Idaho growers file complaint against subdivision decision

Published online: Jan 10, 2014
Viewed 1017 time(s)

NAMPA, Idaho-A group of Canyon County farmers has filed a court complaint in an attempt to stop a 44-home residential subdivision from being developed in the middle of 12 square miles of agricultural land.

The complaint, filed Dec. 20 in Third District Court, asks the court to over turn a decision by the Canyon County Commission to extend a conditional use permit for the proposed 50-acre project.

The complaint alleges the commission failed to notify area residents of a February 2012 public hearing where the three-year extension was approved.

That violated county and Idaho law, said Craig Lindquist, one of seven farmers who formed the group Citizens Opposed to Lake Hazel Estates and filed the complaint.

"That's a real problem for us," said Lindquist, who grows sugar beets, corn, wheat and carrot seed on 66 acres of land bordering the proposed project. "Had we been allowed to oppose it during a public hearing, we believe it never would have gone through."

Lindquist said the farmers have not been allowed to challenge the CUP extension and the reason given to them is that they failed to object to the decision "at a meeting we were never informed was going to take place."

"The commissioners ignored the required notification process which effectively cut out any dissent against the project," he said.

The COLHE group also asked the court to invalidate the project's preliminary plat, which was approved in November by the commission's 2-1 vote despite a planning and zoning commission decision to reject it.

Canyon County Public Information Officer Joe Decker said it's the county's policy not to comment on pending litigation.

The proposed development is located on Lake Hazel Road just west of the street's intersection with McDermott Road. Seven producers in the area have about 1,000 total acres of farm land contiguous to the project, including a 1,000-cow dairy, Lindquist said.

"We do have a problem when they spot-zone like that in the middle of agricultural land," Lindquist said. "It is surrounded by 1,000 acres of what I call production farm ground, not hobby farms."

Ellen Pline, whose family owns 500 acres of farm land near the project, said the proposed subdivision is totally incompatible with the surrounding area.

"It is located in the center of an agricultural area and it could impact a lot of things, including pollination and aerial spraying," she said.