Waidely said industrial versus commercial is a real issue, “… which should not be hidden in the interior of a must-pass document like we’re doing here tonight. [It should] go through the proper scrutiny to avoid any conflicts. ”

The official hearing was closed and the City Council then began deliberating what legally can and can’t be changed at this point in the process. Questions were referred to Teresa Morton of the City of Salmon Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Department. She confirmed that medium density zoning does allow for duplexes and quoted state law as saying if any significant changes are made to the document it has to go back to P&Z and on to a public hearing then back to the City Council. Morton acknowledged there are many things in the code that desperately need clarification however the Building Department hope is that the council adopt/accept the document “as is” then begin the process of selecting areas of the document which need more work. Her recommendation was for the council to adopt the Development Code document then go back to work sessions with P&Z for necessary changes.

When the time came for the council to accept or deny the document Councilman Rob Jackson made a motion that the council schedule a discussion and possible decision on the Salmon Development Code and Zoning Map for the February 1 council meeting. The motion resulted in a tie vote with Councilmen Russ Chinske, Neal James and Ken Hill voting ‘no’ and Councilmen Jim Baker, Jim Bockelman and Rob Jackson voting ‘yes.’ Mayor Leo Marshall said that in view of the almost 16 year history of working to amend the Development Code his tie breaking vote was ‘yes.’

The subject was added to the February 1 council meeting agenda.

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