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Posts tagged: ULUC

ULUC Dilemma Frustrates Planners

Kootenai County is faced with a dilemma concerning the controversial land use code they have spent three years trying to revise - trash it and start over, or try and salvage what they have. The County Planning Commission met with county commissioners in a workshop on Tuesday afternoon to try and resolve that, but to no avail. “I have 53 pages here and we've only gotten through four pages,” said Planning Commissioner Linda Fillios. “I guess I didn't expect it would be something like this. I thought we would look at the prospectus and say yes or no. Do we want to continue with this or not?”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Should the county throw the proposed land use code or keep trying to revise it?

County Releases ULUC Plan Fix

Item: Plan to fix ULUC released: Public will get chance to provide input on proposal/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More here: A 31-page plan to fix Kootenai County's controversial Unified Land Use Code was released Thursday for public review, and commissioners are planning to hold a workshop to decide how to proceed with the proposal. “I want to try and go through this to see how we are going to deal with it,” Commissioner Todd Tondee said during a Thursday meeting on the issue. The $5,400 prospectus was developed by the county's land use consultant Kendig Keast Collaborative. It details a plan to overhaul the ULUC. Commissioners want to make it more user friendly by incorporating public input into the document.

Question: Is this a step in the right direction?

Clark picked for long-range planner

Duane Rasmussen provides this photo of Scott Clark (with mic) and Todd Tondee taken at a Medimont meeting regarding land use in Sept. 2012

COEUR d'ALENE - Scott Clark, who has been serving as Kootenai County's community development director, has been reassigned to a long-range planner position, the Kootenai County commissioners said Wednesday.

In the long-range planner position Clark will focus his efforts on ongoing development of the Unified Land Use Code, the commissioners said.

He also will focus on comprehensive plan updates in community development.

“In the interim, Commissioner Todd Tondee will be the acting director to provide for continuity of operations,” a Wednesday memo from the commissioners said. Read more. David Cole, CdA Press


Land code cost rises

COEUR d'ALENE - Kootenai County commissioners approved on Tuesday an $89,960 amendment to their contract with Kendig Keast Collaborative to fix the Unified Land Use Code.

The amendment includes an additional $13,000 in optional work, bringing the total new expenditure as high as $102,960.

Responding to a steady stream of public outcry, county commissioners and the County Planning Commission asked the land use consultant in July to prepare a prospectus that would outline how his firm would go about revising the ULUC to incorporate many of the concerns that have arisen with the proposal.

Bret Keast submitted a proposal for that prospectus to the county on Aug. 5, outlining a two-phased approach that he would like to use.

In the first phase, Keast wants to develop a prospectus that would consolidate, reorganize and reformat the ULUC “to the extent necessary and practicable.”

His cost for that alone is $5,400. More here. Jeff Selle, Cda Press


Owners: ‘We’re Not Anti-Environment’

Item: 'We're not anti-environment': Lakeshore property owners group wants more flexibility in land use code/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: CLPOA Vice President Bruce Cyr explained the association's position on the code and urged about 150 lakeshore owners in attendance to make sure to educate themselves on the issue. Cyr has been trying to influence the issue since 2010. He said that is when the county started to rewrite its land use code. He said the association is primarily concerned with setback regulations that could wind up preventing any dock, deck or landscaping activity within 25 feet of the waterfront. “Instead of infringing on the regulations, we wanted them to give us some flexibility in the rules,” Cyr said. “Stopping all activity in the area didn't make sense.”

Question: Does the Coeur d'Alene Lakeshore Homeowners Association have a legitimate beef about the proposed Unified Land Use Code?

Edit: ULUC Faces Uphill Battle

In its Friday editorial, the Coeur d'Alene Press focuses on three groups that are players in the uproar over the Unified Land Use Code including this one:

The second group includes ideologues whose conspiracy theories have wrapped their tentacles around this issue. They are taxpaying citizens of the county, so they have every right to be heard and their suggestions to be taken seriously, but that's the key. To these folks and their followers, the code is yet another manifestation of insidious governmental intrusion and control. Reasons for distrust vary, but a very loud few are trying to link the Kootenai County land use code to the United Nations' Agenda 21 - a sustainable development plan that many conscientious and scientifically grounded entities around the world have embraced. To these few critics, the county will never generate an acceptable set of rules, so officials would be wise to focus on the third group. Full editorial here.

DFO: Whenever I see the acronym ULUC, I think of the mystical kingdom in the Shrek tale: Duloc. Just sayin'.

Question: Why are some people in this county so paranoid?

