Amalga balancing old zoning law with dramatic new growth
Even the small town of Amalga is feeling growing pains these days. In an Amalga City Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Wednesday night, committee members talked about revising one of the city's zoning ordinances, but at the same time they want to preserve the town's rural feel.
"Every town grows up," said planning and zoning Chairman Brett Jensen. "It's an eventuality."
Land in the town dedicated more to agriculture requires a frontage, the width between two property lines, of 250 feet in order for the owner to build a residence. The commission discussed changing that ordinance to 150 feet across the board.
The zoning application of Carl Sims, of Preston, Idaho, spearheaded the discussion. Sims applied to build a house on property he owns at 8430 N. 2400 West, but his lot has only 195 feet of frontage in a section of town that requires 250 according to zoning ordinances. However, Sims' application was approved under a "grandfather requirement" because his lot was subdivided before 1975, when the ordinance was put on the books.
Jensen later suggested the town should hold a public hearing to discuss changing the ordinance and would like to question Amalga landowners to see what they would like.
Scott Gittins, whose residence is just south of where Sims plans to build, said changing the ordinance to allow 150 feet of frontage everywhere in town won't be a drastic adjustment because homes will still be considerably far apart.
Jensen said 2400 West is filling up fast with homes, and as soon as the street fills to capacity he said potential residents will be looking other places to build. Many county roads that are unpaved now could potentially be paved in the future if enough residences are built along them, he explained. One person on the committee warned that the town must control growth to keep the town just that ú a town.
"We're trying to protect a rural environment in Amalga rather than encourage subdivisions," said commission member John Clark. "We're in the driver's seat."