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Land Management

County approves controversial New Meadows Area of Impact

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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After more than a year of debate, the New Meadows impact area agreement has been finalized.

The Adams County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve an area of impact that extends one-half mile from the city limits in all directions.

The area of impact gives the city some say in if the land were to be developed. It provides the city the opportunity to enforce their own ordinances and processes on land in the area. It does not, however, change jurisdiction or annex the land into the city limits.

The City of New Meadows first approved the area of impact last year, and the matter was then approved by both the New Meadows Planning and Zoning Board and the Adams County Planning and Zoning Commission. The final step was getting the commissioners' approval. At each step of the way, the proposal was met with opposition from landowners in the area that questioned the need for such an area at a time when no development is occurring. There were also questions about extending the area of impact into areas that are primarily agricultural land and/or floodplains, where development is unlikely to ever take place.

"I have a lot of concerns about this," said Commissioner Joe Holmes. "My biggest problem is the percentage of comments we received that were against it."

Commissioner Bill Brown noted that while the comments from affected landowners were negative, the proposal was recommended by the New Meadows City Council and both Planning and Zoning boards.

"The biggest concern seems to be a jurisdiction change," said Commissioner Mike Paradis, "and that's not a part of this. Nothing will change in the management of this land."

"At the end of the day, cities have to be able to do long-term planning," said Brown. "In my opinion, the best time to plan is before action starts taking place, not after."

"If I owned land there, I'd want to be in (the area of impact)," he continued. "It will give (landowners) more options."

Despite some misgivings about the issue, Holmes relented and joined Brown and Paradis in approving the measure.

"Again, jurisdiction will not change, all building permits stay the same, the only thing this does is give the city a say about long term-planning," concluded Brown.

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Original Publication Date: April 15, 2010

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