Impersonator Apologizes To Tondee

In a letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press, Zac Eifler apologizes to Commissioner Todd Tondee for posting an online comment under Tondee's name: “I am writing this to inform everyone, clarify any confusion and accept responsibility for comments that were left in Todd Tondee’s name in an article’s comment section June 18. I didn’t give a lot of thought about what I was doing at the time, or the negative consequences that come along with doing such. My post was meant as a joke and not as a malicious act to harm Todd or any other person that it may have affected. I sincerely apologize to Todd and all those that I have affected by my actions and want those who may be in doubt as to who wrote it, that it was definitively not Todd. While reading The Press on Saturday evening, I realized that it had become an issue that I needed to correct and immediately come forward and let the public know that I was the person who left the comment.” More here.

Question: What advice would you give Zac Eifler?

Tondee Seeks ID Of Cyber Pretender

It's one thing to hide online behind a veil of anonymity. It's quite another to pretend to be someone else. Somebody impersonated Kootenai County Commissioner Todd Tondee in the comments section of on Tuesday - a crime that could land the perpetrator in jail for up to two years, with a fine of $5,000. And that doesn't include possible civil penalties. Tondee told The Press Friday that he isn't sure he wants his impersonator to end up in jail, but he does want the person to step forward. He said he would probably be satisfied if the person takes full responsibility and makes a $500 donation to a local charity. Tondee also wants the public to know definitively that he did not write the acerbic comments that appeared in his name below an online story Tuesday/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: The Coeur d'Alene Press has announced that it will cooperate fully with the police in this investigation, providing IP address and other information. Is the individual who impersonated Tondee worth protecting in any way?

Mag Spotlights Kootenai ULUC Fight

William F. Jasper of The New American (a biweekly magazine of the John Birch Society) sums up discontent with Kootenai County's Unified Land Use Code, a link to which is posted on Jennifer Locke's Facebook page:

Much of the concern and outrage expressed at the commission meeting by property owners stems from the fact that the new “comprehensive plan,” the ULUC, is more than double the page count of the existing code, and, as might be expected from that expansion, contains many more regulations, prohibitions, restrictions, mitigations, impact fees, permit requirements, and much more. Another common complaint, both from property owners and professionals who regularly deal with these matters, such as realtors, appraisers, consultants, and attorneys, is that the ULUC is vague and confusing, with many terms undefined or ill-defined, opening the door for county administrators, inspectors, and regulators to cite and fine property owners for many normal activities and uses now permitted under the current code. More here. (Caution: the article does swerve off into United Nations commentary)


Letter: Why We Fear ULUC

John Boothe of Cataldo wrote this letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press:

I believe everyone who attended the prematurely adjourned ULUC hearing Monday, June 17 probably walked away with a somewhat sour taste in their mouths. What I witnessed as a rural property owner and current non-participant in the county political system was a strong desire of other rural property owners to express themselves at a “functional meeting” which wasn’t designed for that purpose. Of the opinions that managed to get expressed, the content was varied, but I believe the theme behind each message was common. We, Kootenai County residents, are scared. We fear the imposed regulation of a document that we can’t understand. I’m sure the authors of this code, and perhaps the planning commission, can understand the structure and verbiage just fine, and their intentions are honorable. However, we, the common folk, can’t grasp the content. I personally have tried and failed. More here.

Question: Should a planning document be as complicated as, say, the federal tax code?

ULUC Hearings Up In The Air

Kootenai County officials went back to the drawing board Tuesday after failing in their first attempt to hold planning commission hearings on the controversial Unified Land Use Code proposal Monday evening. “The meeting didn't go exactly as planned,” Community Development Director Scott Clark told the board of county commissioners. “We had a big crowd, bigger than expected. It was a pretty busy place.” Coeur d'Alene Fire personnel interrupted the hearing Monday night to inform the county planning commission that it was over capacity in its meeting room and said that many of the attendees would have to leave. Planning Commission Chairman Wes Hanson opted to adjourn and continue the Monday hearing “to a date uncertain” rather than asking half the attendees to leave. There will be no more hearings this week/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.'

  • Larry Spencer: “Seems the property owners have come to understand that this “wonderful new code” is really just a transfer of control and use of their property to the planning department.”

Question: Obviously, organized opposition is going to greet every meeting held to discuss the Unified Land Use Code. At this point, are these hearings an exercise in futility? What would you do if you sat in a county commissioner's seat?

Alliance Forms To Fight ULUC

From position paper As the “mom and pop” rural folks and business owners who live and work upon our rural lands, NWPOA (Northwest Property Owners Alliance) would like our elected officials to understand that we are now organized and we are here to stay. We have to admit our own failure in not diligently participating, rather just trusting, those we elect to do the right thing. We invite our elected and appointed officials to make this right. And they should know this about rural folks, we know how to work. To that end, in the future we will be holding candidate forums, we will establish a candidate survey, and establish a candidate rating system with regards to rural property owner interests. We also intend to establish a PAC to financially support those candidates who value and strongly support our rural property rights. As we say in the county when we’ve built a fence down the wrong line, “just gotta pull em out, fill the holes and build it right the next time.” You can read comment by Jennifer Locke (pictured) and see entire NWPOA position paper on ULUC here.

