Bonner County Zoning Changes

Unpleasant surprises may face many Bonner County landowners. The County is considering undermining 27 years of countywide zoning by allowing illegally created parcels created before November 18, 2008 to be lawful through “amnesty.”

This waives 27 years of zoning standards, like lot size minimums, and 13 years of subdivision standards, like the need to plat. Your neighborhood may change without notice as you welcome neighbors to lots you thought were too small to develop. This “amnesty” is unfair to those who followed the rules. For example: A 20 acre parcel zoned Agricultural since 1981 with a 10 acre minimum was split into four 5 acre properties, violating the lot size minimum without going through the subdivision process, would now become legal.

Folks that bought into a neighborhood in rural Bonner County thinking they were moving into an agricultural area now find that this isn’t going to be the case because neighboring lots will be smaller.

The code proposal would affect property owners and jurisdictions county-wide. A fire district that has staffed for homes on 10 acre lots, could find itself serving many more property owners, with no advance notice. Roads may not be properly sized. Water and sewer districts may be overextended.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing for this proposal BCRC 12-616 on Thursday, April 5, at 5:30 pm at the County Administrative Building, 1500 Highway 2.

Thank you for visiting my campaign website!

As issues arise or events are scheduled, the website will be updated. Please follow me here or on Facebook if you prefer. If you have questions or comments, use my contact information to communicate, and I will get back to you.

Why am I running as a Democrat? Because I represent all those who are fiscally conservative and value local government as an important means for providing the services we need.

The County is especially important as a service provider; building and maintaining roadways, getting an ambulance to you if needed, running 911, and providing law enforcement and courts. And more! As a commissioner, I will work to ensure that all county services run smoothly and cost effectively.

Unfortunately, today’s county commission is following philosophies that the majority of County residents don’t fully agree with, and that tilt is spearheaded by Dan McDonald, the current District 3 Commissioner. They are making decisions privately, before public meetings and not making it easy for voters to follow their actions. Dan is leading them in directions that can undermine the clean air, water and cooperatively managed public lands that make our county special to live in and attractive for business and employees. We need to move county government back into the Bonner County mainstream.

All county voters cast ballots for all commissioners in November. The districts are ones where a candidate must live, not where voters must live. I ask for your vote in November, and promise to be a Commissioner who makes decisions with Bonner County businesses and residents as the priority.

Thank you. Be sure to vote in the primary, May 15, and in the general election on November 6. You can find information on voting elsewhere on this website.



“Demand open process on proposed planning, zoning changes”

Published January 23, 2018 by the Bonner County Daily BeeArticle Link

Do you want an industrial plant near your rural home? No? Then read this:

Bonner County zoning codes are currently up for changes without the usual opportunities for citizen input. Under currently proposed revisions, industrial plants would be permitted in many county zones, potentially including yours. Protection of private property will be weakened.

In the past, citizens were offered many opportunities to contribute to changes such as these. The county held evening workshops in many locations, published progress reports, and tried hard to keep you informed and include your ideas.

Zoning for industrial uses is only one of many changes underway. Today’s commission may be doing the legal minimum, but they are trying to ram this through without your knowledge and ideas.

If elected Bonner County commissioner in November, I will transparently conduct public business. Today’s commission is doing the opposite.

Call the commissioners at 208-265-1438. Ask for a copy of the proposed changes and demand an open process!


“Lockwood seeks District 3 seat”

Published January 5, 2018 by the Bonner County Daily BeeArticle Link

SANDPOINT — Steve Lockwood, an 18-year resident of Bonner County, is running in the Democratic primary for Bonner County Commissioner, District 3.

“I’m running because I feel my management expertise and ability to listen to residents will help County government be more responsive, focused, and cost-effective,” Lockwood says, adding, “People deserve to have their local government deliver needed services at a reasonable price.” As an entrepreneur, Lockwood developed moderately priced, in-town housing in Sandpoint in 2006.

“I want to help Bonner County in addressing important issues. We need to respond vigorously to the possibility of a smelter on the county’s western border, promote affordable housing, and create economic development strategies that attract jobs paying a living wage for a family. It is important that county policies preserve the small town and rural character of our community in the face of inevitable growth,” says Lockwood. He also supports economic opportunities afforded by promoting multiple uses of the County’s abundant public lands.

Lockwood retired from his position as operations manager for AT&T long distance after 30 years with the company. In that period, as a volunteer he chaired the Air Quality Committee for the Portland, Ore. metropolitan area. That gives him important background for sorting out fact from fiction about pollution effects of projects such as the proposed silicon smelter near Old Town, Idaho. In Bonner County, Lockwood served on Sandpoint’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council. He also was an LPOSD#84 School Board member, including serving on the Teacher Salary Negotiating Team and the Facilities Committee. Currently, he serves on Sandpoint’s Urban Renewal Board and the boards of the Idaho Conservation League and Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society.

Lockwood’s skill in managing large budgets and complex teams, his long history of public service in local government and enthusiasm for our local community provides District 3 and Bonner County with a candidate who will work diligently to implement sensible and effective solutions for the County.

Lockwood is married to Molly O’Reilly, and has two sons and their families who live in the area. Steve bikes, sails and hikes in his spare time.

“Smelter needs to meet higher LAER standards”

Published December 24, 2017 by the Bonner County Daily BeeArticle Link

HiTest is proposing the emissions from their proposed silicon smelter near Newport, Wash., meet the BACT standard. BACT stands for Best Available Control Technology. Trouble is, it’s not actually the best, even though it sounds like it.

Lowest Achievable Emission Rate is better. We “downwinders” in Idaho should do all we can to encourage the Washington Department of Ecology to require LAER standards be met. Although LAER would cost HiTest more to install, it will help ensure that the air we breathe is clean.

If nearby areas were designated Class 1 for air quality, higher standards would possibly be required of the smelter.