Development moratorium around airport could be lifted soon

Development moratorium could be lifted soon

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The moratorium on development of land surrounding the Idaho Falls Regional Airport could be lifted Thursday night. The city of Idaho Falls put a six-month moratorium on development of land around the airport in January to look at potential zoning changes. Now, three months have passed and the city's community development services is ready to present to City Council Thursday night.

"In some areas it's really more about land uses being restricted," said Brad Cramer, director of Idaho Falls Community Development Services. "Those land uses that are incompatible with airport operations. And by incompatible we mean nuisance, noise levels. Those airlines are so close to the property that it's not a place where you want certain activities going on."

The changes were important to meet Federal Aviation Administration regulations. One of the goals is to keep development away from the center line of the runway.

"We're looking at the safety of future development of the area to ensure that a large residential population isn't put under the approach pass. It's very noisy and could cause possible incidents," said Rick Cloutier, director of the Idaho Falls Regional Airport. "So we're just looking out for the future of development also."

Officials with Community Development Services originally thought the changes would mean a more broad and restrictive zoning, but that is not the case. Proposed changes will restrict residential development in areas at either end of the runway. The comprehensive plan will also have to be amended for a portion of land northeast of the runway. Other restrictions will vary by property zone.

"In most places, what it will mean is that there will be some disclosures through platting and easements that just notify somebody that if you live here, you're close to an airport, you may hear noise, you may hear airlines, airplanes coming up over the property," Cramer said.

Despite getting approval for a six-month moratorium, the city was able to get the work it needed done in three months. Community Development Services says there could still be some changes. They want to talk about a longer-term plan for the area with residents. 

"The reason we're moving forward with what we have is sort of a minimum requirement is we want to lift that moratorium," Cramer said. "We want to get developers moving that have made plans and investments and make this moratorium as short as possible."

All of these decisions and changes will be voted on by the Idaho Falls City Council Thursday night. 

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