Replace and Repeal

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Replace and Repeal

One more thing on the unenlightened ULUC opposition.  Opponents need to recognize that being against the new code has the same effect as being for the old one. Until a new code is passed, the old one is still in effect.  The purported “property rights” issues in the ULUC already exist — in the current code. But much worse.

The reality is that Idaho state law requires the county to have land use laws, and the county does indeed have land use laws on the books.  The problem is that the laws are patchwork of overlapping codes, the central core of which dates back to the 1970s. Even with band-aid fixes over the years, the current code can be vague, contradictory, inefficient, impossible to navigate, and can have huge gaping holes. Both developers and neighborhood residents have had enormous frustration working with the current code and the accompanying procedures. As a result, county staff and the County Commissioners are faced with impossible decision-making choices. When the code isn’t clear, the decisions are necessarily subjective and political. A lot of land use decisions end up in a courtroom, left to a judge to figure it all out.

The vast majority of the ULUC — the Unified Land Use Code —  is essentially a neutral re-write of already existing law. Where the current codes provide requirements for property subdivision, the ULUC also provides for subdivision. Where the current county codes require wildfire protection in some circumstances, so does the ULUC. Where the current codes mention landscaping provisions in at least 17 different sections,  the ULUC will re-compile them in one place.

The ULUC does, however, take a more flexible and streamlined approach. Rather than create problematic “non-conforming” properties like the old code, the ULUC takes an innovative “neighborhood conservation district” approach. Rather than redundant and time-consuming public hearings under the old code, the ULUC will reconfigure the public hearing processes (pdf) for both expediency and fairness.

Most importantly, the ULUC will minimize the difficult, unpredictable, subjective and political decision-making under the old code.  The ULUC promises clearer guidance and more efficient processes for staff, quicker and more reliable decisions and for applicants, and fairer procedures for everyone.  Indeed, the ULUC  puts the current code out of our misery. Opponents of the ULUC have nothing positive to offer.

 

 

By | 2012-07-10T10:51:22+00:00 July 10th, 2012|Land Use|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. County Centinel July 12, 2012 at 8:32 am - Reply

    There are some very compelling, and absolutely legitimate reasons why we should be very concerned about the Agenda 21 archetype, ICLEI, and how they do affect us here in Kootenai County.

    Actually Terry, the UN first began developing its Agenda 21 policies in the 1970s, however it got its legs in so far as it impacts us here in the US in 1992 when at the United Nations Earth Summit in Brazil the then US President Bush signed it, as did 178 other countries.

    It was immediately implemented by President Clinton as he formed the PCSD or President’s Council on Sustainable Development. The PCSD consists of nonprofits like the Sierra Club, business leaders, and cabinet level appointees. They in turn came up with millions of dollars for the American Planning Association and directed it to write a comprehensive legislative guide that is used as a template for cities, counties, and states across the United States to implement the UN’s model as expressed in Agenda 21.

    The United Nations is responsible for Agenda 21 coined the very terms sustainable development and smart growth. In fact today in the United States, Agenda 21 and ICLEI for all intents and purposes ARE the sustainable development movement.

    Please go read the Agenda 21 book for yourself at the United Nations Website – http:///www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21 Be sure to see Chapter 7 in Section 1 about Human Settlements, it is essentially the core of Sustainable Communities, then take a look at the last chapter in Section 4 about its implementation.

    What you will find there is a plan that calls for nothing short of the government ultimately taking control of land use, while leaving little decision making in the hands of the private property owners themselves. It more or less implies that common people are not good enough to make use of their own land and that government would do a much better job of it for them.

    In a nutshell individual rights are subordinated to those of the communal group as envisioned by the UN, which has no allegiance to the US whatsoever and is more interested in a general homogenization of all wealth on the planet and it becoming the worlds governing body.

    Despite the Idaho Legislature passing into law Title 67 Chapter 65 Local Land Use Planning Act in 1975 with the purpose of protecting property rights and the environment while promoting development, and Idaho code (I.C. 67-6508) having been revised in 1995 to require that planners “ensure that land use policies, restrictions, conditions and fees do not violate private property rights, adversely impact property values or create unnecessary technical limitations on the use of property.”, Kootenai County as a matter of routine ignores this requirement.

    The document I referred to in my earlier comments that was commissioned by the PCSD is called Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change. It contains sample rules and regulations, ordinances and statutes, and even legislation, as well as a plan addressing its implementation over US Regions, States, Counties, and Cities, and it is all designed to be incorporated into General Plans throughout the United States.

