Canyon County

Canyon commissioners appeal decision to deny jail-expansion permit

Canyon County Commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to appeal the Caldwell planning commission's decision not to approve the permit needed for the county to expand its jail near downtown Caldwell.

The vote split along familiar lines concerning the jail issue. Commissioners Steve Rule and Craig Hanson, who favor expanding the existing jail, voted to appeal, while Commissioner Tom Dale, who opposes their plan, voted against the appeal.

The Caldwell City Council is expected to hear the county's appeal in early October. The planning and zoning board voted against the permit Aug. 9.

Canyon County Clerk Chris Yamamoto said Tuesday that even if the City Council overturns planners' decision, the commission majority is going to run out of time to start construction on the project.

City Council approval of the permit would almost certainly be appealed, Yamamoto said, and Commissioner Hanson will leave office in January, flipping the majority viewpoint on the jail issue. Pam White, who defeated Hanson in the May primary, has agreed with Dale, Yamamoto and County Sheriff Kieran Donahue that expanding the existing jail is the wrong way to address the county's jail needs.

Plans for the expansion are expected to be a prominent part of Wednesday's public hearing for the county's fiscal 2017 budget. The hearing is set for 5 p.m. at the county administration building across from the courthouse on Albany Street in Caldwell.