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Greater Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan
A Guide For Development

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PLANNING AND ZONING COMMITTEE Ron Frazell, Chairman Linda Fox, Vice Chairman Tom Newman, Member Tony Chioda, Member Dick Clayton, Member Dean Philbrick, Member Jim Osterhout, Member Mike Sandberg, Member Linda Sargent, Member Pauline Scholes, Member Judy Tweedy, Member

Additional individuals that have served as committee members: Ron Peterson, Patricia Gardener, Terry Kimbro, Tom Walsh, & Patti Cantral


drift boat fishermen South Fork of Snake RiverCommunity planning in America began during colonial times when it became necessary to provide public services such as streets, public buildings, and plans for cities and towns as the nation grew. Over time, legal standards were adopted for fair and equitable development and use of the land in public and private sectors of our society. By the early 1800ês, planning standards had been developed for large cities including the new national capital of Washington, D.C. The capital plan set general standards for development which are still used today. During the early 1900ês, concepts of planning and zoning for areas beyond the cities were established through the adoption of a body of land use laws at the national, state, and local levels of government.

This body of law is not without controversy and has been and continues to be tested in the courts of the nation. For example, it is acknowledged that private land cannot be taken for the public good without just compensation. The issue of what constitutes –just” has not been defined, consequently, this and other issues continue to be defined by our legislatures and the courts. The body of land use law has become the basis for the government to regulate the use of private property through the policing powers of the federal, state and local governments. This body of law, although it has grown, has not lost its central focus, which is limited to –the use of the land”. What constitutes the proper use of land for the benefit of the public and private sectors is the question that has to be determined in each case that comes before the various legislatures and courts of the nation.

Backpackers Palisades LakeMost state governments delegate land use decision-making powers to the local levels of government. The cities and counties of Idaho have been delegated this power with certain restrictions. Legislation authorizing counties and communities to establish separate planning and zoning commissions, develop comprehensive plans and establish ordinances was passed by the Idaho Legislature in the 1950ês. This legislation was subsequently repealed and replaced by the Local Planning Act of 1975 that is currently set forth in chapter 65, title 67, of the Idaho Code. This act differs from the original legislation in that it mandates all cities and counties provide a planning and zoning program and process for its citizens. The Local Planning Act of 1975 as amended, therefore, becomes the basis of the Cities statutory authority to regulate land uses. It mandates that a comprehensive plan be written and amended as necessary. It further mandates that the policies and objectives of the plan be implemented into the ordinances of Irwin and Swan Valley as the legal basis for decision making by both City Councils. These mandates require the establishment of processes through which growth and development of land will be done in an orderly, legal and fair manner for all citizens concerned.

The Greater Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan is a guide for development of the growth within the cities of Irwin and Swan Valley. It may be considered for amendment as required by statue or by application of any resident of the county at any time. The process is covered by Idaho Code title 67, chapter 6509 of the Local Land Use Act. The plan establishes policy goals that guide development and permitting processes. The writing of the plan is the statutory responsibility of the Planning and Zoning Commission. It is not a statute or ordinance but a guideline for the residents of the two cities. From the guidelines and goals of the plan, come the direction for amending the Cities ordinances that are the legal basis for controlling growth and development within the two cities. These ordinances, in addition to the federal and state codes, become the basis and standards for making decisions with regard to land use in Irwin and Swan Valley.

Upper Palisades Lake swimmerThe comprehensive plan presented in this document is comprised of several chapters that provide the public with information and guidelines for future development of Irwin and Swan Valley. Chapters 1 through 3 introduce the plan and provide an explanation of the purpose of the plan and the planning processes required by law to adopt and implement it. In chapter 4, a short narrative of historical perspective about the county is provided. The central core of the comprehensive plan is located in chapters 5 through 16. In these chapters is found the analysis of the planning components which provides the basis for the policy statements concerning each component. Implementation actions are then recommended for each policy statement as required by the state code.

