Southwest Idaho agriculture group sues Canyon Co.

Published online: Sep 02, 2013
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BOISE, Idaho (AP)-A southwest Idaho group has filed a lawsuit against Canyon County to prevent officials from changing land zoned for agriculture to non-agricultural use.

The Idaho Statesman reports ( that the Coalition for Agriculture's Future filed the lawsuit Aug. 12 asking a judge to restrain Canyon County officials.

The Meridian-based group also contends that all county land-use decision and zoning ordinance changes since May 2011 are invalid because the county failed to follow state law when adopting its updated comprehensive plan.

"Agricultural lands in Canyon County are being lost to residential development without consideration of Canyon County's stated goal to preserve and protect agricultural lands," the lawsuit says.

Canyon County Deputy Prosecutor Zach Wesley said the county doesn't comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit contends that when the county created its plan to guide land use through 2020, it had no agricultural component. The lawsuit says that when the county amended the document a few months later, no map was attached.

The lawsuit doesn't name any specific county actions. However, in May the group voiced its concerns about a county plan to move the Canyon County Fairgrounds from within the Caldwell city limits to an 80-acre stretch of farmland north of Nampa.

The coalition said the "commercial nature" of the plan wouldn't be compatible with surrounding land use.

The coalition formed about four years ago out of concern farmland was being lost to urban growth. Crookham Co. President George Crookham heads the coalition, which includes several other large Treasure Valley seed companies.

Other members include the Canyon County Farm Bureau, the Idaho Crop Improvement Association, J.R. Simplot Co., Atlas Products, financial groups and dairy, mint, and seed industry associations.