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Development Services FAQ

Commissioners

How can I get an address for my parcel?
Addresses are issued after completion of the Building Permit process and only after a highway access permit has been approved by the appropriate highway district. Addressing takes into consideration the location of the approved driveway by the highway district. The address is then issued according to the road for which the access is granted and by the location of the structure on the parcel. Please check with a planner for additional information or contact DSD at dsdinfo@canyonco.org.
NOTE: Parcels located within the city impact areas of Caldwell and Nampa are addressed by those cities.

If my building sets off the road, do I need numbers at the road?
When buildings are set back from the public way on a private lane and/or the address is not visible from the street or road fronting the property, in addition to the building address number there must also be numbers placed on a post adjacent to the private lane a minimum of four (4) inches in height and in a contrasting color to the post.

What is the minimum size for address numbers?
Approved address numbers a minimum of 6″ in height and in a contrasting color shall be placed on all new buildings in such a position as to be clearly visible and legible from the street or road fronting the property.

The exception would be for buildings that are set back from the public way on a private lane and/or the address is not visible from the street or road fronting the property. In addition to the building address number there must also be numbers placed on a post adjacent to the private lane a minimum of four (4) inches in height and in a contrasting color to the post.

How can Agritourism help keep small farms in business?
USDA research shows that small farm operators who began operating “off-farm” business operations (a second, non-farming related business) had an exit rate from farming as their primary occupation of almost 23%, compared to operators who engage in “on-farm” alternative business activities (such as Agritourism operations ) who have an exit rate of 15%. (Ref: Stephen Vogel 2012. Multi-Enterprisng Farm Households: The Importance of Their Alternative Business Ventures in the Rural Economy. USDA, page 9)

What are the benefits of Agritourism?
– Agritourism offers landowners:
– Increased business exposure;
– Allows them to diversify their revenue stream;
– Results in farmers’ ability to capture more over-all value from their property.
– According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture (the most recent available), 23,350 farms indicated they provided Agritourism and recreation activities producing an additional revenue of $566 million.
– Of those, 3,637 farms indicated gross receipts of $25,00 or more.
– This additional revenue stream offers farms an alternative to selling their land for residential development.
– An added appeal is that, in many situations, very little additional investment is needed for farmers to begin reaping the benefits.
(USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture – Table 7)

What is Agritourism?
“Agritourism activity” means any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities including, but not limited to, farming, ranching, historic, cultural, on-site educational programs, recreational farming programs that may include on-site hospitality services, guided and selfguided tours, bed and breakfast accommodations, petting zoos, farm festivals, corn mazes, harvest-your-own operations, hayrides, barn parties, horseback riding, fee fishing and camping. An activity is an agritourism activity whether or not the participant paid to participate in the activity. (Idaho Code § 6-3003)

What is the Agritourism Law in Idaho?
The Idaho Agritourism Promotion Act (“the Act”), was passed into law in April 2013 and went into effect July 1st, 2013. (Idaho Code § 6-3003)

The Act provides the first instance in the Idaho Code of a statute dealing with and even going so far as to define certain Agritourism terms.

The purpose of the Act is to limit liability for those who provide agritourism activities, the risks of which may, it is implied, deter providers from establishing or continuing such operations.

Why Agritourism?
– Profits are declining for small farms in many parts of the nation, including Canyon County.
– Input costs for farming have continually risen, generally outpacing commodity prices.
– Increasing competition from globalization and the rise of large scale industrialized farming has put financial strain on many small farmers.
– These farmers have to face a tough choice of leaving farming, selling off parts of their land, finding additional “off-farm” employment, or discovering new ways to make money using their existing resources.

Can I get a copy of the ordinances and codes from your office?
Yes. The Zoning Ordinance and Building Code can be found on our website and can be printed from there.  The complete Code of Ordinances can be found under the Resource tab (main site navigation), titled “County Codes & Ordinances”.  If you need further assistance please contact us at dsdinfo@canyonco.org.