The implementation actions provide the basis for the beginning of the second mandated step of the comprehensive plan process. The policy statements and recommendations of the plan, once adopted, must be drafted into the existing ordinances by amending the ordinances. In some cases, new ordinances may be required. Once adopted by the governing bodies the ordinances then become the standards by which decisions are made. As applications from residents are reviewed for compliance with the ordinances, it may be necessary to amend the comprehensive plan or the ordinances due to unforeseen issues not covered by either document. What should be clearly apparent to those governed by these documents is that they are not static but actually living documents that need constant and continuing review in order to protect the health and safety of the public and promote the general welfare to secure the blessings of liberty for present and future generations.


waterfall Swan Valley IdahoThe purpose for having a comprehensive plan begins with the desire of the people to provide for the fair and equitable use of the lands in the county. Under the provisions of the United States Constitution and the Idaho Constitution, power has been delegated to the county to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people with regard to land use both public and private as follows:

• To protect property rights while making accommodations for other necessary types of development such as low-cost housing and mobile home parks. • To ensure that adequate public facilities and services are provided to the people at reasonable cost. • To ensure that the economy of the state and localities is protected. • To ensure that the important environmental features of the state and localities are protected. • To encourage the protection of prime agricultural, forestry, and mining lands for production of food, fibre, and minerals. • To encourage urban and urban-type development within incorporated cities. • To avoid undue concentration of population and overcrowding of land. • To ensure that the development on land is commensurate with the physical characteristics of the land • To protect life and property in areas subject to natural hazards and disasters. • To protect fish, wildlife, and recreation resources • To avoid undue water and air pollution • To allow local school districts to participate in the community planning and development process so as to address public school needs and impacts on an ongoing basis.

The above list of purposes becomes the guideline that has been followed by Irwin and Swan Valley in establishing this comprehensive plan. Required future ordinances, amendments and additions shall also be written and adopted in accordance with these purposes and guidelines.


The planning process for the comprehensive plan is mandated in Local Land Use Act chapter 65, of title 67, of the Idaho code. Section 67-6508 states: –It shall be the duty of the . . . planning and zoning commission to conduct a comprehensive planning process designed to prepare, implement, and review and update a comprehensive plan, hereafter referred to as the plan. The plan shall include all the land within the jurisdiction of the governing board. The plan shall consider previous and existing conditions, trends, desirable goals and objectives or desirable future situations for each planning component. The plan with maps, charts, and reports shall be based on the following components as they may apply to land use regulations and actions unless the plan specifies reasons why a particular component is unneeded.”

Section 67-6508 then lists the following planning components with definitions that shall be addressed:

  • Property Rights ® An analysis of provisions which may be necessary to insure that land policies, restrictions, conditions, and fees do not violate private property rights, adversely impact property values, or create unnecessary technical limitations on the use of property and analysis as prescribed under the declarations of purpose in chapter 80, title 67, Idaho Code.
  • Population ® A population analysis of past, present, and future trends in population including such characteristics as total population, age, sex, and income.
  • School Facilities and Transportation ® An analysis of public school capacity and transportation considerations associated with future development.
  • Economic Development ® An analysis of the economic base of the area including employment, industries, economies, jobs, and income levels.
  • Land Use ® An analysis of natural land types, existing land covers and uses, the intrinsic suitability of lands for uses such as agriculture, forestry, mineral exploration and extraction, preservation, recreation, housing, commerce, industry, and public facilities. A map shall be prepared indicating suitable projected land uses for the jurisdiction.
  • Natural Resource ® An analysis of the uses of rivers and other waters, forests, range, soils, harbors, fisheries, wildlife, minerals, thermal waters, beaches, watersheds, and shorelines.
  • Hazardous Areas ® An analysis of known hazards as may result from susceptibility to surface ruptures from faulting, ground shaking, ground failure, landslides or mudslides; avalanche hazards resulting from development in the known or probable path of snowslides and avalanches, and flood plain hazards.
  • Public Services, Facilities, and Utilities ® An analysis showing general plans for sewage, drainage, power plant sites, utility transmission corridors, water supply, fire stations and fire fighting equipment, health and welfare facilities, libraries, solid waste disposal sites, schools, public safety facilities and related services. The plan may also show locations of civic centers and public buildings.
  • Transportation ® An analysis, prepared in coordination with the local jurisdiction (s) having authority over the public highways and streets, showing the general locations and widths of a system or major traffic thoroughfares and other traffic ways, and of streets and the recommended treatment thereof. This component may also make recommendations on building line setbacks, control of access, street naming and numbering, and a proposed system of public or other transit lines and related facilities including rights-of-way, terminals, future corridors, viaducts and grade separations. The component may also include port, harbor, aviation, and other related transportation facilities.
  • Recreation ® An analysis showing a system of recreation areas, including parks, parkways, trail ways, riverbank greenbelts, beaches, playgrounds, and other recreation areas and programs.
  • Special Areas or Sites ® An analysis of areas, sites, or structures of historical, archeological, architectural, ecological, wildlife or scenic significance.
  • Housing ® An analysis of housing conditions and needs; plans for improvement of housing standards; and plans for the provision of safe, sanitary, and adequate housing, including the provision for low-cost conventional housing, the siting of manufactured housing and mobile homes in subdivisions and parks and on individual lots which are sufficient to address the needs of the community.
  • Community Design ® An analysis of needs for governing landscaping, building design, tree planting, signs, and suggested patterns and standards for community design, development and beautification.
  • Implementation ® An analysis to determine actions, programs, budgets, ordinances, or other methods including scheduling of public expenditures to provide for the timely execution of the various components of the plan.

