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Kootenai County Consolidates Land Use Codes
Kootenai County is seeking public input to revise its existing land use codes. The draft document is now available for review, and is meant to serve as a temporary code until an update to the Comprehensive Plan and a subsequent new code can be conducted.
The current development regulations are a collection of ordinances enacted over five decades. As a result of the original ordinances being written in different times, there are various problems. For instance, there are five sets of definitions in four titles. These often overlap and sometimes conflict. Further, other code language is frequently repetitious and sometimes contradictory. Where more than one Title applies to a proposed development, the regulations can be confusing to interpret. Consequently, the various regulations are often disjointed, difficult to navigate, and at times hard to enforce in a fair and consistent manner.
The draft Interim Code is based on the current regulations and consolidates them for easier reading and comprehension. Additionally, the revisions aim to streamline procedures. For the most part, this draft does not change policy aspects of the existing regulations. For example, it does not reduce allowed densities; eliminate any current legal use of land in any zoning district, or in any way further limit the existing use of property. However, there are proposed changes in favor of property rights. For example, the 25-foot "undisturbed natural vegetation buffer" currently required along waterfront lots has been eliminated.
Click here for the Draft Interim Land Use & Development Code-This version of the proposed interim code shows how the code would look if actually adopted by the County.
Click here for the Draft Interim Land Use & Development Code (Redlined Version)-This version allows the reader to understand the work effort than has transpired to consolidate all of the existing regulations into one code. It shows the existing code in redlined format, with proposed deletions in
strikethrough, new wording in underscore, and wording that is unchanged is shown in plain black type face.
The planning process, both current and long range, is an opportunity for a county to
prepare a set of strategies for the future. Planning and Zoning in Kootenai County was
non-existent before 1973. Prior to that year, anything built on a piece of property
followed no set of standards. Current planning and zoning regulations went into effect
in 1973, and the "Idaho Local Planning Act" was created. Now, changes, upgrades, and
variances must conform to this current code to determine whether structure is harmonious
with the proposed site's zoning.
Permits are required from the the Planning Division of the Community Development Department
prior to engaging in site disturbance
activities such as grading, excavating, and storm drainage or runoff control, if planned
within a subdivision. In addition, water quality issues are of concern. If a septic system
is involved, inquiries are directed to Panhandle Health at 8500 N. Atlas Road, Hayden, ID
83835 (415-5100). If a community water system is affected by the site disturbance, inquiries
are addressed to the Department of Environmental Quality at 2110 Ironwood Parkway, Coeur