Idaho bill aims at involving water delivery workers in development planning

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RUPERT, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) A bill making its way through the Idaho legislature aims at making water delivery entities more involved in new developments.

The bill would require planning and zoning authorities to notify water delivery entities that have requested notice of any proposed rezoning, subdivision or site-specific land development.

“As we grow and as we continue to see the good things happen in our community, that all of the key partners in that growth are at the table,” said Kelly Anthon, a senator representing the Rupert area.

Anthon sponsored the bill. It passed the Senate with 33 votes for and no votes against last week – two senators were absent. It now is set to be heard in the house.

Anthon said that shows support for the subject-matter of the bill.

“In Idaho there’s still a recognition that agriculture is the most important part of our economy and as we continue to see growth and new home building and some of these things happening it’s important that we keep our irrigators and keep agriculture at the table,” Anthon said.

A development in Rupert could have used this law. Before Anthon was city administrator there plans for a new neighborhood were drawn right over a Minidoka Irrigation District pipeline. Now the pipeline needs to be moved and it could cost the irrigation district and the developer up to $20,000.

“It’s just one of those issues that we’ve had to work through and [the developer]’s been great to work with,” said Dan Davidson, the manager of the Minidoka Irrigation District. “But if we’d been able to begin the process we wouldn’t have had to do what we’re doing now.”

The project happened before Davidson’s time over the irrigation district, but it’s something he’s been dealing with recently.

He said the bill is to keep situations like that from happening, not to limit developers.

“It’s about helping each other out and making sure we end up with the best possible outcome,” Davidson said.

That could mean saving people money and making planning processes run smoother.

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