P&Z Minutes Mar 15th 2018

Boundary County Planning and Zoning Commission

Workshop Minutes March 15, 2018

  1. Establish quorum; Open meeting
  2. Reading and approval of February 15, 2018 minutes.
  3. Presentation - Forest Conservancy - Kennon McClintock
  4. Considerations for Rezoning Boundary County Comprehensive Plan Map
  5. Adjourn


Amy Maggi, Kennon McClintock

Planning & Zoning

Caleb Davis (Chairman), Wade Purdom (Co-Chair), Scott Fuller, MarciaVee Cossette, John Cranor, Tim Heenan, Adam Isaac


Counselor Tevis Hull, Ron Self, Rob Woywod


John Moss

At 5:30 pm Chairman Caleb Davis opened the meeting, announcing that this was in fact a Workshop, and presented the evening agenda. After identifying the presence of a quorum Davis asked the Commission if there were any changes or corrections to be made to the Minutes of the February 15 2018 meeting. There being none, Davis asked for a motion to approve the February 15 Minutes. Adam Isaac so moved, seconded by Tim Heenan, and there being no further discussion Davis called for a vote. The votes were as follows:

John Cranor - Aye, Tim Heenan - Aye, Scott Fuller - Abstain, Marciavee Cossette - Aye, Wade Purdom - Aye, Adam Isaac - Aye, Rob Woywod - Absent, Ron Self- Absent, Caleb Davis - (tie-breaker);

Tally: Nay (0), Recused (1), Aye (5), Absent (2)

The motion to approve the February 15 2018 minutes was unanimous.

[Planning & Zoning minutes are transcribed from the conversation that takes place during the meeting. Topics are condensed, eliminating verbatim comment in order to condense the material. Key points are included in this extraction and all votes taken are recorded.]

Staff introduced Amy Maggi, who said she was interested in the Planning and Zoning Commission's review of the Comprehensive Plan Map rezoning considerations. The members of the Commission welcomed Amy and shared some handout material with her. (See below for reference to this material.)

Following Amy's introduction, Staff welcomed Kennon McClintock who had asked the Commission for the opportunity to speak on Forestry Land Use in Boundary County and to introduce The Nature Conservancy as it relates to our forest resources. Staff returned the chair to Chairman Davis, who welcomed Kennon McClintock and asked him to speak.

Kennon introduced himself saying he has been active in the Idaho Forest Conservancy for 42 years and has lived in Moyie Springs for the last 31 years. He said he would like to impress upon the Commission the importance of preserving the timber land that represents the prime ingredient of Northern Idaho's beauty and commercial interests. He said he does not work for the mills but that he has cut logs for the mills and has worked for a number of large corporations (Forest Capital, Crown Pacific, and others) whose business it is to provide logs for the mills.

He proposed that we enjoy the rural nature of our land here, being not too close to neighbors while enjoying the peace and quiet, the clear air, the beauty and yes - the privacy. But this is changing, as more and more people arrive and like what they see, and want the same thing for themselves. To understand the risk of change he pointed out that forests (trees) require land. People own land, and forested land has value, trees have value. Nearby, there are mills and mills need logs and as trees grow and become harvestable they become logs for the mill. The land owners (you) facilitate this process by having your trees harvested and then as part of this cycle you plant and nurture new trees - and all of this process ensures the continued beauty of the area and the continuing enjoyment of your privacy and all of the reasons you enjoy living here.

There is always a question of balance, a need for the right number of logs to keep the mills busy without too much wood lying idle and yet enough to keep the mill active. The Moyie mill, for example, takes 100 million feet of wood a year to keep running efficiently. They don't own their own land, they must buy the logs from those who have trees for harvest. At the Alta mill in Naples, they do 28 million feet of Cedar per year. They don't have any land, they must buy all those logs.

Looking at these two mills, Moyie and the Alta mill in Naples, they buy all of their wood from a roughly 100 mile circle that encompasses 3 counties in Montana, two in Idaho (and sometimes down to Kootenai County near Coeur d'Alene), 1 western Washington county and part of British Columbia within 80 miles or so of our border with Canada. Incidentally, the Moyie mill would probably not be running if not for British Columbia because British Columbia is feeding the whole second shift at the mill right now. This is good for British Columbia and good for the mill because we need 100 million feet per year in Moyie and currently there is about 130 million feet available. This allows some picking and choosing, enough to maintain activity and keep quality production while sustaining this critical cycle of need. The need of the mill for wood and the need of the landowner to harvest his trees when they mature is the critical balance we are examining. If the mill doesn't get enough wood to keep busy the quality of output suffers, the ability to keep the mill staffed and with current technology suffers, and the trickle-down effect is that the community suffers.
The land is the key to understanding the critical nature of this cycle. Trees grow on land, that's the source of all trees and as the amount of land available for tree growth diminishes so also does the local economy.

When land falls out of use, becomes fragmented such that there is insufficient area to grow harvestable trees, the mill goes idle and eventually must close. The economies of transport and providing logs over a distance exceeding 100 miles becomes too costly. Kalispell, in other words, is too far away to consider as a resource for the Moyie mill.

In Boundary County we have 200,000 acres of private land: 80,000 of that is in Agriculture; 120,000 is in land which might be used for timber but only 40,000 acres is actually 'industrial', or tied to the timber industry. The remaining non-agricultural land (80,000 acres) is not truly 'timber' land, it is residential, suburban, or other land necessary for the population to enjoy. So you see the land that is not owned by the mill is open to the landowner to decide what to do with it. The critical balance described above is essential to the mill's survival. If too much land disappears, the mills will close, the mills in Moyie, Naples, LaClede are in danger if we don't supply them with logs.

I say 'we' because this is a community problem, an issue that affects all of us. I've talked to the County Commissioners about this and there are two viewpoints in conflict with each other:

  1. First, the need to recognize that the community is supported by timber, timber jobs and related employment in sustaining areas(grocery stores, gas stations, post office, schools, churches, etc.)
  2. The second viewpoint has to do with real estate development whereby realtors wish to sell land

Where a failure to appreciate the sensitive nature of these 40,000 industrial acres is concerned we see the direct conflict between the two viewpoints.

There was much more to Kennon's presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission, including the description and discussion of Conservation Easements and the Forest Legacy Program. These topics are highlighted in the handout (below) as well as a description of The Nature Conservancy. Kennon thanked everyone for their interest and attention to the importance of what he shared, and asked that anyone having questions please contact him. The Planning and Zoning Commission thanked Mr. McClintock for his well-considered presentation.

Kennon McClintock provided this handout concerning Why North Idaho Private Forestlands are important to our Economy and our Communities. Note: To view this pdf correctly you may have to click on Tools (upper right corner of pdf screen) and select 'Rotate Counter-Clockwise'.

Chairman Davis then asked staff what steps are needed to consider rezoning as it relates to the Comprehensive Plan Map. Staff responded by thanking Amy Maggi for being present and waiting for this part of the program. Unfortunately, he said, we are not able to give a concise definition of where, what and how to change existing zones. He continued by saying that public input is required, both to determine where rezoning is desired and (importantly) to determine the availability of resources (utilities) in that area. He suggested that a more descriptive statement be published asking for those interested to provide details regarding their rezoning needs; there will be an opportunity at that time to actually participate in the discussion, he added.

Wade Purdom moved to adjourn, Scott Fuller seconded, approved unanimously at 7:30 pm.

Transcribed by: John B. Moss

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 17:30
Back to Top