County P&Z to hold rezone public hearing

By: 
Philip A. Janquart
The Washington County board of commissioners has scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at the Vendome Events Center located at 309 State St. in downtown Weiser.
 The purpose of the hearing is to consider a request by Catherine Pursifull to rezone her property, located at 1387 Highway 95, from A1 agricultural and D1 light industrial to D2 heavy industrial.
 All interested individuals are invited to attend the hearing to comment.  You can also submit written comment beforehand.  
 Verbal comments will be limited to five minutes per individual.
 The hearing will also be accessible via Zoom. The connection is not restricted and can be accessed through the URL http://zoom.us/j/94584398221.
 Weiser River Animal Shelter and Rescue (WRASR) wants to purchase the property, located about nine miles north of Weiser, on the west side of Highway 95, where it intends to develop an animal shelter for dogs and cats.
 The nonprofit organization has been searching for an appropriate location in which to establish a facility the group says is desperately needed in the area.
 WRASR representatives will give a presentation on its future plans for the site during the Sept. 19 public hearing.
 “We have a bid on a piece of property north of town and, of course, it’s not zoned properly for a kennel, so we are requesting a zone change,” said WRASR Chairman John Aegerter, addressing the unusual dual zoning of the property where the current owner, Pursifull, has run an animal boarding operation in the past.
 “They are not quite sure how that ever happened because that’s not proper anymore,” he told the Signal American last month. “They don’t allow properties to have two zones on them. She (Pursifull) boards dogs, but that’s not why it was zoned D1. There was going to be a shop set up in the back area, but the husband never did get that going.”
 WRASR is seeking a D2 heavy industrial designation. According to Aegerter, that’s the designation required to operate a kennel.
 “Kennels can only be D2 zoning,” Aegerter said. “Our shelter doesn’t have anything to do with heavy industrial; it’s just where they put kennels.”
 He added that an anonymous individual donated the funds to buy the property, which consists of a single-family home and two structures that can be converted to serve the animal shelter’s needs. Since launching last fall, WRASR has been working hard to raise money for a new animal shelter in Washington County, but has had a hard time finding potential locations.
 The proposed site is already being protested by county residents.
 “At our last monthly meeting, there were at least five couples and some individuals there who are not in favor of it,” Aegerter said. “Two of them don’t actually live next door or close by and two of them do.”
 He noted that some are concerned about rezoning the property D2 heavy industrial.
 “That kind of opens things up on that property in the future if we were to sell it after we bought it,” he said. “That’s not our intention, of course.”
 Aegerter said his group has, potentially, a long road ahead. 
 County P&Z is tasked with either recommending the rezone request for approval or not, county commissioners ultimately making the call in the end.
 If the rezone is ultimately approved, WRASR, which has collected over 100 signatures in favor of having an animal shelter in the county, must raise more funds to modify the structures to fit its needs.
 “We will be taking in dogs and cats, getting them healthy, spayed and neutered, vaccinated, and trying to find them good homes,” Aegerter said. “We are not expecting any shelter to be in existence for at least two years.”
 WRASR now has approximately 60 members. The group meets the second Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m. inside the Weiser library. You can also find them on their Facebook page.

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Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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