Nothing herein shall preclude the consideration of additional planning components or subject matter.

After considering the above requirements, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Cities of Irwin and Swan Valley was presented to each city for approval. After approval of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Joint Planning and Zoning Commission was formed. Alist of concerned citizens who volunteered to serve as well as individuals recommended by both city councils was then presented to the Irwin City Council and the Swan Valley City Council for their approval.

The Joint Planning and Zoning Commission met on June 24, 2004. The bylaws for the Commission were presented and approved. Each member received the Memorandum of Understanding, the City of Irwinês Comprehensive Plan, and the City of Swan Valleyês Comprehensive Plan along with other materials necessary to begin a review. Individuals were assigned to analyze and write draft plans on specific components as outlined above in the state code. These drafts were presented to the Joint Planning and Zoning Commission for consensus.

After review of each component of the plan, a draft of the approved component was then taken to both the Irwin City Council and the Swan Valley City Council for their approval. Ammendments and corrections were brought before the Joint Planning and Zoning Commission if either city disapproved of yhe material presented. A revised draft was then presented to each City Council for their approval.

The draft plan will be made available to the public in hard copy and by email, by request. The commission will invite the public to three consecutive meetings for discussion and comment. After the public meetings the commission will review all comments and prepare any necessary changes to the draft document. This draft of the proposed comprehensive plan shall then be noticed for public hearing in accordance with the legal procedures outlined in the state code. The public hearing shall be held and public comment taken. The Commission will then deliberate and make any final corrections necessary to the plan as a result of the public hearing. From this deliberation a final draft shall be produced and forwarded to the City Councils of Irwin and Swan Valley with a recommendation for approval.

The City Councils of Irwin and Swan Valley will then review and act upon the recommendations of the Greater Swan Valley Planning and Zoning Commission. They shall decide to use one of the following options in making their decision: a. The City Councils can schedule a public hearing (s) to approve, deny, or remand the plan back to the commission as required by Idaho Code. Their decision shall be in writing with reasoning supported by factual basis for their decision. b. The City Councils can schedule a public hearing (s) to collect additional comments from the public and then proceed to option a. Again their decision shall be in writing with reasoning supported by factual basis for their decision.

There will be several schedules put forth to the public to keep them advised as to how the review process is proceeding. Since most comprehensive plans take between 2 and 4 years to complete, it is the goal of the Commission to have the process completed and a revised joint comprehensive plan approved by the end of 2006.


The purpose of this short chapter is to review how planning has been done to date in the Swan Valley area. Prior to the passage of the Local Land Use Planning act of 1975, planning was sporadically done in Idaho. Although legislation was in the code to support planning, it was very general. Little guidance was provided to the local governments other than requirements to file a plat of survey for a development. As the state began to grow in the 1970ês, it became obvious that more planning needed to be done. This need was driven by the urbanization of counties like Ada and Kootenai and their neighboring counties.

The legislature adopted the current land use act chapter 65, title 67 of the Idaho Code as amended and with its passage all counties and cities began the process of writing a comprehensive plan. The process was started and stopped several times before a plan was completed. Swan Valley completed their plan on September 18, 1977. It was very brief and has not been changed since that date. Swan Valley also wrote a zoning and subdivision ordinance (Ordinance #12) with several amendments made over the years, the last one being done in April, 1998.

Irwin completed its first comprehensive plan in June, 1976. Because of increased activity in the area, Irwin officials decided to participate in a series of community information meetings and hearings conducted by the Bonneville County Planning Commission beginning in the spring of 1989. The city of Irwin hired a consulting planner, Lee Nellis, to prepare a modified version of the Bonneville County plan and draft a development code in November, 1991. Ultimately, the city of Irwin decided to use Bonneville Countyês Comprehensive Plan as the basis for its new plan, but the Countyês Plan was not completed until 1995. Finally after review by the City Council, the new plan and the accompanying Development Code was taken to public hearing in May, 1998 and adopted on August 4, 1998.