When do I need a Building Permit?
All new structures in Canyon County require at a minimum a zoning compliance and setback inspection; specifically agriculturally exempt buildings.  In addition to a zoning compliance, all building projects 200 sf or more require a building permit, including new residential and commercial structures, additions, some remodels, pools, move-on sheds, patio covers, carports, mobile and manufactured homes (to name a few). All structures (including Ag Exempt) within a floodplain require a development permit in addition to a zoning compliance and usually will also require a building permit. Living in recreational vehicles requires a temporary permit and can only be permitted for 90 days outside of an RV park within one calendar year.

Is a building permit required for a fence?
If less than seven (7) feet in height, No.

What are the minimum requirements for final occupancy certification: R-3 occupancies?

  • Addressing according to the Building Ordinance;
  • Electrical final by the state;
  • Plumbing final by the state;
  • Smoke detector system to be installed in accordance with the Universal Building Code (if applicable);
  • 3` x 3` landing at all exits (except for over hang out back & side exits).

What are the requirements for emergency exit windows?

  • In every sleeping room provide an emergency exit window 5.7 sq. ft or 820 sq. inches with a minimum opening height and width of 24″ and 20″ respectively.
  • Finished sill height to be not more than 44″ above the finished floor. (Universal Building Code).
  • Window wells shall provide a minimum accessible net opening of 9 sq. ft., with a minimum dimension of 36″.
  • Window wells with a vertical depth of more than 44″ shall be equipped with an approved permanently affixed ladder or step.
  • Smoke detectors within 12″ of ridge of ceiling. (Universal Building Code)

What are the size requirements for guardrails?
Guardrails shall be a minimum 36″ height with intermediate members not more than 4` apart and to withstand horizontal force of 200 lbs per lineal ft when more than 30″ above grade. (Universal Building Code.)

What are the size requirements for stairways and handrails?
Stairways:

  • Maximum rise 8″;
  • Minimum rise 4″;
  • Minimum run 9″;
  • Minimum headroom 6’8″;
  • Minimum width 36″ finished;
  • Handrails required on stairways of 4 or more risers and shall be located from 34″ to 38″ above tread nosing;
  • 6″ minimum tread on circular stairs at narrowest point. (Universal Building Code.)

What requires a building permit and inspection in residential construction?

  • All new construction, including Outbuildings over 200 sq. ft.
  • Structural additions and alterations for homes.
  • Window replacement.
  • Retaining walls over 4 ft high measured from the bottom of the footing.
  • Placement and set up of manufactured homes.
  • Any construction in a floodplain requires a Development Permit.

What size landing will I need and locations?
3′ x 3′ minimum landing at each exterior door; except out all back and side exits where covered by an over- hang stoop only.

What steps should I take when searching for an HVAC Contractor?
Heating and cooling systems are some of the most important investments you’ll make in your home.  If you are like most people, almost half of your utility costs go into heating and cooling your home.  When selecting a contractor for your HVAC needs, how do you know who will treat you and your home right, give you a fair price and a job well done?  Here are some helpful tips from the Better Business Bureau and the Idaho Division of Building Safety:

  • Make a List:  First, get a list of contractor names to call and check out.
  • Ask for References: Friends and family may have some first-hand recommendations.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau: The BBB has great information on contractors in your area.  Check bbb.org to get a list of HVAC contractors accredited by the BBB.
  • Make some Calls:  Your next job is to narrow down your list of contractors to 3-5.  Start by calling each one and getting the following information:
    • Verification of Licenses:  Idaho requires all HVAC technicians to be tested and to keep their licenses up to date.  Get the contractor’s license number and check with the state to verify the license.  Go to dbs.idaho.gov
    • Verification of Insurance: The Contractor should carry general liability insurance and workers’ compensation.  If not, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.
    • References of former customers:  Ask for the phone number of references and give them a call.  Ask them if they were happy with the work performed, if the contractor finished as planned, if the contractor left everything clean and if they would use them again.  If you found the name of the contractor through a friend or family member, ask the same questions.
  • Get an Estimate:  Once you have the list narrowed down, set up times for free in-home estimates.  Estimates should always be in writing and should always include a full description of the services to be provided.
  • If you are getting a new unit, HVAC tech should do a load calculation:   This includes looking at the old unit, the number and position of windows in your house, how much sunlight it gets and the status of the insulation.  If the Contractor only looks at your old unit, or if he or she recommends a bigger unit ‘to be on the safe side’, beware!  The right unit is critical to keeping your house comfortable and your costs down.
  • While they are at your house, get a ‘read’ on the person:  Ask yourself “Is this somebody I trust?”, “Can I work with them for an extended period of time?” and “Am I willing to let them into my home?”
  • Once you get the bid, ask questions:  If one contractor’s bid is substantially higher or lower han the others, ask why.  They may have noticed something the others did not.  If there is anything you don’t understand, ask the contractor about it or ask a knowledgeable friend.
  • The Final Pick: After all your hard work, you have finally found your contractor!  The contractor may use their written estimate as a final contract or may present the same information in a different document.  As your project gets underway, here are a few things to consider:
    • Look Carefully before you sign:  A complete contract should state clearly all tasks to be performed, all associated costs and the payment schedule.  Never sign a blank contract or one with blank spaces.  Guarantees made verbally by the contractor should be written into the contract.  It should state how long the guarantee is valid, what it covers and who is responsible.  Make sure to keep a copy of the contract and any receipts in a safe place with your home owner’s manual.
    • Make final payments only when all work is completed to your satisfaction: A reputable contractor will not threaten you or pressure you to sign if the job is not finished properly.
    • Pay by check, not cash: Any legitimate contractor will work with you and accept a check or a cashier’s check.  Don’t get pushed into anything else.

