In response to the State of Idaho’s interest in possibly locating a reentry facility within Kootenai County, County Commissioners authorized staff and the Planning Commission to develop an amendment to the Land Use and Development Code to provide for such uses. The draft amendment would only allow the facility if reviewed through a public hearing process and only upon a finding that express standards are met. View the draft amendment here:
The draft amendment defines a reentry facility as: A residential facility that allows offenders to work while becoming reunited with families and the community, offers selected offenders who are nearing release a chance to prepare themselves for release, and provides protection to the community through high accountability and security of the offenders housed in the facility.
No. This does not mean that either the County Commissioners or the Planning Commission is supporting or opposing such a facility. The current county Land Use and Development Code does not address Idaho State reentry facilities. The purpose of a Code amendment would be to give the county the ability to set standards for such a center and ensure public input is required during the application review process.
After the Idaho Department of Corrections announced it was considering Kootenai County as a potential location for a prisoner re-entry center, Kootenai County Commissioners initiated an advisory vote to gauge public opinion. The results of the non-binding advisory vote found more than 78 percent of Kootenai County voters were in opposition to locating a re-entry facility in Kootenai County.
Though a re-entry center has not been formally proposed, County Commissioners have asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to draft an amendment to the county's land use code specific to re-entry facilities.
The county currently has no regulations governing re-entry facilities. As such, the State of Idaho could build a facility without the county's review or permission. The proposed land use amendment safeguards against this. Under the proposed amendment, a re-entry facility would be subject to the conditional use permit process, which includes public review. Approval would only be granted if it was shown that the facility would be compatible with the surrounding area.
The proposed amendment simply establishes parameters for a review process if a re-entry center were to be formally proposed.
View the draft amendment here: https://www.kcgov.us/DocumentCenter/View/14287/Re-Entry-Facility-Standards-and-Definition
Kootenai County's Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on August 27. After considering concerns raised by the public during the hearing, the Planning Commission increased the mandatory buffer from residential and certain other uses from 1000 feet to ½ mile; added Places of Assembly and Worship to the list of uses from which the facility must be buffered, added language requiring the applicant to assess economic impact on the provision of public services and public safety, and removed the word “residential” from the definition of Re-Entry Facility. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval.
The proposed amendment will now be heard by the Board of County Commissioners at 6:00 p.m. October 8.
Public input is always valuable as the Planning Commission works on drafting code amendments. Once the Planning Commission completes the draft, the county will schedule a public hearing to solicit public comments. Prior to the public hearing, comments can be sent to David Callahan at email@example.com. All comments received by the county will be forwarded to the Planning Commission for review and consideration.
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