Many of the procedural items related to preapplication steps, the review and approval process, and best practices for public meeting procedures are covered in more detail in the Planning a Project section of the site.
Procedures, Admin and Definitions
The decision-making body assigned to each project type can approve, approve with conditions, or deny an application based on the standards and criteria in the zoning code and guiding plans that apply to that application type. All decisions are final unless appealed.
Decisions have different timing expectations based on the decision-making body. Most hearing-level bodies will announce their decision at the completion of the public hearing and deliberation. However, the Hearing Examiner is allowed up to 30 days to render a decision with all supporting reasons and documentation. Any administrative decisions can also be referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission, Design Review Commission or Historic Preservation Commission if it is determined by Planning Director to be unusually large, complex, or raises unique or serious impacts on the city or surrounding neighborhoods.
All decisions are made based on criteria defined in the zoning code, and a written statement of approval or denial shall be provided to the applicant explaining the rationale for the decision based on applicable provisions of the comprehensive plan and the zoning code, relevant statutory previsions, constitutional principles, and the factual information in the record. Notice of the decision of certain types of applications will also be passed to adjacent properties, corresponding neighborhood associations, and any appellant.
Conditions can be assigned by a decision-making body to ensure that approval is consistent with the general planning goals outlined in the comprehensive plan and the zoning code.
Approvals will be effective 10 days after the date of the written decision unless an appeal is filed and will follow the specified period of validity.
A reconsideration is one opportunity to help minimize appeals, and to prevent new information from being heard at an appeal. The applicant must request a reconsideration within 14 days of the decision, and must include the specific ways the decision does not align with the zoning code, or with other applicable local or state law.
An appeal is the final option for applicants seeking a change to the decision that was made on their application, short of seeking outside legal action. Appeals of administrative and hearing-level decisions have different procedures and grounds for appeal, but all appeals must be filed within 10 days of the decision.
Legal nonconformities can occur when a parcel, structure, use, sign or site feature was legally established, but is now out of compliance with the code due to an ordinance amendment, annexation, change of zoning, eminent domain, or a similar action, and not due to the actions of the property owner.
There are processes in place for confirming the status of a potential nonconformity and assigning it as a legal nonconformity or planning to bring it into compliance.
The full authority to investigate, issue notices of violations, and secure remedies for any violation of the code is held by the Planning Director and their designees, including Code Compliance Officers, as designated enforcement officials.
Any violation of the code can constitute a misdemeanor, and a separate offense occurs for each day or portion of a day in which the violation is committed, continued or permitted, including but not limited to:
- Dividing land for sale or development in a way that does not comply with the standards, criteria, and procedures for approval of a Subdivision Plat;
- Transferring title to land before the Record of Survey or Subdivision Plats has been approved by the city and recorded with Ada County;
- Submitting any Record of Survey to the county that has not been approved;
- Obtaining a permit or approval using inaccurate or misleading information;
- Obstructing or removing any required public notice;
- Failing to operate and maintain property or to properly secure abandoned construction sites;
- Creating or maintaining a public nuisance;
- Failing to meet all requirements of the development approval;
- Projects earning one or more affordability incentive not in compliance with their specific requirements.
Inspection and Enforcement
The Building Official and their designees, enforce the provisions of the zoning code related to the erection, construction, reconstruction, moving, conversion, alteration, addition, location or razing of a building or structure. The Planning Director is responsible for establishing a program to enforce the code where the Building Official does not have enforcement authority, and when a violation has occurred the Planning Director is responsible for determining which powers will be enforced to bring the property into compliance with the code in a reasonable amount of time. The city may perform inspections of potential violations of the code, withhold permits and approvals to applicants out of compliance, and require abatement to nuisances.
Remedies and Penalties
Any violation or noncompliance with the zoning code is subject to all remedies, penalties and enforcement (under Idaho Code) including but not limited to criminal misdemeanor and civil injunction action, and will receive a fine of up to $1,000. Any violation of the affordability incentives will be subject to additional penalties. Permits, certificates, or approvals can also be revoked as part of the penalty.
Minimal property standards apply to ensure that damaged, dilapidated, or unfinished buildings are removed, restored or finished to eliminate detrimental visual impacts. There is a process for conducting a due process hearing, providing notice, and the city's role in restoration and demolition based on required findings.
The zoning code includes rules regarding defining the general meaning of words, and specific guidance for interpreting different pieces of the zoning code including intent, illustrations, computation of time, delegation of authority and more. There are also rules specific to defining measurement including density, the use of fractions, and standard measurement items outlined in the zoning code such as buildable and non-buildable area, lot measurements, grading, open space, height, setbacks and more.
The interpretation or usage of terms used in the code is left to the final authority of the Planning Director.
Send a Message to Planning
Thank you for your interest in the Planning division. Please fill out the form below and a representative will be in touch with you. If you are inquiring about a specific project, please include the record number or project address.