Watch out for Contractor Scams:

  • Avoid anybody who says they can speed up insurance payments or building permits: They can’t; or if they do, they are doing so illegally.
  • Avoid anybody who wants a cash deposit or cash advance for payments in full.
  • Don’t get rushed into a decision because you are responding to a disaster:  Scam artists love to prey on natural disaster victims or other high stress situations. Even though you may just want things fixed and back to normal NOW, do not rush into making a decision.  Ask the same questions and go through the same process that you would at any other time.  You do not want to make a bad situation worse.
  • if it looks too good to be true, it probably is:  Be skeptical of low bids and great deals.  Although price is important, professionalism and quality of workmanship should also be considered.

What type door will I need in the garage?
Doors between garage and residence to be 1 3/8″ solid core or labeled as 20 min rated.

What will I need for a separation wall?
Garage and house occupancy separation 5/8″ fire resistive gypsum board taped on garage side.

Where should safety glass be installed?
Glass in the following locations must be safety glass:

  • all glass doors sliding, patio doors, shower and bath tub enclosures, within a 24″ arc of door and fixed panels greater than 9 sq ft. with the lowest edge less than 18″ above the floor and any window within 5′ of a stairway.

Where will smoke detectors be placed?
Smoke detector systems to be installed per manufacturer’s instructions and in accordance with Universal Building Code and R-3 Occupancies.

How much water can you collect in rain barrels during a rainfall?
Believe it or not, for every inch of rain that falls on a catchment area of 1,000 square feet, you can expect to collect approximately 600 gallons of rainwater. Ten inches of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot catchment area will generate about 6,000 gallons of rainwater! That’s right, 6,000 gallons! More than you were expecting?  Your roof catchment area is equal to the total square feet of your house plus the extension of your eaves. You don’t need to consider the angle of your roof, like you would if you were buying roofing material, because rain falls evenly on every part of the roof.

To calculate the square feet of the catchment area around your house, measure the area of the outside walls and then include the overhang of any eaves. For example, you have an oblong house with outside dimensions of 36 feet by 46 feet. You have calculated the overhang of your eaves as 2 feet. So, add the 4 feet of the eaves to each wall length (2 eaves of 2 feet equals an additional 4 feet for each wall) to get the total length of the walls plus the eaves (40 by 50 feet).

Now multiply 40 times 50 (length times width) to get your total roof catchment area. (36 + 4) x (46 + 4) = 2,000 sq ft. Your roof catchment area is thus 2,000 square feet. Since one inch of rainfall provides approximately 600 gallons of water for a 1,000 square foot catchment area, and our theoretical house has a 2,000 square foot catchment area (twice the area), you will multiply 600 gallons by 2. 600 gal x 2 = 1,200 gallons. If you have an average rainfall of say 20 inches per year, you have the potential to collect 24,000 gallons of water in one year. (You can use the following website to get a good idea of the average rainfall in your area: http://countrystudies.us/united-states/weather. 1,200 gal x 20 inches of rain = 24,000 gal   Depending on the needs of your household, that can be significant amount of water to augment your water supply.