Both comprehensive plans of the cities have worked moderately well over the years, but because of recent growth in the area and the sharp decline in agriculture, it is necessary to review the current plans for revision. Since the Swan Valley area is relatively small, any growth at all will make significant changes to the landscape and impact the land uses. The current comprehensive plans of the cities often conflict with one another as well as conflicting with the Bonneville County Comprehensive Plan. For this reason the City Council of Irwin and Swan Valley have decided to work together to produce one document to serve the areaês needs. It is clear that because of changes in technology, transportation and demographics, there will be more changes to this plan in the future. Any change in the current plans will necessitate a review of the existing ordinances and amendments will need to be made to conform to the new plan. This process should be an on going and continual effort to make sure the needs of the community are met and the vision for this areaês future are fully considered.


An analysis of provisions which may be necessary to ensure that land use policies, restrictions, conditions, and fees do not violate private property rights, adversely impact property values or create unnecessary technical limitations on the use of property and analysis as prescribed under declarations of purpose in Chapter 80, Title 67, Idaho Code. Private property rights are a fundamentally important concept to the citizens of the United States and are legally protected as such. It is the intent of the Greater Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan to assist –the Regionês” (meaning the cities of Swan Valley and Irwin, the unincorporated area of Palisades and all areas of Bonneville County that are within the cities impact areas) residents in finding the resources to know what their rights are and how to protect them. It is also the purpose of the plan to guide the governing officials to make decisions that are fair to all landowners in the Region. All attempts shall be made to ensure that the rights of one group shall not be sacrificed for the benefit of another.

POLICY GOALS: A list of policy goals that provide a vision with regard to property rights as outlined above.

Policy 1: The Greater Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan acknowledges private property rights are protected under the 5th and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution and Sections 13 & 14 of Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Idaho.

Policy 2: The Greater Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan acknowledges the right and responsibility of the Region to reasonably regulate land use.

Policy 3: The land use ordinances and action of the Region, including the policies, restrictions, conditions and fees, shall not violate private property rights, shall minimize adverse impact on property values and minimize technical limitation on the use of property consistent with state and federal constitution and statutory law. Implementation is implicit in and mandated by state and federal law.

Policy 4: Any aggrieved real property owner may petition the County Commissioners or the respective City Councils pursuant to Chapter 80, Title 67, of the Idaho Code as presently constituted or herein after amended. (See Idaho Regulatory Taking Guideline, Attorney General)

IMPLEMENTATION: An analysis and list of implementations objectives to determine actions, programs, budgets, ordinances, or other methods including scheduling of public expenditures to provide for the timely execution of the various components of the plan.

Implementation 1: Any aggrieved real property owner may petition the County Commissioners or the respective City Councils pursuant to Chapter 80, Title 67, of the Idaho Code as presently constituted or herein after amended. (See Idaho Regulatory Taking Guideline, Attorney General)


A population analysis of past, present and future trends in population including such characteristics as year-round population and peak population. There are no useful trend data on the population of the Greater Swan Valley Region (–The Region”). There is a Swan Valley County Census Division, but it covers all of eastern Bonneville County. There are population figures for the cities of Irwin and Swan Valley. The 1980 population of the two Cities was 248: 46% lower than the 1970 figure and 54% less that in 1960. The 1990 count for Irwin and Swan Valley was 249, which suggests that the areaês year-round population has stabilized. The 2000 U.S. Census shows that Swan Valley has an estimated population of 213; Irwin has an estimated population of 125; and, Palisades has an estimated population of 68. The household count in 2003 was 255 and the household projection for 2008 is 267, a change of 5%. The trend in the two cities may not be duplicated in the surrounding unincorporated areas as there are no current data. In any case, the importance of year-round population figures is diminished by the seasonal, recreations nature of the Regionês economy. Land use and facilities planning for the Region should be based on the estimated population during the recreational season. PEAK POPULATION: The peak population of the Region may be estimated by adding the residents of its second homes and the visitors accommodated at local recreational vehicle parks, campgrounds and motels, to the year-round population. The 1990 2000 Census identified 429 second homes in the Region. If each second home houses an average household of 2.95 persons during peak season, 429 second homes would accommodate a peak population of about 1,260. A conservative estimate of the peak season population of the Swan Valley Planning Area is approximately 3,600. The private sector recreational vehicle parks, motels, and youth camps add to the potential peak population, but no accurate estimate of their capacity is available. The booming resort economy of the neighboring counties in Idaho and Wyoming, the continuing growth of the Idaho Falls urban area, the increasing national fame to the South Fork as a fishery and scenic waterway, and recent investment in resort facilities have resulted in the –discovery” of the attractions of the Region. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, the population in the valley often swells to over 4,000. It is virtually impossible to make accurate projections of population growth or economic activity in a small sub-county area with a recreation-based economy.


