BURLEY — The Burley City Council unanimously agreed Feb. 20 to postpone a meeting to discuss ordinance changes that would pave the way for the city’s use of eminent domain laws after citizens complained there was not enough notice given for the meeting.
The item will be taken up during the Council’s next business meeting at 7 p.m. on March 6 at the Burley City Council Chambers.
The city’s planning and zoning commission decided not to give a recommendation in January for the city council to proceed with language changes that would modify the city code and allow city officials to use the eminent domain laws.
Tuesday’s agenda item was regarding the Council’s action on the planning and zoning’s recommendation.
City Attorney David Shirley said the March 6 meeting will not be a public hearing but rather a business item where the Council will deliberate on possible action and no public testimony will be heard.
“We want to make sure those who want to listen can listen,” Shirley said.
The City Council discussed whether the item should be discussed during a regular meeting or special meeting and whether a larger venue might be needed if more people attended.
Councilman Russ Mallory said he preferred to hold a special meeting, but Councilman Anderson said it would be harder to advertise as a special meeting and people are more familiar with the schedule of council meetings.
During the planning and zoning meeting residents and business owners packed the council chambers to argue against the changes including an attorney for a North Burley business who said the city wanted the changes to pursue the use of eminent domain in court so the city can build an access road partially on the business’s property.
Franklin Building Supply Attorney Sam Diddle said during the January meeting that an eminent domain lawsuit filed against the company by the city was dismissed after he requested a copy of the city ordinances.
He said ordinance amendments would make it easier for the city to take the company’s property for a road on the east side of its building that would connect Third Street North with the Walmart parking lot.
City officials have said Franklin originally wanted the road too, which has been in the planning stages for years. The access road would allow more traffic to use North Third Street to turn left at a stoplight at the Overland Avenue intersection.
Diddle said the Franklin employee who was originally involved in the discussion did not have authorization to make such a deal.