    In fact any planning department in the US that governs land use has a copy, as well as every university and college in our nation is using Growing Smart in its curriculum. Go to the website and see it for yourself – http://www.planning.org/growingsmart/manual/pdf/manualtoc.pdf

    Kootenai County is beautiful, one of the most desirable places on earth to live in the minds of its residents to be sure, and the commissioners need to keep that in mind themselves as they exercise their responsibility to plan for the future, and be cognizant of not endeavoring to plan the future itself.

    Its true that some of the county zoning ordinances have become increasingly more restrictive and complex, and unfortunately the result is some properties have become “non-conforming” as regulations have expanded over the years, not surprisingly the proposed solution for this is additional regulation.

    The county commissioners came to the conclusion that we do not have the local ability to plan for our own future or even write our own land use codes. We would certainly have a reasonable expectation that we could manage our own affairs if we were not so inclined to introduce the litany of smart growth code into the law.

    The commissioners hired, and we the taxpayers are now paying the price for an outside planning firm called the Kendig Keast Collaborative. They have assigned a Mr. Messenger who himself has never even written the Unified Land Use Code for any county before now.

    Mr. Messenger undoubtedly thinks our county is poorly planned, of course he does, as he has his own ideas for shaping the future, and it is exactly ideas like his that will ensure that Kootenai County eventually will end up looking just like every other “properly planned community”.

    Well, I say no thank you Sir, we are individuals, we love our rural landscapes, and many of us enjoy a simple, non cosmopolitan, dare I say non conforming way of life, and that’s precisely why we live here.

    I also noticed there have been several “Advisory Committees”, all of which included special interests such as developers, realtors, environmentalist groups, and the like, but a curious absence has been the average landowner who has enjoyed little to no representation, and why is that, after all its we who will be affected by the new zoning laws.

    Then there is the matter of ICLEI?

    Spokane is a major urban center and is a member of ICLEI, why is that a concern, and just what is ICLEI?

    Well, its an organization called the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives, and it is interested in one thing and one thing only, implementing the goals of Agenda 21 on a local level.

    ICLEI was established when more than 200 local governments from 43 countries convened at the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the United Nations in New York.

    Somehow many of the cities and counties that the Kendig Keast Collaborative have worked with…seem to become members of ICLEI.

    Edinburg, TX Arvada, CO Monroe County, FL Nantucket, MA Dane County, WI Oswego, IL Chatham County, GA Savannah, GA Town & Country, MO Chicago, IL Franklin, TN Cincinnati, OH Davie, FL Flagstaff, AZ Groton, CT Houston, TX Miami-Dade County, FL Milwaukee, WI

    Go to the ICLEI website and see what it is all about for yourself – http://www.iclei.org/

    To fight for sustainable development, or smart growth is your prerogative, and an honest open dialogue is welcome by all, but you are distorting the facts, and resorting to straw-men arguments and ad hominem attacks to make your case.

    Lets make our cases on their merits shall we.

    • Terry July 12, 2012 at 9:42 am - Reply

      There’s a lot here, and I appreciate the thoughtful response. But your response again conflates the utterly irrelevant Agenda 21 with arguments against land use planning and smart growth. I am indeed a supporter of smart growth and sustainable development — I just don’t think the U.N has anything to do with it. The connect-the-dots arguments fail to actually connect any dots, but I’m not convincing anyone, apparently. So, I don’t intend to engage any more on that particular subject.

      On your more substantive arguments, when you say “Kootenai County as a matter of routine ignores this requirement” of LLUPA, you provide no factual support. As I keep saying, “property rights” are not absolute. Reasonable regulation of land use has been upheld under the US and Idaho Constitutions for a long time. We can argue over what reasonable is, but that argument isn’t occurring.

      When you say, “Kootenai County is beautiful, one of the most desirable places on earth to live in the minds of its residents to be sure, and the commissioners need to keep that in mind themselves as they exercise their responsibility to plan for the future, and be cognizant of not endeavoring to plan the future itself,” I’m not sure there’s that much of a distinction. Having moved to SoCal, it’s obvious to me that better planning earlier would have made a huge difference — smart growth would have worked if local governments had the foresight and wherewithal to implement it when it mattered. With Kootenai County facing a population influx of another Coeur d’Alene or two in the next couple of decades, your rural landscapes and non-cosmopolitan / non-conforming lifestyle will be lost unless those landscapes and lifestyles are protected. Managing growth just makes sense to me.

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