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Idaho county denies permit for camp for children with cancer

Associated Press

HAILEY, Idaho – A nonprofit organization that serves children with cancer was denied the opportunity to develop a camp in central Idaho.

The Blaine County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday denied Camp Rainbow Gold’s appeal to develop a camp for children with cancer on a rural plot of land near the tony ski resort town of Ketchum, upholding a Planning and Zoning Commission decision from April.

Lawyers from both sides – Camp Rainbow Gold, and the Concerned Citizens of the Wood River Valley, an opposition group – argued before the board at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey, the Idaho Mountain Express reported.

Commissioners Angenie McCleary and Larry Schoen voted to uphold the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision; Jacob Greenberg voted in favor of the camp.

“Unfortunately, in many respects, this application has been politicized to an extent that I haven’t seen in my 15 years hearing land-use applications,” Schoen said. “It’s important to recognize that this is a land-use issue. There’s not one person in this room who doesn’t support Camp Rainbow Gold and the work that they do. But we are here to discuss whether a specific plan, in a specific place, is allowable under our land-use code.”

In delivering their majority view, Schoen and McCleary had different reasons for voting down the project.

“To me, we have to ask, ‘Is this what was contemplated for the intensity of use and development in that area?’ ” McCleary said.

The Boise-based Camp Rainbow Gold has operated programs in the Wood River Valley for numerous years. The organization’s effort to build a permanent home in the Wood River Valley was rejected with the board’s vote to uphold the Planning and Zoning Commission decision.

Whitney Slade, a spokeswoman for Camp Rainbow Gold, said she couldn’t comment immediately on what’s next for the camp–only that its board will convene to work out a plan once they receive the full text from the county.

“We’ll regroup,” she said.

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