You should consider that rainwater harvesting systems aren’t necessarily 100% efficient. Most sources estimate efficiency between 70% and 90%. All rainwater harvesting systems lose some of the rainwater. It may spill out of the gutters or the wind may blow it away. Evaporation will undoubtedly affect some of it. To maximize your collection of rainwater, you can use out buildings such as barns or sheds. If you are creative, you can even use rainwater from a patio or other paved areas around your house.

 

Can I burn within City Limits?
Burning within City Limits is prohibited, except as outlined below.  This includes, but is not limited to, obtaining a permit from the local Fire Department and adhering to the requirements of the Department of Environmental Quality. Cooking fires or controlled ceremonial fires such as a campfire or small fire pit are allowed without a permit in most jurisdictions as long as they do not exceed three (3) feet in diameter and two (2) feet in height and do not cause a nuisance or hazard.

  • Check with your specific City, but as a general rule Burning is Prohibited within the City Limits, except by obtaining a burn permit.
  • Generally, city burn permits allow burning of vegetation on waterway canals or ditches;
  • Burning of weeds along non-combustible fence lines (chain link or barbed wire with steel posts);
  • Burning to control and kill certain recognized an known noxious weeds (goat heads, white tops, etc.);
  • Bonfires at schools or special events in a controlled environment.

Again, these are general statements and may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  Be Safe – Call First!  Contact your local jurisdiction for detailed information:

Caldwell Fire (208) 455-3032
Canyon County Sheriff Dispatch (208) 454-7531
Homedale Fire (208) 337-3271
Kuna Fire (208) 922-1144
Marsing Fire (208) 896-4511
Melba Fire (208) 495-2351
Nampa Fire (208) 465-2240
Parma Fire (208) 722-5716
Star Fire (208) 286-7772
Upper Deer Flat Fire (208) 466-3589

 

Is there a Fee for a Burn Permit in the County?
Nampa Fire District issues Burn Permits for burning in the county within the Nampa Fire Protection District Area.  If you are unsure if a permit is required in your area, please call 208-468-5770 for further information.

The Burning Permit is an annual permit, valid one year from the date of purchase.  The Fee is $20 and can be obtained at the Nampa Fire Administrative Office located at 820 2nd Street South, Nampa, ID.

What are the Proper Burning Basics and Requirements?

  • Any burn activity deemed to be a nuisance by anyone may be required to be extinguished;
  • Fires must always be attended until completely out.  NEVER leave fires unattended;
  • Always have fire suppression tools and water available;
  • Burn from sunrise to sunset only.  Anything that will not burn out in that time should not be burned;
  • Burn at least fifty (50) feet away from any structure;
  • Do not burn when it is windy or there are Red Flag warnings.  (DEQ requirements call [208] 373-0313 for information);
  • Burn when fuels are dry and well aerated.  Wet or dirt-covered materials will smolder and create more smoke.
  • Do not burn materials that emit large volume of smoke, particulates or odors; this includes wet materials.

CAUTION:  You can be held responsible for damages and fire suppression costs caused by a fire that gets out of control.

What are the requirements for burning in the County?
The requirements for burning in the Nampa Fire Protection District will be listed on your Burning Permit.  The intention of the permit is to allow burning of natural materials such as garden trimmings, tree branches and yard waste.  No household garbage or construction materials, etc. should be burned.

If outside the Nampa Fire Protection District and not within city limits, no burn permit is required and again the intention is to allow burning of natural materials such as garden trimmings, tree branches, yard waste, and ditch burning.  Call 208-468-5770 for additional information.

You must follow Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requirements and therefore you MUST call DEQ’s recorded line at (208) 373-0313 or visit their website http://www.deq.idaho.gov/air-quality/monitoring/daily-reports-and-forecasts.aspx external to ensure the air quality is such as to allow open burning.  Burning is not allowed during red flag warnings or windy weather.

You must ALSO contact Canyon County Dispatch (non-emergency line) at (208) 454-7531 PRIOR to Burning.  They will ask what you plan to burn, when and where.  This will ensure that the fire department is not dispatched to your site.

