Bonner County scraps mining code changes

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Proposed amendments to Bonner County Revised Code affecting mining operations are no longer up for adoption, despite the Planning and Zoning Commission voting to recommend the changes to Bonner County commissioners at a Jan. 7 hearing.

Planning Director Milton Ollerton told the Sandpoint Reader on Feb. 8 that “in preparing the mining ordinance for [a] hearing with the board, some questions arose that needed to be addressed.”

“The Planning Department withdrew the application,” Ollerton continued, “and will be submitting a new draft to the Planning Commission after some rework.”

The proposal — which first went before the commission in late summer and has since been extensively workshopped — would have introduced a new mechanism for permitting some mining operations in the county: the certificate of zoning compliance. The certificate would be issued administratively by the planning director without a public hearing, unlike in the case of a conditional use permit, which requires a chance for the public to comment on certain proposed operations.

The Planning Commission voted 3-1 to recommend approval of the code changes on Jan. 7, with commissioners Matt Linscott and Brian Bailey recusing themselves due to conflicts of interest, while acting Chair Don Davis abstained, as he didn’t need to break a tie. 

While that would normally mean that the code amendments would go before the Bonner County Board of Commissioners for final approval, the Planning Department’s withdrawal of the project application means that any new drafts will need to go through another workshopping process with the P&Z Commission.

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