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Idaho Local Transmission Siting Approval (8-ID-d)

Information current as of 2020
The transmission siting process in Idaho is highly decentralized. Local authorities have siting authority for all transmission lines. The zoning and planning processes for siting transmission lines varies based on the local jurisdiction, but the general requirements are governed by state law Idaho Code § 67-6511. County and city planning and zoning commissions must adopt a comprehensive plan that includes an analysis of utility transmission corridors. Idaho Code § 67-6508.

Local Transmission Siting Approval Process

8-ID-d.1 to 8-ID-d.3 – Contact Local Planners in Affected Areas

The type and process of authorization varies with the local government. Developers should contact the local planner in the affected areas to determine which application and associated documents to submit.

8-ID-d.4 to 8-ID-d.5 – Review Application Materials

The local government application review process is normally conducted by a zoning commission and/or a governing board within the local government. Generally, the local government is allowed a “reasonable time,” to process and render a decision on applications. Idaho Code § 67-6519(1). Whenever a local government grants or denies an application it will specify:

  • The ordinance and standards used in evaluating the application;
  • The reasons for approval or denial; and
  • The actions, if any, that the applicant could take to obtain approval.

Idaho Code § 67-6519(4)(a)-(c).

8-ID-d.6 to 8-ID-d.7 – Does the Proposed Project Comply with Local Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan?

Any proposed transmission project must be in compliance with the applicable local zoning ordinance as established by the local government. The local government establishes zoning districts within its jurisdiction as part of the adopted comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan considers “previous and existing conditions, trends, compatibility of land uses, desirable goals and objectives or desirable future situations,” in determining the appropriate land use regulations. Idaho Code § 67-6508. The local government will grant authorization for projects that comply with the zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan.

8-ID-d.8 to 8-ID-d.11 – Does the Developer Seek to Amend the Zoning Ordinance or Comprehensive Plan?

If the proposed project is not in compliance, the developer may seek to amend the zoning ordinance or comprehensive plan to allow the project. The amendment process requires notice to the public and a public hearing. The local government must:

  • Publish notice of the time and place of the hearing, and a summary of the issues to be discussed at least 15 days prior to the hearing. in the official newspaper of the jurisdiction;
  • Provide notice to other papers, and radio and television stations serving the jurisdiction; and
  • Provide notice to all political subdivisions providing services within the jurisdiction at least 15 days prior to the public hearing.

Idaho Code § 67-6511(2)(b) and Idaho Code § 67-6509(a).

At the hearing, all interested persons will be allowed to provide testimony regarding the matter.

8-ID-d.12 to 8-ID-d.13 – Does the Local Government Rule in Favor of the Developer?

If the local government rules in favor of the developer, and grants an amendment bringing the proposed project into compliance with the zoning ordinance or comprehensive plan, the local government will grant authorization for the project .

8-ID-d.14 to 8-ID-d.18 – Does the Developer Seek a Regulatory Takings Analysis?

When the local government renders a final decision on an application, they will provide notice to the developer regarding the developer’s right to request a regulatory takings analysis. Idaho Code § 67-6519(4)(c). A regulatory taking is defined as “…a regulatory or administrative action resulting in deprivation of private property…whether such deprivation is total or partial, permanent or temporary…” Idaho Code § 67-8002(4). When a local government renders a decision that inhibits a developer from fully utilizing the land in question for the proposed transmission line project, the decision may constitute a regulatory taking. The developer must file a request for a regulatory takings analysis within 28 days of the local government’s final decision. The developer must file the request with the local government rendering the final decision. The local government will prepare a written analysis to ensure that its action does not result in the unconstitutional taking of private property from the developer. Idaho Code § 67-8003(2).

8-ID-d.19 to 8-ID-d.20 - Is the Ruling Inconsistent with a Favorable CPCN Order from the IPUC?

If a ruling is inconsistent with a prior order of the IPUC, then it is null and void if prior to entering the order, the IPUC has given the affected agency an opportunity to appear before or consult with the IPUC with respect to the conflict. Idaho Code § 67-6528. The developer should contact the Idaho Energy Resources Office for further information.

8-ID-d.19 to 8-ID-d.26 – Does the Developer Seek Judicial Review?

Denial of an application pursuant to a regulatory takings analysis is a final agency action that entitles the developer to judicial review. Idaho Code § 67-5270(2). The developer must file the petition for judicial review in the district court of the county in which:

  • The hearing was held; or
  • The final agency action was taken; or
  • The aggrieved party resides or operates its principal place of business in Idaho; or
  • The real property or personal property that was the subject of the agency decision is located. Idaho Code § 67-5272(1).

The developer must file the petition for judicial review within 28 days of the agency action. Idaho Code § 67-5273(3). In addition, the developer must serve notice of the hearing upon all persons named in the petition as adverse parties at least 20 days before the hearing. Idaho R. Civ. P. 27(a)(2). If the district court rules for the developer, the local government will authorize the project . If the district court rules against the developer, the project cannot continue.

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