[The following is taken from the Idaho Web Site, U.S. Census Bureau report] Historical Populations by City:

  Irwin Swan Valley
1950 147 203
1960 330 217
1970 228 235
1980 113 135
1990 108 141
2000 157 213
Housing Data Irwin Swan Valley
Total Housing Units 125 117
Occupied Housing Units 71 79
Vacant Housing Units 54 38
For Seasonal, Rec., or Occ. Use 50 29
Home-owner Vacancy Rate (%) 3.0 1.5
Rental Vacancy Rate (%) 0.0 7.7
Occupied Housing Units 71 79
Owner Occupied Housing Units 64 67
Renter Occupied Housing Units 7 12
Avg. HH Size of Owner Occupied Units 2.31 2.67
Avg. HH Size of Renter Occupied Units 1.29 2.831



Idaho Statutes 67-6508 Paragraph (C) defines this chapter as, –An analysis of the public school capacity and transportation considerations associated with future development.” Student population: Evidence shows that the population in the valley is growing, but most of that growth is from people that have retired or at least have raised their families and are not bringing many student age children to the valley. We think it is predictable that there will be some moderate growth in student age children as more families move into the Swan Valley and Irwin area, but we feel confident that our present staff and facilities will be adequate for the next three to five years. Transportation: We presently maintain a fleet of our buses for student transportation. We maintain one bus as a backup and three are used for the existing routes, which include two local routes that pick up and deliver home the students at Swan Valley Elementary School. The third bus picks up and delivers the high school students from the valley to Ririe and Idaho Falls high schools. Issues of concern: As growth occurs the demand for service in the subdivisions will predictably increase. We must provide the safest possible transfer of students. That may limit the amount and type of service that is provided for developments, especially those located in areas with steep grades and tight corners. Maintenance and snow removal are also concerns that effect service to non-county roads. The present policy evaluates each request for service on an established set of criteria. It is critical that part of the planning and zoning evaluation address anticipated accesses and services that may be expected by new people that move to the area. Facilities: The present facilities are adequate but in need of continuous upkeep and maintenance. The majority of the school was constructed in the 1950ês, which makes the structure about fifty years old. The one area of expansion that needs addressing would be to increase the size and function of the gymnasium. There is a need for spectator seating and a stage area, which would require additional construction of the existing facility.

POLICY GOALS: A list of policy goals that provide a vision with regard to school facilities and transportation as outlined above.

Policy 1: Planning decisions and efforts must emphasize providing infrastructure and services to the growing population and provide means for growth to pay its way.

Policy 2: Assure adequate school facilities for a growing student population.

Policy 3: Encourage school facilities be available to use for civic and recreational purposes.

IMPLEMENTATION GOALS: An analysis and list of implementation objectives to determine actions, programs, budgets, ordinances, or other methods including scheduling of public expenditures to provide for the timely execution of the various components of the plan.

Implementation 1: Planning efforts should recognize that the school district may have to accommodate an enrollment increase in the next five years.

Implementation 2: Planning and zoning commission shall monitor new developments for compliance to policies regarding road design, maintenance, turning radius, etc. to allow for school bus service.

Implementation 3: The school district should cooperate with and help establish multi-use programs whereby civic and recreational opportunities are available to residents of the Valley.


The Swan Valley planning area is a small rural community composed of the cities of Irwin and Swan Valley. The powerful attraction of the scenic backdrop and recreational opportunities offered by the national forests lands of the Snake River Range, the Caribou Mountains, Palisades Reservoir, and by the South Fork of the Snake River set the stage for major changes in the local landscape and lifestyle. There are five major sources of income and employment in the Swan Valley area: agriculture, outdoor recreation, tourism, government employment (e.g., Bureau of Reclamation, Forest Service and State of Idaho Highway Department.) and retirement. The cities currently do not levy any taxes or provide any municipal services. Homes and businesses use individual wells and on-site sewage disposal systems. Household refuse and solid waste can be deposited at the disposal site near Irwin where it is then transferred to the county landfill near Idaho Falls. Road maintenance is provided by the Idaho Transportation Department for U.S. Highway 26 and 31, and Bonneville County maintains most main roads within the valley. Volunteers of the Swan Valley Fire Protection District provide fire protection and ambulance service, both based in Emergency Services buildings in Irwin and Swan Valley. Law enforcement is provided by the county sheriffês office with officers stationed at the Swan Valley Emergency Services building. Public education is provided by Swan Valley School District #92, which operates a school in Irwin with kindergarten through eighth grade. Local high school students are bussed to Idaho Falls and Ririe. In order to maintain the unique rural character of the Valley, its growth must be managed.


