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Cougar Island will not get Critical Area of Concern designation after commission denial

The Valley County Board of Commissioners did not ratify McCall’s resolution to mark Cougar Island as an Area of Critical Concern. 

Cougar Island is a 14.21-acre island in Payette Lake that the Idaho Department of Lands plans to auction to the highest bidder. The City of McCall was hoping to designate the island as an Area of Critical Concern with the goal of stopping development on the land. However, the commission said they would not vote to approve this. 

“I don’t think this is a wise decision on the county’s part to take on the liability of an impact of this high on property values, even though I’m bummed Cougar Island, it’s going to be developed and sold,” Chairman Elting Hasbrouck said. “To me, it’s no different than any other piece of ground around McCall Lake whether it’s Eastside Drive or Warren Wagon, it’s just a piece of property with a lake around it and I cannot support designating it as a Critical Area of Concern because I think that will affect the auction values and could lead to liability issues from the state.”

Commissioner Sherry Maupin expressed concern with the designation when there is already a piece of property on the island. 

“In my estimation, that plat goes with the ground. And it’s just the same as if you subdivided your property. That plat would go with the ground. I don’t see how we designate that as an Area of Critical Concern that there’s already a plot on it,” Maupin said. “So I am in disagreement on that stand. I do think that this is within the area of city impact, which we are currently looking at, and trying to work through the concerns that we have there and the fact that you know, needs to be updated every 10 years and hasn’t been at this moment in time.”

Commissioners also discussed the idea of someone litigating the issue and how that may set a precedent for future development of other lands within the county.

The commission will send a note back to McCall City Council with information regarding their decision.

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Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Meridian and McCall. Contact her at [email protected].

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