On August 22, 2018, the S Bar Ranch filed a Notice of Objections with Elmore County alleging the county has a significant and irreconcilable conflict of interest/bias in its dealing with the Cat Creek Energy project.
Snippet from Notice of Objections:
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that S Bar Ranch, LLC (“S Bar Ranch”) has objections for the hearing on August 24, 2018 (the “Hearing”) and the proposed actions of the Board of County Commissioners (the “Board”) with respect to the Cat Creek Energy, LLC Project—Conditional Use Permit CUP-2015-04 (the “hydro project”) and First Amendment to the Development Agreement that is the subject of the hearing.
1) S BAR RANCH CONTINUES TO OBJECT TO THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST THAT THE BOARD HAS IN THIS MATTER, WHICH PREVENTS THE BOARD FROM BEING NEUTRAL
The Board of Commissioners of Elmore County has a significant and irreconcilable conflict of interest/bias in this matter.
Under I.C. § 67-6506, a conflict of interest exists when a county grants a conditional use permit for the benefit of the county. The rule barring conflicts of interest in zoning matters is codified in I.C. § 67-6506:
A member or employee of a governing board, commission, or joint commission shall not participate in any proceeding or action when the member or employee or his employer, business partner, business associate, or any person related to him by affinity or consanguinity within the second degree has an economic interest in the procedure or action. Any actual or potential interest in any proceeding shall be disclosed at or before any meeting at which the action is being heard or considered. For purposes of this section the term “participation” means engaging in activities which constitute deliberations pursuant to the open meeting act. No member of a governing board or a planning and zoning commission with a conflict of interest shall participate in any aspect of the decision-making process concerning a matter involving the conflict of interest. A knowing violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor. I.C. § 67-6506 (emphasis added).
Idaho courts have interpreted the term “economic interest” broadly; any kind of direct or indirect pecuniary benefit qualifies. Martin v. Smith, No. 2008 WL 4727843 (Idaho Dist. Apr. 2, 2008)(order granting preliminary injunction). Idaho courts have also interpreted “participation”broadly, holding that it includes any action involved in the deliberation process. Manookian v.Blaine County, 735 P.2d 1008, 1012 (Idaho 1987) (“I.C. § 67-6506 prohibits a member…from participating even if he or she will not vote.”). A conflict of interest can also arise if the person participating in the proceeding is employed by an entity that is economically interested in the …
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