Fish Springs project wins approval
February 15, 2018
Like the waters down Pine Nut Creek, concerns about flooding slowed, but didn't stop approval of an 11-unit subdivision in the community in the Pine Nut foothills.
County commissioners agreed that a variance for a cul de sac that crosses the flood plain was the only means to access the property.
Community Development Director Mimi Moss said the question was whether there would be 10 units at Hunter's Point or 11 at commissioners' Feb. 1 meeting.
The project includes two detention ponds to capture flood waters from the property. The approval represents full build-out of homes in the area.
Each of the lots is larger than 5 acres, which is the underlying zoning on the property.
While the flood plain crosses the property, that doesn't mean it's ineligible for development, county Engineer Eric Nilssen said.
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"Flood plains are not no-development areas," he said.
A major variance requested for the project dealt with access to the property. Under county code, projects must seek a variance if they're putting two lots in the flood plain.
Community Development Director Mimi Moss said that was to prevent people from altering the flood zone in order to protect their property.
"The variance is to split that one parcel," she said. "The reason for the code is to cut down on number of people who are part of a flood plain because they tend to move dirt around to protect their own property.The hardship is that this property owner in order to subdivide has to have access. The only access must be from Fish Springs Road, any access must go through that parcel and will result in two parcels."
Nilssn said the detention basins are designed to hold 1.5 times the 25-year, 24-hour storm, which amounts to 2.74 inches of rain over 24 hours.
The Fish Springs flood in 2014 saw 1.3 inches fall over the course of two hours.
The Aug. 8, 2014, Fish Springs flood occurred after a significant rainstorm hit the Pine Nuts upstream from the neighborhood, which didn't see a drop.
Resident Sheila Schwadel said she didn't think there was a need for a variance.
"I bet none of the developers or commissioners were out there the night of the flooding," she said. "It's a big, big issue and if it can be done without major variance, with one lot split by the road, at least it conforms with county code."
Hunter's Point is being built by Midtown Ventures and is located north of Fish Springs Road and Myers Drive.
The company purchased the land from the Hussman family, which has held it for the better part of a century.