Kootenai County Updating Comprehensive Plan

Kootenai County Updating Comprehensive Plan


From:  KC Planning and Zoning Commission

Kootenai County’s Planning and Zoning Commission today released a proposed update to the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

At the request of the County Commissioners, the planning commission has spent several months reviewing, updating and consolidating the 2010 Comprehensive Plan. County residents will have many opportunities to attend community meetings and offer feedback on the Comprehensive Plan Update.

The county’s Community Development Department is launching a community outreach effort called Keeping Kootenai to keep residents informed about the meetings and opportunities for input. In addition to the website KeepingKootenai.com, citizens can follow Keeping Kootenai on Facebook and Instagram for news and updates from the Community Development Department.

A Comprehensive Plan is a broad statement of community goals and policies that direct the development of a community and guide land-use regulations. The county’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan addressed community values concerning property rights, the environment, rural communities, economic activity and public services. However, the plan was so large that county officials found it difficult to interpret and implement.

The proposed Comprehensive Plan Update is, for the most part, a highly-condensed version of the 2010 Comprehensive Plan. The proposed update is arranged as goals, objectives and policies that the Planning and Zoning Commission believes will most effectively guide the writing of enforceable land-use regulations.

The general themes of the proposed Comprehensive Plan Update include:

  • Simplifying the 2010 plan by eliminating approximately 347 goal and policy statements and modifying or adding goals and policies that are clear, concise and consistent with county values.
  • Increasing the Property Rights element’s goals, objectives and policies in recognition of the importance of property rights to county citizens.
  • Establishing policies to identify public views on areas as property rights, rural character and shoreline protection.
  • Adding policies that specifically address the importance of supporting agricultural and timber industries.
  • Providing policies that increase public involvement in planning, environmental protection and public recreation opportunities.

A link to the proposed plan update, meeting schedule and answers to Frequently Asked Questions are available at KeepingKootenai.com.

What does the proposed Comprehensive Plan Update have to do with Unified Land Use Code? Not a thing.

A local group has mistakenly indicated that the proposed Comprehensive Plan Update is a Unified Land Use Code Update. The proposed Comprehensive Plan Update is an update of the Comprehensive Plan approved in 2010. A comprehensive plan is simply a guiding document and not enforceable land-use regulations.

The Unified Land Use Code was a rewrite of county development and zoning laws, drafted with the assistance of an outside consulting firm several years ago. The ULUC was never adopted, due largely to the public outcry.

The Board of County Commissioners asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to review and amend the existing land use code to reduce conflicts and clear up inconsistencies. The public was included in the process through numerous workshops and public hearings. The code was brought before County Commissioners and adopted in 2016.

The county’s land use code is separate and distinct from the 2010 Comprehensive Plan.

The 2010 Comprehensive Plan was large in size and difficult to interpret and implement. For that reason, the then-Board of County Commissioners in 2018 asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to create a simplified update. The elected county commissioners at the time included Marc Eberlein, Bob Bingham and Chris Fillios.

The proposed Comprehensive Plan Update is not associated with the ULUC.

Please check this website www.keepingkootenai.com for official updates on the proposed Kootenai County Comprehensive Plan Update. You can also follow Keeping Kootenai on Facebook and Instagram!