Haggling continues over private property rights

Kootenai republican group calls special meeting for Tuesday

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Concern is still running high of threatened property rights in Kootenai County's rewrite of its building and development laws.

The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee has scheduled a special meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. to discuss the Unified Land Use Code, and possibly approve a resolution opposing the county's direction with building and land use restrictions.

"It will be a resolution of whether they are in favor of or not in favor of the public land use code," said Neil Oliver, KCRCC chairman. "I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion."

A KCRCC legislative committee proposed a draft of the resolution at a recent meeting, Oliver said, and the draft was directed back for revision.

He is calling a special meeting on the revised document to see the issues addressed, he said.

"There's a number of them who are concerned," he said of KCRCC members.

Members' hang-ups "always come back to private property rights and use of property," he said, adding that he is trying to remain neutral and preferred not to disclose his own thoughts.

The revised resolution was not ready on Friday.

The KCRCC already passed a resolution a few months ago that cautioned the commissioners to be careful with the ULUC. The document stated that the new land use code "if not carefully drafted, can erode both our private property rights, and the general welfare, by saddling property owners with improper regulations" and unnecessary costs.

Matt Roetter, KCRCC precinct 18 committeeman, said he hasn't perused the contents of the ongoing code rewrite. But he is still passionate against restricting property rights, he said.

"That's why I chose to live in the west. The more people, you get more government control," said Roetter, who doesn't live in the unincorporated county land affected by the ULUC. "You have to plan for growth, but that has to be tampered with not stepping all over private property rights."

The ULUC is intended to implement the county Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2010, which provides a vision for future development in the county.

Folks have been able to read the rewrite and provide input all along at www.kccode.com.

Some have also tossed out concerns of influence by Agenda 21, an action plan adopted at a United Nations conference to accelerate sustainable development around the world.

Roetter and Oliver both said they don't know much about it and it doesn't top their concerns.

Scott Clark, Community Development Director, agreed property rights are "a very big deal" in Kootenai County.

"Everyone involved in the process acknowledges and wants to preserve rights," Clark said.

He reminded that the code rewrite intends to correct contradicting and confusing regulations, and expedite bureaucratic processes.

"It's our hope that these new regulations actually will do a better job preserving property rights," Clark said.

Commissioner Dan Green said the other commissioners are intent on protecting individual property rights in the county.

"We respect the property rights not only of the landowner and the applicant, but of the person next door," Green said. "We encourage people to continue participating in the process."

He has been given information about Agenda 21, he said, but he assured that outside influences will not be imposed on North Idaho.

"As long as people participate on the local level, North Idaho values will be reflected in our ensuing development ordinances," Green said.

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