What CANNOT be Burned?
Burn barrels or burning of trash is expressly prohibited.
Burning of the following materials is prohibited:

  • Household solid waste or garbage;
  • Motor Vehicles and their parts;
  • Tires and other rubber products;
  • Dead animals or parts thereof;
  • Plastics
  • Asphalt, tarpaper, waste or petroleum products;
  • Lumber or timbers treated with preservatives;
  • Construction waste materials such as sheetrock, flooring, insulation, or anything containing asbestos;
  • Paint, solvent, or other chemicals including motor oils, diesel, gasoline, etc.;
  • Insulated wire;
  • Pathogenic wastes or infectious wastes, including manure or feces;
  • Hazardous waste;
  • Any other material that wold otherwise be allowed under this article, but is determined to be a nuisance, hazard, or source of air pollution;
  • Any material that is restricted, as specified in IDAPA rules for the control of air pollution 16.01.01

Could my failure to respond lead to court action?
In lieu of a citation, the Code Enforcement Officer may recommend to the Development Services Director and the Board of County Commissioners that the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office initiate civil court proceedings. The court costs for civil proceedings may be assessed to the owner of the subject property and if not paid within 30 days, may be included on the property tax roll against the owner.

How do I contact Code Enforcement
Code Enforcement can be reached through the Development Services Department by calling (208) 454-7458; or emailing dsdinfo@canyonco.org.  Normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed all holidays and weekends.

Or by visiting our office located on the 1st Floor of the Canyon County Administration building, 111 North 11th Ave, Caldwell, ID 83605.

How do I file a Land Use or Public Nuisance Complaint?
Complaints may be filed in writing on the form provided on our website.  Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.  The Complainant must identify the location of the property and the suspected ordinance violation.
Code Enforcement information/complaint form

How will a complaint be investigated?
Once a written complaint is received, the Code Enforcement Officer will visit the property to investigate the validity of the alleged violations.  Investigation may include property research, speaking with the property owner or neighbors; researching permitting requirements and land use cases.  If violations are found to exist on the property a written notification will be provided to the owner identifying the violations and the pertinent codes and he will be given an opportunity to abate the violations within a specified time frame.  Our goal is to work with property owners and to seek their cooperation in achieving compliance.

What about all these weeds?
General weed violations  fall under the Canyon County Public Nuisance Ordinance.  Anyone can file a written complaint about weeds on any property within the county’s jurisdiction.  Once a complaint form is received, Code Enforcement will open an investigation to determine the validity and degree of the complaint and will identify and exclude noxious weeds, which fall under state statutes and are handled through the Weed and Gopher Department.

Once a valid complaint is established, the property owner will be notified and given a specified time to bring the property into compliance, usually 10 days. In some cases it becomes necessary for the County to abate the property, in which case those costs and fees are charged back to the property owner and included on the property tax roll.

What about non-operational vehicles?
Under the guidelines of the Canyon County Public Nuisance Ordinance, no public nuisance shall exist unless three (3) or more motor vehicles or parts thereof not in operating condition remain standing on the property for more than ten (10) calendar days. (CCCO 02-01-05(5)).

What about open storage of trash and garbage?
Under the provisions of the Canyon County Public Nuisance Ordinance, property with a condition or use of the premises or property which allows the open storage, deposit, or scattering of scrap, abandoned, discarded, or unused objects such as furniture, appliances, cans, containers, tires, tools or mechanical parts is in violation.  This would include a condition or use of premises or property which allows the open storage, deposit or scattering of scrap lumber or wood, waste petroleum products, scrap or waste paper, trash, garbage, junk, boxes, recyclable materials or debris of any type. (CCCO 02-01-05(3)(4)).

What can I do about barking dogs?
If you are a resident of the unincorporated portion of Canyon County, contact the Sheriff’s dispatch line to report animal issues.  If you are calling about an emergency, dial 9-1-1; otherwise you may reach the non-emergency number at (208) 454-7531.  An Animal Control officer will respond during normal working hours; and a Sheriff’s Deputy will respond after hours.  If you live within any city limits, contact your city office.

