Planning board to hold public hearing on setbacks

The Madison County Planning Board will hold its public hearing on the proposed streamside setback ordinance for the Madison River and its tributaries Monday evening in Virginia City.

The public hearing is the last step for the board before it makes its recommendation to the Madison County Commissioners on the setback ordinance.

Madison County has been embroiled in this latest discussion on setbacks along the Madison River since 2008 when a streamside setback citizen advisory committee was formed by the commissioners.

This committee met for nearly two years and came up with a proposal that outlined a minimum of 75-foot setbacks on the Madison River and 50-foot setbacks on its tributaries. The committee’s proposal also included the Jefferson River.

The committee’s proposal also called for citizen initiated zoning to implement the ordinance.

The planning board received the committee’s proposal last spring. The board changed the ordinance initially to 500-foot setbacks on the Madison River.

However, over the past few months the board debated the setback distance and ultimately decided on a tiered system. This system has a 500-foot jurisdictional area, with a 300-foot building setback and 150-foot streamside buffer zone. All distances are measured from the high water mark, said Charity Fechter, Madison County planning director.

On tributaries the building setback would be 125 feet and the streamside buffer zone would be 100 feet, she said.

The planning board is also proposing to recommend the commissioners implement this ordinance by commissioner initiated zoning.

After the public hearing, Fechter expects the planning board to make an official recommendation to the county commissioners. The board could still make some changes to the ordinance after the public hearing.

The commissioners will also have to hold a public hearing on the ordinance before they can pass a resolution to implement the ordinance, she said.

The planning board is an advisory board for the county commissioners, Fechter said. The final decision on setbacks will be up to the commissioners.

For more information on the setback ordinance, go online to the county’s Website.

The public hearing will begin Monday night at 6:15 in Virginia City at the Madison County Courthouse.

For more information or questions, call the Fechter at the planning department, 843-5250.

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