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On junkyards, persistence is key

May 13, 2022

I do sympathize with the frustrations that Mr. Poland ("Time to change county leadership," letters, May 10) is experiencing. I hope what I have to say is useful. A few years ago, I got my belly full of a different junkyard on the west side of Highway 95 south of Naples. At the time, I visited with former Boundary County Planning Administrator John Moss. John suggested that I put my concerns in writing and bring them back to him.

I did just that. I assume that he discussed this situation with Commissioners Dinning, Kirby and Pinkerton at the time. The county sent a letter of non-compliance to the owner of that property, because a fence and vegetation had been removed which then made the wrecking yard visible to the highway ... which made it in violation of county ordinance.

As a result, that property owner created an earth berm and installed a partial sight-blocking fence to alleviate the unsightliness. It wasn't a perfect fix, but was a huge improvement. I subsequently thanked John Moss and asked him to pass on my appreciation to the county commissioners and the property owner, as well.

I find it inexplicable that, given our natural beauty, anyone would endeavor to destroy that ambiance for their neighbors, the community, and our visitors. It shows a total lack of respect for others.Irresponsibility is not a property right.

Having served as a former planning and zoning commissioner in Hayden, I am fully aware of the complexity and limitations of zoning law. Not every situation can possibly be covered by code sections. The editor of this publication, Mike Weland, formerly served as P&Z administrator prior to John Moss. He can be quoted as saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

Currently, we are served by Commissioners Dinning, Cossairt and Bertling. We no longer employ an in-house P&Z administrator due to the ever-increasing workload and number of applications. All P&Z issues are now handled by Clare Marley and her assistant, Becca. They are employed by Ruen-Yeager Associates in Sandpoint ... a private engineering firm.

I suggest reaching out to this firm with all concerns of this nature and following up with photos and specifics of any complaints. Persistence is key. To engage in dialogue with the county commissioners, I suggest you first contact Michele Rohrwasser, who serves as clerk for the commissioners. Separate written correspondence may be recommended.

There is an old saying that, I feel, applies to your predicament, "be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it!"
Commissioners Dinning and Bertling are both up for re-election on May 17. Their opponents are Robertson and Fioravanti, respectively. Both of these challengers are tied at the hip with the Redoubt extremists who are trying to co-opt our local Republican establishment, which is dominated by outsider newcomers. In the interest of honesty, Robertson is a local guy with roots here. Fioravanti is a Californian with just under a decade here. Both of these challengers are of the political ilk that oppose any government regulation.

Please don't make our situation worse!
Gerald B. Higgs
Bonners Ferry

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Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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