Any of these concerns, should be referred as noted above:

  • Barking dogs
  • Dogs at large or in traffic
  • Found or unwanted dogs or cats
  • Aggressive animals
  • Deceased, injured and sick animals
  • Animal attacks and bites
  • Animal cruelty and neglect

What happens if I fail to respond to a complaint?
Property owners failing to correct any infractions or neglect to abate within the allotted time frame may be subject to court action (criminal misdemeanor citation) or civil court proceedings.  It is our desire to work with property owners to achieve compliance.

Will you share my personal identity regarding a complaint?
Our department takes every precaution in protecting your identity. Some code compliance cases do escalate to civil action in which case a judge may decide it necessary to relinquish your name, but routinely it is not our policy to do so.

What is a Comprehensive Plan and how is it used?
A Comprehensive Plan, known also by other names such as General Plan, Development Plan or Master Plan, has several characteristics.

  • It is a physical plan intended to guide the physical development of the unincorporated area of the County by describing how, why, when and where to build or preserve areas of the County.
  • The plan is also long range, in that it considers a horizon of ten years.
  • A Comprehensive Plan is a statement of policy, covering future directions desired by the citizens in each plan component, and it is a guide to decision making for the elected and appointed government officials and other members of the citizenry.
  • Canyon County’s Comprehensive Plan encourages the protection of agricultural lands and land uses for the production of food and fiber as well as the economic benefits they provide to the community.

How much does it cost to get a Building Permit?
Upon submittal of your application a $70 zoning compliance fee will be collected.  The cost of the building permit will vary and is calculated using the final market valuation of the structure and the total square footage.  Normally, building permit fees average 2% of the total market value.

A $70 zoning compliance fee is due for those qualifying AG Exempt structures as well.

Contact the plans examiner for more specific costs of building permits.

What is the Fee for other application types?
Fees vary depending upon the type of building or development you plan to do.  Residential Building Permit fees are charged according to the market valuation and square footage and usually run about 2% of the market value of the structure.  A Zoning Compliance fee of $70 is always required for any building or land development application.  Other land use fees are found on the Building Permit Fee Schedule pdf  posted on our website.  If in doubt, or if you have additional questions, please contact the Development Services Department at (208) 454-7458.

How do I determine if my property is in a flood zone?
For your convenience, a Flood Zone Map has been added to our website.  Specific questions and confirmation should be provided by a planner.

If my property is in a flood zone, does that mean I cannot obtain a building permit?
Any development within a flood zone may require additional requirements from elevating the structure to providing engineering data. Please visit with a Planner to review the flood hazard area requirements.

What are the Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designations?

Zone
Description                 
X Areas outside the 500-year Flood Plain with less than 0.2% annual probability of flooding.
A Areas subject to a one percent or greater annual chance of flooding in any given year.  Because detailed hydraulic analysis have not been performed on these areas, no base flood elevations are shown.
AE, A1-A30 Areas subject to a one percent or greater annual chance of flooding in any given year.  Base flood elevations are shown as derived from detailed hydraulic analysis (Zone AE is used on new and revised maps in place of Zones A1 – A30).
AH Areas subject to a one percent or greater annual chance of shallow flooding in any given year.  Flooding is usually in the form of ponding with average depths between one and three feet.  Base flood elevations are shown as derived from detailed hydraulic analysis.
AO Areas subject to a one percent or greater annual chance of shallow flooding in any given year.  Flooding is usually in the form of sheet flow with average depths between one and three feet. Average flood depths are shown as derived from detailed hydraulic analysis.
AR Areas subject to a one percent or greater annual chance of flooding in any given year due to a temporary increase in flood hazard from a flood control system that provides less than its previous level of protection.
A99 Areas subject to a one percent or greater annual chance of flooding in any given year, but will ultimately be protected by a flood protection system under construction.  No base flood elevations or flood depths are shown.
V Areas along coasts subject to a one percent or greater annual chance of flooding in any given year that also have additional hazards associated with velocity wave action.  Because detailed hydraulic analysis have not been performed on these areas, no base flood elevations are shown.
VE, V1 – V30 Areas along coasts subject to a one percent or greater annual chance of flooding in any given year that include additional hazards associated with velocity wave action.  Base flood elevations are shown as derived from detailed hydraulic analysis.  (Zone VE is used on new and revised maps in place of Zones V1 – V30.)

What is a Floodplain?

