County grants rezone request for ‘Last Outpost’

The Washington County Board of Commissioners on Monday voted to allow the rezone of a five-acre parcel of land south of Weiser from A1 agricultural to C1 commercial, on the condition of a subsequent development agreement, following a public hearing held Monday, April 25.
 Another public hearing will be conducted after the development agreement has been penned. The date and time will be published when that information is made available.
 The property is located on the east side of Highway 95, south of the Second Chance home décor store, at Crystal Lane.
 Weiser resident Brian Heller, managing member of Angel Homes, LLC, asked for the rezone in February. He wants to develop a small outdoor shopping village called the “Last Outpost.”
 Heller’s plan centers around a western-themed village of small venues, providing a variety of vendors a place to showcase and sell their products.
 Last Outpost would also feature open space that can accommodate year-round family events and activities and serve as a gathering location for groups and organizations. Heller’s vision includes an outdoor stage, spaces to rent for events, a conference room, and spaces where classes and meetings could be held.
 “What we are looking at, if you’ve seen the activities center in downtown Kuna (Kuna Square), they’ve put up sheds for small retailers and they’ve created a little village similar to mine, but not nearly as impressive as what we are intending to do and it would allow people to shop and do other activities there,” Heller told commissioners on Monday.
 Heller said the development would benefit the entire community.
 “This would be a themed village. Ours would be much more impressive than Kuna’s; my thoughts are that we would rather draw those people here, spend their money here,” he said. “They would then also shop across the street at Second Chance. They would come into town … and shop downtown. Generally, people that are out for the weekend, they will spend their money in a variety of places, so it will encourage tourism.”
 One advantage relative to Heller’s development would be the potential to give people another option for parking other than along Highway 95. 
 “Second Chance and us, so far, are 100 percent on the same page,” Heller said. “We’ve already talked about shared parking. They are welcome to use our parking as overflow and we’ve even talked to them about their property. Since they are already zoned commercial, they do have a little bit of extra land back there that is not currently used that could be converted into additional parking.”
 In terms of a turning lane for northbound traffic making a right-hand turn onto Crystal Lane, Commission Chairman, Nate Marvin, said that the Idaho Transportation Department  has jurisdiction over Highway 95 and that it would be up to that agency whether a turn lane would be built. 
 A handful of county residents testified during Monday’s public hearing in favor of, and opposed to, the development.
 “I’m in favor of Brian doing his project. There are a lot of people wanting to get their kids out and this [would] help them get exposed,” said Weiser resident Al Harris. “I think it would be a good venue … and a good thing for the community. It might help stimulate more business, more money for our businesses.”
Matt Gabica, Heller’s future neighbor, voiced concerns about the land potentially being sold in the future for other purposes.
 “I would ask that they actually put a strict proposal together, and if you folks do approve anything, do it under a special use permit, continue to zone it as Ag-1 and have very specific guidelines for what he can and can’t do with that because I do share concern about a gas station or a mini-mall popping up next to my agricultural ground,” he said.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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