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County P&Z moves through large agenda

BLACKFOOT – The Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission met Wednesday to tackle a large agenda. The more notable items included a study for a wind farm, zone changes for a potential RV park, and a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for allowance of wine and/or beer aging in oak barrels.

Starting the night off was the zone change for Von Mecham regarding a potential zone change from type “A” to commercial (C2) for his 12.7 acres near Atomic City. The land will be used for a recreation vehicle (RV) park in the future. Following discussion, the commissioners voted unanimously to move forward on the change sending it to public hearing on June 2.

Jeff Winkelmann asked the commission for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The permit would allow Winkelmann to age and store wine and beer in oak barrels. He is required by law to acquire the CUP before the state will issue a permit from the Tax & Trade Bureau. Following testimony from the applicant, the commission made a motion to pass the CUP which passed with no opposition.

The third item on the agenda was the most debated on the night. A two-lot subdivision was requested by Jeroldine Wilkes to divide 2.5 acres into two lots in a residential agriculture (RA) zone. The splitting of the lot would provide Wilkes with two parcels of land with the second being where a dwelling will be built for a permanent domicile.

Concerns were expressed about whether there is enough room for two septic tanks and drainage fields. Multiple members of the community spoke against the approval of the application, but comments from one of the commissioners proved to be the voice of reason.

“We are not here to discuss whether or not it will be approved by DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) or Idaho Public Health (IPH). We are here to discuss if we have the legal authority to approve or deny the application based on the laws and comprehensive plan,” stated Chairman Darren Leavitt. His statements opened the floor for the commissioners to vote on the subdivision, passing the subdivision change and recommending it to the county commissioners.

Arco Wind LLC appeared on the agenda requesting a conditional use permit for land currently zoned Natural Resources/Agriculture (NR/A). The reason for the CUP derives from the desire to install a meteorological evaluation tower on vacant land.

Arco Wind LLC wants to test the area in hopes that it would be viable for developing a wind farm. The area is approximately 2.3 miles northeast of the East Butte in Bingham County.

The commission discussed the information with the representative of Arco Wind LLC before making a motion. Information was provided about the need for the study before any preliminary plans could be created. The commission would move and approve the CUP with all in favor.

Two other small subdivision applications would be approved as well, with little discussion or opposition from the community. A division rights change also was approved with little discussion, concluding the meeting.

The Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission will meet on May 20 at 7 p.m. via Zoom teleconference. Information on how to connect to the meeting is available on the Bingham County website.