One of the more frustrating things about the comp plan battle has been fending off the misinformation by the realtors, builders, and business interests. Parroting talking points we’ve been hearing all along, a commenter to our recent posting about the Commissioners’ misguided decision to remove density designations from the current draft plan writes:
This is actually a wonderful and BRAVE decision for these two to make. Terry…you and I don’t always agree but the state law is VERY specific and NO other county has density restrictions in their comp plan in Idaho. It is illegal by statute.
Which is (except for the “don’t always agree” part) unfortunately false.
Quite a few Idaho counties have ranges of land use densities specified in their comp plans. Among those with densities specified in their plans would be similarly situated Teton County, and nearby Boundary and Bonner Counties. (Warning: big pdfs. Links to all county comp plans in Idaho can be found here if anyone wants to wade through them…)
Moreover, it is not illegal. On the contrary, state law is specifically designed to allow Counties to regulate land use themselves as they see fit. We agree (another pdf) with the County’s own legal analysis that specificity in the comp plan, including the densities, would clearly be upheld in a legal challenge.
Keep in mind, though, that it’s not over ’til it’s over. In this instance, the fat lady won’t be singing for months still. The Commissioners have a number of deliberation meetings scheduled for June to go through the detailed mapping of the (now-meaningless) comp plan designations. Then, the commissioners have promised a new hearing on all their amendments prior to adoption. Plus, there may even be new Commissioners by the time the whole thing is completed.
Truth may still prevail.