Thursday, August 9, 2007

Incoming letters

Publish Comments here that include responses from government entities, etc. that would be informative for others.


Save Paramount Admin. said...

Dear Mr. Evans,

Thank you for your email and taking the time to share your comments. Your concerns are very valid and I understand why you are writing to express them. The City has not received an application for annexation and zoning regarding development on the SE corner of Chinden and Linder. At this point, it will be difficult for our planning staff to determine if the proposed development conforms to the City's Comprehensive Land Use Plan or not.

I can tell you that the City Council follows our City's plan very closely; it is our blueprint for how our City should grow and has been developed through an extensive public process. If this development does not fit within the land use designation in this plan, the applicant would have to first apply for a Comprehensive Plan amendment before any request for annexation and zoning could be accepted. It would then be considered through public hearings at both the Planning & Zoning Commission and a second public hearing at City Council. Certain types of amendments to the comp plan can only legally be considered every six months; this does not happen often in our current City Area of Impact boundaries. This process is heavily scrutinized as it has ripple effects on many different services; and is rarely successful particularly in areas that are already developed unless the requested change is supported by the surrounding development.

If the application filed is determined by staff to fit the definitions of the City's Comprehensive Plan and the Unified Development Code, it will then be scheduled to begin the public hearing process. Staff will evaluate the application on a number of considerations that would include compatibility with surrounding land uses and how it would transition from the existing residential to a higher use; transportation related issues on access to state and local roads as well as the existing internal infrastructure; comparable design standards; availability of services; safety; etc. This evaluation is based on the applicable City ordinances and the comprehensive plan.

If the application is for a Conditional Use Permit then the Planning and Zoning Commission makes the final decision, subject to an appeal to the City Council. It is important to get your feelings about the project known to the Commission first before the Council even sees it. If the matter is not appealed to the City Council, it is a final decision. If the request is for annexation and zoning then the Commission is not the final decision maker, but will only make a recommendation to the City Council. Again in that circumstance there is automatically two hearings. I facilitate the Council meetings and only vote on land use applications if there is a tie vote.

Notification of the public hearings once set are mailed to homeowners that live within 300 feet of the project boundary. The City also publishes notice and the property is required to have a sign posted notifying others as to when the hearings are to take place. In light of the number of emails we have received I will ask staff to send notices to those interested parties that have provided use a mailing or email address. We hope that you would all share that notification with your neighbors for their information. Testimony can be done by a homeowners association spokesperson, individually, or in writing. Your email will be part of the public record.

It has been suggested by a few that the City should not accept an application by these developers. It is their right to file an application and proceed through the defined process by Idaho State Code. We can not deny them this right. The process must be fair to all affected property owners.

We appreciate and encourage neighborhood participation. Our process must be fair and unbiased, therefore, Planning and Zoning Commission members, City Council, nor myself, can have dialogue about any of the specifics of this proposal. This limits me and the others from being able to respond to questions you might have; all comments must be made in the public forum above. Please feel free to call and ask Planning staff questions you might have about an application once the City has received it. Their phone number is 884-5533. Planning staff or the City Clerk's office (888-4433) can answer procedural questions and inform you of hearing dates once they are set.

I am sorry if the developer has misrepresented the process through their notice of the neighborhood meeting. We require that developers hold neighborhood meetings prior to the 'official' public hearing process through the City so that neighbors are informed of what will be proposed to the City. In our experience this process has been beneficial to both the neighbors and applicant because they find common ground before the public process begins. It doesn't always work that way; needless to say, the community voice is not only important but vital and is seriously considered by the City.

Sorry for the length of this message. Your concerns are important, and it is important to provide information about our process and assure you that your voice will be heard. This is not a 'done deal', once we receive an application - that will be the beginning.


Tammy de Weerd, Mayor

Mike & Danielle Lawrence said...

Dear Concerned Neighbors,

I wanted to let you know that I received all of your e-mails, and we are aware of your concerns.

The developer has submitted a request to City Council to be annexed into the City, and we are in the process of reviewing the application to see if it has all the necessary information. Over the next several weeks, Staff will prepare a report that fully evaluates the proposal against our zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan. That staff report is then presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission at a public hearing. All property owners within 300 feet of the boundary of the project will be notified of the hearing date and time. You will have an opportunity to testify at these hearings and to express any concerns you may have. The Planning and Zoning Commission will then make a recommendation to the City Council. You will again have the ability to testify at the City Council hearing to express your concerns. In addition to testifying at the hearings, you may submit written testimony at any time. (I will include your e-mails as written testimony.)

Thank you for taking an interest in the development of your neighborhood. My staff and I look forward to working with you.


Anna Canning, AICP

City of Meridian Planning Director

(208) 884-5533