Suggestions abound at City Council meeting

Payette resident Mike Duke was one of many who spoke about the proposed rezoning of land in northeast Payette, during the Payette City Council’s regular meeting Monday. Duke, the county’s prosecuting attorney, suggested to the Payette City Council that any changes in zoning for this property be tied to a land use agreement.

PAYETTE — A hot topic at the Payette City Council’s regular meeting on Monday was proposed Ordinance No. 1500, which would rezone an area of land in northeast Payette, known as parcel P00000266620, from ‘A’ residential to ‘B’ residential. The property is located north of Seventh Avenue North is on the south end of the Piper Glen subdivision.

The applicant requesting this rezone is developer Bob Goodwin of RCG, Inc. He was represented at this meeting by engineer Lance Warnick of Aspen Engineers.

“This property is essentially the easterly portion of the proposed Piper Glen number two subdivision,” Warnick told the council. “What we’re talking about tonight is essentially just rezoning the easterly portion of that to ‘B.’ The westerly portion is already zoned ‘B’ residential.”

The purpose, according to Warnick, is to allow homes to be built on “slightly smaller lots” and to allow for smaller setbacks for properties being built there. For example, he noted that 25-foot setbacks from the street are required under ‘A’ zoning, but only 20 feet is required under ‘B.’

“What we’ve tried to do is create a mix of different lot sizes, and the ‘B’ residential allows us to have that mix,” Warnick added. “We want to be able to have people coming in and purchase some larger lots. We’ve got some lots in there with over ten thousand square feet.”

The whole subdivision is made of 50 lots, he said.

Warnick said half of the proposed lots would be over 7,000 square feet, and that by requesting the rezone his company seeks flexibility in what types of homes are built.

As noted by City Clerk Mary Cordova, triplexes are also permitted under ‘A’ residential, provided enough space exists to build.

As noted by several of those who spoke, their concern is that the proposed rezone would erode the neighborhood’s character. One mentioned that the developer would need to improve the eastern portion of Seventh Avenue North, otherwise the increase of traffic could further erode the deteriorating road.

Another concern raised by residents is the perceived potential for increased crime in the neighborhood where the development is being built.

Even a county official came by to weigh in, specifically Payette County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Duke. He suggested that city officials attach a development agreement to this proposal, stating that only single-family homes would be built in this subdivision.

Duke noted that zoning for ‘B’ residential can affect the way the neighborhoods would be used, including parking and traffic.

Realtor Rick Greif spoke about property values in the proposed subdivision, stating that the homes would not be considered affordable in his view. He cited increasing building costs as a reason for this view.

Following public comments, Councilor Craig Jensen moved to approve the ordinance, seconded by Councilor Daniel Lopez. The motion passed 4-0-2

As Councilors Mike Kee and Lori Steiniker submitted statements regarding this ordinance, they recused themselves from voting on this ordinance at the recommendation of City Attorney Dan Chadwick. The council also approved a preliminary plat for phase two of Piper Glen.

Corey Evan is a reporter at the Independent-Enterprise and Argus Observer. He can be reached at (208) 642-5258 or by emailing coreye@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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