Topsoil ordinance a touchy subject in Lewiston
By Sarah Buttars
At the subsequent City Council meeting, the Council decided they had heard the voice of the people and they would not move toward implementing the new ordinance.
There will be no change in the current policy, said Brooks Tarbet, City Councilman. Out of the 12 people that addressed the group, there was not one in favor of such an ordinance.
The ordinance puts restriction on the moving of topsoil. When dealing with more then 25 cubic yards, and not exceeding 10%, one would have to obtain a permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission at a cost of $25.
There are currently no similar ordinances in the area to model this ordinance after, said Bruce Karren, Planning and Zoning Chairman. The fact that other cities do not have a similar ordinance led citizens to question the necessity of the proposal.
"We as land owners have the responsibility to be stewards," said Darrel Gibbons, a farmer in Lewiston. He has leveled his farm land, which he believes has made his farm better.
"Give us freedom to be responsible for our own property," he asked the Council.
"We, as stewards of the land, have the most interest to see that what happens to our land is right," said Don Baldwin, a local farmer. He said he believes farmers have an interest in taking care of their land, and regulatory ordinance is unnecessary.
"If these farmers don't succeed there are a lot of businesses that don't either, " said Reid Wallentine, owner of a local tire store.
Selling topsoil is an economic issue for the land owners. Brett Christiansen, a contractor that has mined topsoil in Lewiston, said that Lewiston has the best topsoil in the valley. He also said that milk and crops are not paying off for the farmers, so they should be able to mine the topsoil and make some money.
"I think what's yours is yours, and what's somebody else's is somebody else's," said Craig Smith, a local farmer. Many expressed the view that since they own the land they should be able to do with it what they wish.
"The more government you get, the more problems you get. I don't know why we want more problems," said Gary Egbert, a local farmer who is against more government regulations.
"I just want to be left alone," he said. "Be prepared to do the enforcement," said Regan Wheeler. He believes there is already a lot the city is trying to enforce, and if the topsoil issue becomes an ordinance it should be enforced.
"You've got over 5,000 acres represented in this audience, and not
one stood and said they wanted it (the topsoil ordinance)," said Regan
Wheeler. Wheeler also told the Council that he had hardly dug the surface
finding people against the proposal, and that he could find more if