County subdivisions under the microscope

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Bonner County commissioners are diving back into land use issues next week with proposed changes to county subdivisions.BC-1907-logo-smaller

Under the amendments, a minor land division will be defined as four or fewer lots, a minor subdivision will become 10 or fewer lots and a subdivision will encompass 11 or more lots. The upshot is potentially increased lot density and quicker turnaround in county review. Commissioners plan to consider the changes at a meeting secheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at the Bonner County Administration Building.

As with other changes to county land use code over the past year, the proposed alterations are creating controversy. County Commissioner Todd Sudick said the revisions would ease the process for landowners to develop properties while bringing county code in line with Idaho code. The motivations are similar to those cited for previous changes, which have included lessening building permit requirements, shortening county processing and and removing the need for Panhandle Health District to permit septic systems.

Opponents argue that by chopping county lands into too many parcels, existing landowners won’t be notified about new subdivisions until development begins. They say that without sufficient review from the public or other agencies, lots could be poorly planned, creating headaches for Realtors and neighbors alike.

“In short, I worry that in the current zeal to streamline our county building and zoning codes with little to no involvement from the public or other agencies, we are unintentionally creating a county that will be unrecognizable and undesirable to those of us who now live in, and love, this beautiful place,” county resident Susan Drumheller wrote in a letter to commissioners.

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