Judge ends Teton County's development moratoriumNow we just need a judge to end Moscow's attempted development moratorium in the corridor. It's just too bad we can't recall Nancy Chaney.
DRIGGS, Idaho (AP) -- A judge has ended Teton County's moratorium on any new development, saying the six-month ban amounted to little more than governing by "executive fiat."
Seventh District Judge Jon Shindurling made the ruling Monday.
Teton County Commissioners voted 2-1 to enact the six-month emergency moratorium in March, with Democrats Larry Young and Alice Stevenson voting in favor of the development ban and Republican Mark Trupp voting against. Stevenson said the moratorium was needed because rapid growth in the region had left the county planning department overwhelmed and behind on work and the county struggling to deal with wastewater, landfill and affordable housing problems.
But Shindurling said the moratorium contemplated issues that were not urgent enough to justify limiting the rights of Teton County citizens. The judge said the commissioners wrongly lowered the "threshold at which this kind of emergency action can be taken."
An overworked and understaffed planning department does not provide basis for an emergency proceeding, Shindurling said.
The judge took up the matter after more than a dozen landowners filed a civil complaint over the moratorium a few days after it was passed. The landowners asked the judge to throw out the ban, contending it negatively affected their ability to sell their land.
After the moratorium was passed, some residents began pushing for Stevenson and Young to be recalled. Nolan Boyle, a former Teton County clerk who's leading the recall effort, said he was pleased with the judge's decision.
"He attacked the core of the problem and sent a clear message" that the commissioners can't "impose their agenda" on county residents, Boyle said.
Stevenson and Young said they would respect Shindurling's decision. Still, Young questioned why Idaho has a law authorizing emergency moratoriums if they can so easily be overturned in court.
"If this decision becomes a precedent, we might as well not have a moratorium law," he said.
Monday, May 07, 2007
No More "Executive Fiat"
This AP story sure sounds familiar.