The road to Ada County

By Diane Wheeler
Reader Contributor

As a refugee from the Golden State, I understand the importance of structure, both physical and political. A visit to the Winchester Mystery House as a teen was a formidable experience. The widow of the Winchester house was driven by a belief that evil spirits could be held at bay by continuous building and noise. So she ordered her workers to build continuous nonsense — stairs and hallways to nowhere — with no purpose. As a result, her once-peaceful home became a haven of insanity.

Savvy political spirits use the very same tactic — disruption, noise and worthless work — to keep their political opponents from accomplishing their goals. This is exactly what is happening with the Selle/Samuels Area Subcommittee. Our goal to keep our zoning rural and agricultural has nearly been thwarted at every turn.  

This process started at the Northside School about two years ago with the Planning and Zoning folks trying to direct our people to point out the areas that we wanted developed. Despite this, the residents stood their ground and maintained their resolve to remain rural and agricultural. 

Next, the Selle/Samuels Area Subcommittee was formed. Idaho Code 67-6504 and 67-6508 states that the Planning and Zoning Commission is charged with conducting a comprehensive review process and that area subcommittees are established to carry out these duties. 

The make up of our committee was supposed to be property owners who lived in the area. But that did not happen. Two renters and a property owner who lives in another county were chosen over property owners who lived in Selle/Samuels area. Our grand assignment by the county planners was to put a bubble on the area that we wanted to develop. No bubbles ever made it to our map!

As soon as any progress was made by our group on rural and agricultural uses, a shake up would occur. Pulling off a member, giving us ridiculous assignments, operating without minutes of the previous meeting, putting on a new person who may have never attended a meeting or have any idea of our complicated history. 

We have passed numerous motions and voted on matters that are not reflected in our document. We have protested the Title 12 changes that were modeled after the Ada County Code, and we have asked the County Commissioners to suspend them until we have concluded our process.

 Oh! But that’s not all! The man who recently rounded the county and stumped for your vote and got it is now breathing down our necks. With his buddy, Matt Linscott, at his side, he is directing us as to what issues we can address and which ones we can’t. And yes, you guessed it, we are not to have a voice on anything he disagrees with. Three times we have voted against including the area where he lives in our Selle/Samuels sub area plan. If he is able to wrangle and win a fourth vote on the subject, he may be in full control of the outcome of our sub area plan, and our toil will be for naught.

I have great expectations, and I do not want to continue down the road to liberal Ada County, AKA mini California. Zoning, in my book, has a limited but necessary function: keeping batch plants out of neighborhoods protects everyone. We should always know where the farmland is, where the industrial areas are, and where the suburban areas lie, so that our county can flourish. This way there are no big surprises, and everyone’s property rights can be respected. But that’s not how things are working out. Right now, the only property rights that exist are for those with enough muscle to push in where they don’t belong. I call it “profity rights” using Big Daddy politics.

The campaigner who blew sweet sunshine at anyone who would listen and waxed eloquently about how nicely the area subcommittees were going said with exuberance, “Those committees are of the people, by the people, and for the people, blah, blah, blah.” Not so! It is, in my opinion, of Big Daddy, by Big Daddy, and for Big Daddy. And to that I say, “Go Daddy, take Matt, and leave us alone.”

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