Question: Are you beginning to believe, as I am, that the USS Unified Land Use Code is taking on a lot of water?

Angry Crowd Closes ULUC Meeting

It was powder keg that darn near went off in the Kootenai County Courthouse Monday night. Luckily, the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department was able to snuff the fuse by informing the Kootenai County Planning Commission that its meeting was over capacity, so it was canceled. But not before a few sparks went off.  Pressure started building in 2010 after Kootenai County adopted a new comprehensive plan and decided to update its land use codes to enforce the new plan. As the proposal was being developed, county officials met with several community groups, advisory groups and affected land owners to explain their intentions. Still, after years of meetings, it became apparent during a forum on the subject earlier this month that many county residents are still frustrated. That all came to a head Monday night/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Press photo: Nearly 300 people turned out for the Kootenai County Planning Commission's hearing on its proposed Unified Land Use Code)

Commenter Bob Ely: “Those of us who live in the county are quite concerned that the county commissioners are going to ram this ill conceived plan down our throats. Note to commissioners: go back to the drawing board.”

Question: What percentage of the public do you think is concerned re: the proposed new land-use code?

ULUCode Hearings Set This Week

The Kootenai County Planning Commission will start holding public hearings on the county's controversial new land use code this week. Staring Monday the commission will hold hearings on each chapter of the Unified Land Use Code and take public input into consideration before it makes a decision on whether to recommend adoption. The county has spent several years developing the new code and the final draft was released for review 60 days ago. Copies of the proposed draft ULUC may be viewed:

Question: Are you interested in the land-use code hearings that will take place this week?

Panelists Pan County Land-Use Plan

Item: Cold shoulders for land use code: Panelists hard pressed to find positives in plan/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press.

More Info: Most of the panelists at a Tuesday morning forum to discuss Kootenai County's proposed land use code concluded the same thing: It needs work. A lot of work. “It's the potato salad that's been sitting out at the picnic too long,” said Janet Robnett, a panelist at the meeting. “Just because we bought it doesn't mean we have to eat it.” Robnett is a land use attorney who sat on the county's technical committee to review the proposed Unified Land Use Code as it was developed.

Question: Are you beginning to think, as I am, that changes need to be made to propose land-use plan?

Jennifer: ULUC Forum Attracts Crowd

Jennifer_Locke: I'm at the ULUC (Uniform Land Use Building Code) forum this morning at the KROC center. I am shocked how many people showed up here at 7:30 a.m. I say about 200 people are here. Janet Robnett, Rand Wichman, and Tom Torgerson have some serious concerns regarding the ULUC.

Question: Do you have concerns for the proposed land-use changes?

Green Replies To Plan Code Critics

Some of a Republican group's concerns about Kootenai County's land use code are already going to be addressed, and some are off base, according to county officials and the consultant helping write the code. “I'm very cognizant of people's property rights, and we welcome participation, especially to address specific concerns in the code,” said Commissioner Dan Green about the drafting of the Unified Land Use Code. Green said on Wednesday morning that he had yet to see the resolution passed by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee at a meeting on Tuesday. The document contends that the ULUC as written would violate property rights, and it calls for the commissioners to hold regional hearings and notice property owners individually. Upon learning the committee's requests, Green said hearings are already slated to be held on the draft ULUC. Hearings will be scheduled before the Planning and Zoning Commission, he said, and then before the county commissioners/Alecia Warren, CdA Press. More here.

Question: What do you make of the 42-2 vote by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee on a resolution opposing the county's Unified Lane Use Code?

ULUC Photos Upset Local Republican

A former Kootenai County Republican Central Committee official is unhappy that attorney Duane Rasmussen takes photos of people in the crowd at public events. In a letter to the county commission criticizing the presentation by consultant Todd Messenger at the Unified Land Use Code workshop this week, Lorri Erickson concluded: “One more thing, could you tell me why Duane Rasmussen, an attorney, not a reporter consistently brings his long lens camera to these meetings? Is this an intimidation process? (Erickson's emphasis, not Huckleberries) Personally, I would like to know what he does with the pictures. If he is not an 'official' reporter than the intensity of him taking pictures of the audience is suspect. I recommend that they be eliminated in future meetings.” Occasionally, Duane sends photos to Huckleberries for possible publication. And they're appreciated. I can't say what he does with the others. Maybe Lorri should ask him?

Question: Should the county commission be in the business of trying to prevent individuals from taking photos at public meetings?

Jai Offers Explanation At Workshop

Commissioner Jai Nelson and Martha Cook of the Mica Flats area review papers during the presentation by Todd Messenger.  Commissioner Todd Tondee introduced Messenger, who represented of consultant Kendig Keast Collaborative at a county workshop on the Unified Land Use Code project. (Phantom Photographer photo)

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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