At yesterday’s most recent deliberation of the draft comprehensive plan by the Board of County Commissioners – the only one scheduled for the entire month of February – the Commissioners were faced squarely with one of the central decisions embedded in the draft plan: What density of development should be allowed in our rural areas?
Yet, when the decision point arose, Chairman Rick Currie kicked the can down the road. “We’ll deal with densities later,” he said, and the Commissioners continued on with their seemingly endless and mostly inconsequential wordsmithing.
Unfortunately, Currie’s decision to not decide, coupled with the Commissioners’ impossibly slow deliberation, appears to be consciously calibrated to the upcoming election cycle. It is painfully obvious that the deliberations will not be completed before the primary election this spring.
However, after nine months of deliberation, citizens of Kootenai County are entitled to know where the Commissioners stand. On the single most important decision these commissioners will make for the future of development in the County: Are we going to allow sprawl-causing development densities throughout our rural areas or not? Are we going to protect our natural and scenic landscape or not? Will we ever get on with the process of re-working hopelessly outdated zoning code or not?
At this point, prior to facing voters in primary elections, ducking the issue is as bad as making the wrong choice on development densities. The deliberations have been a long, slow, and epic failure of leadership.
The Commissioners meet again March 3rd.
UPDATE 2/20: As a commenter points out, the deliberation schedule has been recently changed and the next deliberation has been moved up to March 2nd, at 11 AM.