  • Flood is a natural occurrence where periodically, rivers, streams, gulches, and creeks will overflow their banks and inundate adjacent land areas. These areas, known as FLOODPLAINS, temporarily store this excess water. Flood damages only arise when man interferes with the natural flooding process by altering the watercourse, developing areas in the upper watershed, and/or building inappropriately in the Floodplain.
  • DEVELOPMENT is defined as any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, filling, grading, paving, excavating or drilling.  A Development Permit shall be obtained before construction or development begins within any area of Special Flood Hazard. There are special construction processes for development in a Floodplain and potential monetary penalties for non-compliance to County Ordinances and regulations established by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Any development within a flood zone may require additional requirements from elevating the structure to providing engineering data. Please visit with a Planner to review the flood hazard area requirements.

Can I schedule a pre-application meeting?
If you would like to schedule a pre-application meeting with a planner, please email
dsdinfo@canyonco.org.  Include a description of your proposal and an address or parcel number.

How do I become a Planning Commissioner?
Candidates hoping to become a Planning Commissioner must make application with the County Board of Commissioners.

Each commission shall consist of not less than three (3) nor more than twelve (12) voting members, all appointed by the County Board of Commissioners. An appointed member must have resided in the county for at least two (2) years and must remain a resident of the county during his service on the commission. No person shall serve more than two (2) full consecutive terms.

What hours are you open?
Planners are available to the public from 8am to 4pm including during the lunch hour. Normal department hours are 8am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.  The office is closed on all major holidays.  Appointments are not necessary.

What is the Local Land Use Planning Act (LLUPA)?
LLUPA is what is called an “enabling act”. It is legislation passed by the Idaho State Legislature that gives authority to local governments to regulate land use by empowering them to adopt comprehensive plans, enact zoning regulation, and create zoning districts.

How do I appeal a decision?
Decisions may be appealed to the Board of County Commissioners by filing a written notice of appeal with Development Services within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order (FCOs) were signed. The notice of appeal should include a statement of the reasons for the appeal and must be accompanied by the filing fee.

How do I get a copy of a land use decision or view a file?
A public record’s request must be filed to view or to obtain a copy of any file or land use decision.  For more information please contact 454-7458.  Click Here for the Records Request form.

How do I get results of a hearing that has been held?
By filling out a Public Information Request form and submitting it to Development Services by fax, email or in person.  The approved Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order (FCO’s) will not be available for distribution until signed by the chairman of the hearing body and could take up to 2 weeks after the hearing (or more in some cases) to have the signed document available.  You may contact a planner at any time that will be able to assist you.

Office Number:           (208) 454-7458.
Office Fax Number:    (208) 454-6633
Email:       dsdinfo@canyonco.org
Address:  Canyon County Courthouse, 1115 Albany St, Caldwell, ID 8360

How do I testify at a Public Hearing?

  • If you wish to testify, please arrive by 6:15 pm to sign in. A separate sign-up sheet for each case will be available just inside the door.  You will be given three minutes to state your case.
  • In lieu of oral testimony, you may submit a brief written testimony; staff will be available to accept it and assign an exhibit number prior to the start of the hearing.

What happens at a public hearing?

  1. The chairperson or the secretary of the commission will briefly review the rules, procedures and conduct to be followed during the hearing.
  2. The chairperson will administer the oath or affirmation to the commission and development services staff.
  3. Those wishing to testify are then administered the oath or affirmation.
  4. The commission secretary begins each case by reading the statement of the purpose of the application.  The statement is the same statement which is used for notification.
  5. The chairperson will ask development services staff to make a brief presentation of the request.  This may incorporate the use of an overhead projection that would include various maps and facts that help describe the request, the property and surrounding land uses.
  6. At the conclusion of this presentation, staff answers any questions the hearing body may have regarding the case.
  7. The applicant or their representative will testify first and carries the burden of persuasion.  In other words, they must persuade the hearing body to approve their request.  The applicant is given ten (10) minutes to testify.
  8. If the hearing body asks questions during testimony, the clock is stopped.  It is restarted when the applicant or witness resumes testimony.
  9. Next, individuals testifying in favor, neutral and opposition testify.  They are given three (3) minutes to testify.  If one spokesperson represents the entire opposition, they are given the same amount of time as the applicant had to testify or 10 minutes.
  10. After everyone has spoken, the applicant has five (5) minutes for rebuttal, that is, to rebut issues presented by the opposition.
  11. The hearing body will move to close public testimony.
  12. The hearing body will then accept testimony and exhibits into the record.  Any late exhibits that have been entered into testimony may or may not be considered by the hearing body based on the amount of volume of the late exhibits.
  13. The hearing body will discuss the case in an open discussion forum.
  14. The hearing body will then review the criteria required by the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance and the Local Land Use Planning Act to insure that all have been met.  The hearing body can approve, modify or deny an application based on this review.
  15. A decision is rendered.
  16. Decisions regarding rezones, conditional rezones, comprehensive plan map changes, ordinance amendments and subdivision plats are in the form of a recommendation which is made to the Board of County Commissioners.  All decisions/recommendations can be appealed to the Board of County Commissioners.

