Blaine County commissioners deny Camp Rainbow Gold's application

In a packed courthouse, the Camp Rainbow Gold and the Coalition for Concerned Citizens made their statements before the board of commissioners on Tuesday.
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HAILEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Blaine County commissioners came to a decision Tuesday regarding Camp Rainbow Gold's appeal of denying the conditional use permit to build a forever home in Triumph.

The board voted 2-1 to uphold the decision, denying Camp Rainbow Gold's application.

In a packed courthouse, the organization and the Coalition for Concerned Citizens made their statements before the board. The board then had the opportunity to ask both parties questions before they evaluated each standard through the four hour session. These standards include:

- Definition of a retreat
- Designed, constructed and harmonious with the existing character of the neighborhood and won't change character in the area
- Hazardous/Disturbing
- Road Standards

Although everyone came to a consensus that the camp's purpose is beneficial to the community, the board concluded that the location itself would not be suitable for the camp.

Commissioners Angenie McCleary and Lawrence Schoen didn't find a positive result for different reasons. For Commissioner Schoen, it all started with standard one — the definition of a retreat — in which he believed it was more of a camp than a retreat.

For chairperson McCleary, she didn't think Camp Rainbow Gold would be able to meet the standards as a whole.

"I think the intensity of use is one of which does not allow even with the conditions for a proposal of this scale to be able to meet the standards," McCleary said.

On the other hand, Commissioner Jacob Greenburg thought the application could be approved with conditions met.

"There's absolutely nothing in the statute that prohibits the applicant from having ability not to excess 30,000 square feet ... or from inviting x number of people to live in that home," Greenburg said. "Under those guidelines, somebody could do that in a residential setting and be able to build that building without having to come in front of the board to do that ... I think that we're swayed by public opinion, then you know, we've already seen the effect of that on our affordable housing situation and that concerns me."

In post-hearing comments, Fritz Haemmerle, attorney of the Coalition for Concerned Citizens, said they never viewed the issue as a win-lose situation.

"It's a hard thing because Camp Rainbow Gold's mission is important for the community and sick children," Haemmerle added. "We just always believed that this particular application was definitely in the wrong place and had impacts on people."

With major disappointment, representatives of Camp Rainbow Gold issued a statement saying, "Camp Rainbow Gold is surprised and saddened by the Board of Blaine County Commissioner’s vote, but our need for a forever home has not changed and remains in our future."

Although their application to build a facility on the 260 acre lot was denied not once but twice, they're back to the drawing board to find a forever home for summer camps.

"The Camp Rainbow Gold board plans to regroup and talk about the next steps together once they have had an opportunity to review the written decision. While we are disappointed, we are not broken, and we will continue to work for Idaho’s kids affected by cancer and their families to find a forever home for Camp Rainbow Gold," the statement said.

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