By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
The Bonner County Zoning Commission will review an application for a conditional use permit from M3 Idaho Camp Bay, LLC on Thursday, July 21, considering the developer’s proposal for a wastewater treatment facility off Camp Bay Road.
The hearing, slated for 5:30 p.m. at the Bonner County Administration Building, is already drawing public attention due to comments from Panhandle Health District, which handles all septic permitting in the five northern counties.
In a letter emailed to planning staff July 6, PHD officials directly contradict a piece of the CUP application, which alleges that there are “no lakes, streams, rivers or other bodies of water on the site.”
“However, PHD did observe numerous water bodies (creeks, streams, drainages, swales, etc.) on the site,” the letter states. “The proposed wastewater system infrastructure will be going near, over or under many of the water bodies. All components of the proposed system must meet current standards; including setbacks to surface water.”
PHD went on to state that while the district has conducted field work at the site for the proposed wastewater facility and M3 has submitted a Preliminary Engineering Report and Facilities Plan to PHD, “the proposal has not yet been reviewed or field-verified by PHD and no approvals have been granted.” Further, if M3 receives PHD approval, PHD will then submit those plans to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for further review.
According to PHD, “the proposed wastewater disposal system is in the review stages” and, per Idaho Code, “wastewater system infrastructure shall not be installed without a valid septic permit, and a septic permit shall not be issued unless the proposal meets all current standards.”
Groups like the Idaho Conservation League are pointing to these discrepancies as a means to delay consideration of the CUP application.
“It would be inappropriate for the Zoning Commission to approve the CUP until Panhandle Health and the DEQ have approved that the proposal meets current standards,” ICL North Idaho Lakes Conservation Associate Jennifer Ekstrom wrote in an email.
The Zoning Commission hearing July 21 will be streamed online at the Bonner County Planning YouTube Channel. To view the M3 CUP application and other applications and associated documents currently under review in the Bonner County Planning Department, visit bonnercountyid.gov/departments/planning/current-projects.
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