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A special meeting of the Bear Lake County Commissioners was held on Monday, December 27, 2021, with all Commissioners in attendance, assisted by Cindy Garner, Bear Lake County Clerk. The agenda was approved unanimously as published.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Mitch Poulsen presented three action items involving The Reserve in Fish Haven and the 7-Mile Subdivision in St. Charles. Quickly moving through the three issues inasmuch as the projects had been considered in a prior meeting when they had not been noticed for action, the commissioners approved a Master Plan amendment to add 40 acres and the Phase 8 preliminary plat for The Reserve, contingent upon Highway 89 access and approval by all appropriate agencies. With respect to the 7-Mile Subdivision Preliminary Plat for Phases 1 and 2, unanimous approval was again given, subject to a number of contingencies such as approval by the Fish Haven Recreational Sewer District and St. Charles City regarding lagoon capacity to accommodate the new development as well as an upgrade to the St. Charles sewer system pump. Other requirements were State Lands’ approval on the highwater mark, access to the highway without involving St. Charles’ road system for egress or ingress, as well as Corps of Engineers and Fish and Game approval. Poulsen indicated that the developer had previously obtained many of the listed items from the named agencies (excepting the sewer system approvals, as an example).

Dow Barker requested the Commissioners consider organizing a herd district due to difficulties he and his neighbors are experiencing with roads, fences, gates, locks and movement of vehicles, people and cattle. Barker suggested the County had the ability to organize such a district with advice from legal counsel but he was uncertain of the procedures which may involve 50% of the land owners agreeing, although he was not prepared to set the boundaries for such a district. Other questions arose as to trespass, fences, cattle guards, taxes, cattle at large, board members, emergencies, petition requirements and other details.

Discussion ensued with Chairman Rasmussen commenting that the Commissioners could consider forming a herd district upon receipt of a written petition. Sheriff Heslington volunteered information regarding Idaho’s regulations governing open range which requires cattle be fenced out, rather than the usual procedure when cattle are fenced in. He detailed recent experiences concerning cattle hit on the highway and the motorist’s insurance paying for the animal. Concluding a lengthy discussion among Barker, those accompanying him and the Commissioners, Rasmussen reminded the group that the issues in that area had been the subject of considerable debate and three years of work with another landowner’s attorney. At one point, resolution had been close, he believed, but the pandemic had intervened before an agreement was finalized. Subsequently, additional gates were installed, further exacerbating the disagreements among neighbors. State or federal agencies who also own property in the area are impacted by the dispute. The County also owns property in the area and has an interest in resolving the problems.

It was explained that a Road and Bridge employee will soon retire and a replacement is

needed. The Commissioners approved the job posting and added a phrase indicating the position will remain open until filled.

A situation had developed shortly after the Commissioners had deleted a County policy authorizing leave for employees when an immediate family member tested positive for Covid.

Following a discussion of how to react to such situations and to reduce the incidence of infection, a new policy was unanimously approved to rely upon medical authorities’ recommendations concerning an employee being on leave due to immediate family members testing positive.

County Assessor Heber Dunford approached the Commissioners to discuss state appraisal requirements and a possible solution to be considered during Executive Session.

Rasmussen explained that because the matter was not on the current meeting agenda, it could not be discussed and proposed Dunford add it to the next meeting agenda.

The meeting adjourned at 10:22 a.m

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