COALITION NEWS AND DEVELOPMENTS
CHAIRMAN GIVES 2013 REVIEW AT RECENT ANNUAL MEETING
The Coalition’s held its 2014 annual meeting April 10 at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Nampa. CAF Chairman George Crookham presented a review of Coalition activities for 2013 and its goals and strategies for 2014. If you would like to view the presentation please select 2014 AGM Presentation.
CAF LAWSUIT REGARDING CANYON COUNTY'S COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
On August 12, 2013 the Coalition for Agriculture’s Future filed a lawsuit against Canyon County and the Canyon County Board of Commissioners regarding the County’s Comprehensive Plan and its use in the zoning application approval process. A three-day trial in District on the issues is scheduled to begin August 12 in District Court.
The central issue of the situation is the obligation that Canyon County has to follow the dictates of established Idaho law in its agricultural land use decision making process. The process exists to prevent land use zoning decisions that result in the needless loss of agricultural lands.
The Coalition’s primary mission is the preservation of Idaho’s agricultural lands through the proper use of management principles and practices essential in the land use decision making process. Under state law this process requires that County comprehensive plans and ordinances provide mechanisms that ensure zoning requests involving agricultural lands undergo a thorough best-use analysis and vetting. CAF has determined that for more than two years Canyon County failed to do that, meaning the provisions of Idaho law designed to protect agricultural lands were not properly followed.
CAF tried to work with the County for months prior to filing the lawsuit. Unfortunately, the Coalition’s efforts appear to us to have been largely dismissed by the County and the Board of Commissioners as having no validity and maintained their “business as usual” attitude. Ultimately, this led to an egregious zoning decision by the County that represented the worst case example of the problem, and which would result in the unnecessary loss of hundreds of acres of agricultural land. Regrettably, it was just the latest in dozens of such decisions stretching back over the last decade.
In May 2013, the Coalition sent the County and the Commissioners a detailed list of the points of contention and warning of possible legal action if the County failed to incorporate and follow the requirements outlined in state law. Despite that warning, the Coalition’s believes its concerns were once again ignored by the County. Accordingly, on August 12, 2013 the Coalition followed up with its warning and filed a lawsuit seeking judicial intervention.
Government at all levels insists that citizens strictly adhere to the established rules when seeking land use zoning changes. The Coalition firmly believes that principle absolutely applies both ways, to governmental land-use decision making bodies. Government must also follow and abide by the rules, ordinances and laws that regulate how they are to make those decisions. This “do as we say not as we do” mentality cannot be allowed to continue unchallenged.
Thousands of acres of crucial Canyon County farmland have already vanished over the past two decades due to a blatant “develop at any cost mentality.” That has taken and will continue to take an enormous toll on the local agricultural economy. Idaho Land Use Planning law was amended to outline and require a balanced, methodical process in land use decisions involving agricultural lands. The CAF believes that process has not been properly followed.
Regrettably, feedback from the community now indicates Canyon County officials and individuals now are attempting to marginalize and/or misrepresent both the Coalition’s motivation behind the courtroom action and the relevance and importance of the specific issues involved. Ignore the diversionary noise designed to make you think the Coalition is anti-development or anti-property rights. We are not!
If you value agricultural land and its economic and cultural significance, the Coalition encourages you to educate yourself on the issue. Below are the documents in the case plus a letter that outlines the various aspects of the issue, and which was an attempt to avoid legal action. If you value agricultural lands and their economic and cultural significance, the Coalition encourages you to educate yourself on the issue. Below are the documents in the case plus a letter that outlines the various aspects of the issue. Review the facts and decide where you stand.
In May 2013 the Coalition first submitted to the Canyon County Commissioners, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Developmental Services Department a detailed letter that outlined the various aspects of the issue. Click here to view the letter. (Note: Attachments are not included)
On August 12, 2013 the CAF filed its lawsuit seeking judicial intervention
Agriculture has from the beginning forged the values and character of Idaho's people, and of necessity crafted the foundations of responsible stewardship of its natural resources. The Coalition works to help maintain agricultural lands for the future by developing mechanisms that incorporate future looking planning in land use issues that will allow both development and protection of our agricultural heritage and traditions. Our ultimate goal is to preserve for future generations a critical natural resource that feeds the world and a heritage that helps define the character of its society. Coalition membership represents a wide variety of agri-businesses and associations, financial institutions, food related companies and other individuals and companies interested in preserving Idaho's capacity to utilize a critical natural resource that ultimately feeds our world.
Coalition For Agriculture’s Future ~ 55 SW 5th Ave, Suite 100, Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 888-0988 - Fax (208) 888-4586 ~ Email: Info@agsfuture.org