A group opposed to the Dry Creek Ranch Planned Community northeast of Eagle has asked a judge to intervene in the project.
The Dry Creek Valley Coalition and a group of individuals have argued that the project jeopardizes prime farmland, creek banks, wetlands and wildlife. It would sit on 1,400 acres of land between Hidden Springs and the Shadow Valley Golf Course.
In May, opponents submitted a petition to the Ada County Clerk’s Office. The petition seeks a public vote on an ordinance passed in February by Ada County commissioners that changed land use designations and permitted uses affecting the proposed project.
County Clerk Christopher Rich rejected the petition, saying it was untimely because it was not submitted within 30 days of final publication of the ordinance. The Dry Creek Valley Coalition took the matter to 4th District Court, claiming state law provides that such a petition shall be filed “not less than 30 days” after the final publication.
In a separate court action, Boise Hunter Homes, the developer of the project, claims that because the ordinance in question only applies to its development, passage was considered a quasi-judicial action instead of a legislative act.
For that reason, the referendum petition, which can be used to fight creation of new laws, isn’t valid, Hunter Homes argues.
Legislative decisions establish policies to follow, while quasi-judicial rulings are the application of those policies or laws.
Hunter Homes points to a 1986 Idaho Supreme Court decision that concluded another rezone by the commissioners of a specific property was quasi-judicial.
Opponents argue the ordinance affecting the Dry Creek project could also apply to other properties.
District Judge Jonathan Medema heard arguments from both sides on Tuesday and will decide whether to order Rich to accept the petition. He will also decide whether to consolidate the two court actions into a single case.
No timeline has been given on when Medema will issue his opinion, nor on whether he will schedule an additional hearing.