Timeline review of the changes to the subdivision ordinance

March 1, 2016 – At a Bonner County Commissioners business meeting, the County Commissioners placed limits on the Planning and Zoning Commission’s authority by adopting Ordinance No. 550, which removed the P&Z Commission’s role in the review of proposed amendments to the county’s land use codes, as contained in Title 12 of the county statutes.

Aug. 4, 2016 – Bonner County Commissioner’s Subdivision Ordinance Public Hearing – Citizens pack a public hearing on proposed changes to the subdivision ordinance that would streamline the process of approving subdivisions of 10 or fewer lots, with even fewer restrictions and less scrutiny for divisions of land involving 4 or fewer lots. Most testimony was opposed to the changes, and commissioners remanded the issue back to the Planning Department and the Planning and Zoning Commission, which had not had an opportunity to review the proposal.

Aug. 16 – Aug. 31, 2016 – Series of public workshops hosted by the Planning Department and located around Bonner County to share information about the proposed changes to the subdivision ordinance and collect public input.

Sept. 15, 2016 – Planning and Zoning Commission public workshop. The planning director gave an overview of the type of public feedback the staff received during their public meetings and the Planning and Zoning Commission discussed making several changes to the proposed ordinances to address concerns raised by the public.

Oct. 6, 2016 – Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing: The commission took testimony, deliberated and recommended several changes to the proposed ordinance that – while keeping the new “minor land division” designation for subdivisions of four or fewer lots – retained some of the subdivisions standards that the Bonner County Commissioners had eliminated in their proposed version.

Nov. 10, 2016 – County Commissioners hold a public hearing on the subdivision ordinance. The draft ordinance that was submitted to the Board of Commissioners came from the Planning Department, and was not consistent with the recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Commission that resulted in their Oct. 6 public hearing. (For instance, the P&Z Commission recommended all land divisions (outside sewer districts) be inspected for septic suitability by Panhandle Health District, but the resulting recommendation was to exempt minor land divisions that result in lots that are 2.5 acres in size or larger from that required inspection.) The County Commissioners adopted an ordinance that was very similar to their original proposal.