What information must I include with the application regarding the neighborhood meeting?

  • Each  application  for a public hearing shall include a form acceptable to the director of Development Services, which requires the applicant to provide the starting and ending times of the neighborhood meeting and an attendance list, with names and addresses, of those who attended the neighborhood meeting.
  • Copy of the letter mailed to neighbors notifying them of the meeting.
  • List of all names and address of neighbors to whom notification letters were mailed.

What is the notification procedure for a public hearing?
At least fifteen (15) calendar days prior to the hearing, notice of the time and place and a summary of the proposed application request will be published in the official newspaper, and notice will be mailed to property owners or purchasers of record no less than 300-feet of the boundaries of the subject property.

What must be included in the letter informing my neighbors about the meeting?
Notice of a neighborhood meeting shall include the date, time, location and purpose of the meeting

When and Where are Public Hearings?
Public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission are held the first and third Thursdays of the month (as required).

  • Location:     Public Meeting Room
    1st Floor of the Canyon County Administration Building
    111 North 11th Avenue, Caldwell, Idaho
  • Time:         6:30 p.m.

When can I hold a Neighborhood Meeting?

  • The neighborhood meeting cannot be on a holiday, a holiday weekend, or the day before a holiday or holiday weekend.
  • The neighborhood meeting shall be conducted prior to acceptance of the application by Development Services.
  • The neighborhood meeting shall not be conducted earlier than six (6) months prior to the acceptance of the application by Development Services.
  • The neighborhood meeting shall not be held less than ten (10) calendar days from the mailing of the notice of the neighborhood meeting.
  • Additional questions should be addressed with a Planner in Development Services.

Where am I allowed to hold the Neighborhood Meeting meeting?
The meeting shall be held at one of the following locations:

  • On the property subject to the application.
  • At a nearby available public meeting place including, but not limited to, a fire station, library, school, or community center.
  • At an office space with suitable meeting facilities, if such facilities are within a one mile radius of the nearest public meeting place.

Who must be invited to the Neighborhood Meeting?
It shall be the sole duty of the applicant to provide written notice to all property owners or purchasers of record owning property within no less than 600 hundred feet of the exterior boundary of property subject to the application.

Why must I hold a Neighborhood Meeting?
The purpose of the neighborhood meeting shall be to review the proposed project and discuss neighborhood concerns, if any.  Applicants shall conduct a neighborhood meeting for any proposed variance, conditional use, zoning ordinance map amendment, expansion, or extension of nonconforming uses requiring a public hearing.

The neighborhood meeting shall be conducted prior to acceptance of the application and shall not be conducted earlier than six (6) months prior to the acceptance of the application.  The meeting shall be held no sooner than ten (10) calendar days from the mailing of notice of the neighborhood meeting.

For additional questions, please contact a planner at dsdinfo@canyonco.org.
(CCZO § 07-01-15)

What is the zoning classification on my property?
A large portion of Canyon County is zoned Agricultural, but other residential and commercial zones do exist.  For your convenience a Zoning Map pdf is located on our website and an interactive mapper has been added.  It is best to consult with a planner for the correct zoning determination.

Address

111 N. 11th Ave ROOM 140
Caldwell, ID 83605

Phone / Fax

P 208-454-7458
F 208-454-6633

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Hours

Weekdays 8am – 5pm
(excluding holidays)
*Accept Applications 8am-4pm