County P&Z to take up Tungsten pit ... again
August 13, 2012
A reconstituted Boundary County Planning and
Zoning Commission will meet at 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 23, and once again take up an
application that has vexed Boundary County for
years; whether or not to approve a seven-acre
gravel pit in north Boundary County proposed by
The seven acre pit just south of Porthill was
approved by Boundary County in 2005, on the
thinking that gravel was necessary for growth,
and that gravel of quality came where the proper
rocks were found.
But a concern arose that such a pit adversely
affected a neighboring cattle breeding
operation, from adverse affects to the cattle to
the potential for de-watering the wells they
The owners of the ranch took the case to the
Idaho Supreme Court and won, not so much on the
merits of their case as on shortcomings of local
land use ordinances, which, at the time, didn't
refer at all to gravel pits or mines.
In the interim, a new county ordinance was
written; one that does set standards for mining.
In September, 2011, the application was heard
under the new rules; the P&Z commission
concurred with the initial decision to approve,
but they took advantage of a provision that
allowed the hard decisions to be forwarded to
elected county commissioners.
Rick Dinning, representing Tungsten Holdings,
requested that the application be table to
provide time to address concerns; at his request
those answers will be heard August 23.
While the evolution of the Tungsten application
has been convoluted, the makeup of the Planning
and Zoning Commission scheduled to meet August
23 has gone through some convolutions itself.
Long-time zoning administrator Mike Weland, who
had a stroke April 22 that left him physically
unable to retain the position, left his position
as a county employee but volunteered to be a
member of P&Z and was accepted.
Dan Studer, who was chair of P&Z, resigned his
post after county commissioners determined that
he was best able to fill the administrator's
position; he will be ex-officio clerk of the
meeting while members must elect a member to
fill his position as chair.
While Weland filled one vacancy, Studer's slot
has become vacant, and the planning and zoning
commission still has a vacancy to be filled.
Any one interested in serving is asked to send a
letter of interest to the planning and zoning
office, P.O. Box 419, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805.