As we wrote last month, we were somewhat taken aback by a developer’s request for a variance under the County’s site disturbance ordinance because, well, the ordinance doesn’t have provision for variances. It turns out that the County hearing examiner agreed and recommended that the request for variance be denied as a matter of law.
In a well-reasoned opinion, hearing examiner Rebecca Zanetti recommended that a proposal for a walkway through the 25-foot buffer zone around Hayden Lake be denied to Timber Ridge, LLC, who is developing a controversial subdivision above the Lake. Zanetti walks through the possible legal theories under which a variance might be granted and explains clearly why it just can’t be done. Zanetti concludes, “Applying a variance procedure to the current Site Disturbance Ordinance would be akin to amending it, which cannot be done in a variance proceeding, by either a hearing examiner of the Board of County Commissioners.”
We’re told that unless there is a request for further public hearing, the Board of County Commissioners is likely to review Zanetti’s recommendation at their regularly scheduled deliberation meeting January 14.