Lawyer halts P&Z meeting

BLACKFOOT — Attorney Jim Dalton, representing Natural Guardian Limited Partnership, challenged the legality of the rescheduled meeting of the Bingham County Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission on Wednesday.
Frank VanderSloot, the president of Melaleuca, and his family are the principals in Natural Guardian Limited Partnership.
Originally, the P&Z meeting was scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 22. Because of a fire in downtown Blackfoot, power was cut to all buildings, including the courthouse. The meeting was then rescheduled to Wednesday, Sept. 29.
As Dalton pointed out, according to Idaho Code 676512, legal notice of a P&Z meeting must appear in a local paper 15 days before the meeting, specifying time and place. Bingham County Zoning Ordinance (BCZO) number 10.4 is even more restrictive. BCZO requires a minimum 22 days notification before a P&Z meeting.
Bingham County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cornelison agreed that the 22-day notification was required.
There is no continuance authority for P&Z meetings, Cornelison said.
Had the meeting been started on Sept. 22, it could have continued Wednesday evening.
Since the courthouse had been evacuated a week ago by order of the Blackfoot City Police, the P&Z meeting was not started. Therefore, the time requirements started over.
The P&Z meeting has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, in Bingham County Courtroom number one.
Dalton said the legality of any decision made by the P&Z commissioners could be challenged because of the improper notification of the meeting.
“They [the commissioners] have no authority to act,” Dalton said.
Specifically, Dalton was interested in the Blue Ridge Energy project on the Goshen bench.
“Any wind farm will change the character of the area,” Dalton said.
Arron Jepson, managing member of the Blue Ribbon Energy LLC said, “I’m disappointed that proper notice was not given; I’m disappointed some continuance authority does not exist.”