The Board of County Commissioners finally put the kibosh on a request for a variance under the site disturbance ordinance. As we’ve written before, there’s no such thing under current county law. By a vote of 2-1 this morning, the BOCC denied the variance to Timber Ridge, LLC for a tram landing and pathway on the shores of Hayden Lake.
Commissioner Rick Currie agreed with KEA testimony and the hearing examiner’s determination that there is no site disturbance variance under the law. Currie said the ordinance “needs work” but that there was no way to grant the request under the current code. Commissioner Rich Piazza voted against the request too, commenting however that the applicant simply failed to prove that the variance was necessary for the project.
Commissioner Tondee, on the other hand, agreed with a county attorney’s tortured legal interpretation that the site disturbance variance request was really a “bulk and placement” or “setback” variance request under the zoning code. Of course, that’s not what the application said, and that’s not what the applicant’s representative communicated to the BOCC at the public hearing. Luckily for Tondee (and the County attorney), he was outvoted this time.
In theory, the applicant may appeal the decision to a court. Regardless of the outcome, this case should signal to the Commissioners that they really need to get on with the business of fixing the outmoded county codes.