Policy 1: It is the intent of the Comprehensive Plan to encourage moderate / sustainable growth, provided it is accomplished under proper guidance and control and located in appropriate districts within the Valley as directed by the Planês land use policies.

Policy 2: One of the Valleyês prime economic values is the attraction of a rural, small town lifestyle, magnificent views, clean air and water, and an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Development and land use proposals that threaten or impair these values will be prohibited. Zoning, building codes and other forms of regulation will support desirable commerce and land use.

Policy 3: Establish business retention activities that seek to aid and grow our existing local businesses. Encourage recruitment of those outside businesses whose philosophies, goals and objectives dovetail not only the parameters of the Greater Swan Valley Planning and Zoning Plan, but also impact positively the existing local businesses, the local population and, most of all, our local natural environment.

Policy 4: Support projects that promote or improve the quality of life for residents such as bike paths, community center and cultural opportunities.

Policy 5: Establish an analysis of our current and future infrastructure needs such as sewer and water systems and research funding mechanisms to adequately address our future needs.

Policy 6: In the interest of scenic and character preservation, standards should be set for new construction that ensures that our unique rural character is preserved.

Policy 7: Develop a sense of pride in the community by encouraging beautification projects such as tree planting and clean-up projects.


Implementation 1: Open space and rural atmosphere are considered to be of economic importance to the valley. Agriculture is an integral part of this valleyês history and is the principal contributor of the open spaces that make up its scenic landscape. This plan recognizes the need to protect farm operations from adverse impacts of residential development while still providing landowners with some flexibility in the disposition of their property. Strategies that address these issues will be discussed within the plans Land Use section.

Implementation 2: Encourage commercial and home businesses, providing they comply with State and local ordinances and any subdivision restrictions that apply to the location. All commercial development, except home occupations, shall be confined to designated commercial nodes.

Implementation 3: Develop tools to market the area for its recreational and scenic beauty while capitalizing on the tourism opportunities of the surrounding area.

Implementation 4: In the interest of character preservation, chain businesses and other developments will design buildings and other facilities that blend with the unique, rural setting.

Implementation 5: All jurisdictions should adopt similar comprehensive plans for the Swan Valley planning area since it offers the best chance of assuring that their planning goals are realized.

Implementation 6: Explore ideas that will provide more cultural opportunities, possibly by collaborating with neighboring communities, that have learning centers and cultural activities that could be available from time to time or by on-line technologies.

Implementation 7: Establish a committee to develop short and long-term goals for addressing infrastructure needs such as sewer and water systems and make recommendations to the cities of potential issues and possible funding sources.

Implementation 8: Establish a Gem Community Team that will be responsible for developing and implementing economic and community development projects and applying for relevant grant programs, as necessary, to sustain the communities economic and development efforts.

Swan Valley Panorama


ANALYSIS: An analysis of natural land types, existing land covers, and uses, and the intrinsic suitability of land for uses such as agriculture, housing, commerce, industry, and public facilities. The Comprehensive Plan Map indicates suitable projected land uses for the jurisdiction. Some of the primary features of our community that appeal to tourists and those purchasing second homes are the beautiful mountain views and the abundant wildlife. In order to preserve these features and given the valleyês heritage of agriculture, open lands, and scenic resources, it is vital to the Swan Valley areaês economic well being to preserve open space. Open space may be characterized as significant tracts of land not under residential, commercial, or industrial use. It may be in productive uses including agriculture or low-impact recreational amenities such as greenbelt pathways, ball fields, and golf courses, or it may include sensitive environmental areas such as wetlands, riparian areas, steep hillsides, and wildlife corridors. In order to protect the valleyês water resources, it is necessary to preserve opportunities for groundwater recharge and safeguard the communityês water resources specifically the Snake River & Swan Valley area wetlands and riparian areas. Since wetlands have been shown to cleanse polluted waters, protecting wetlands provides for natural surface water purification areas. Most of the valleyês residents rely on ground water for their culinary water supply. If ground water quality is not protected, the county and its residents will need to build and maintain expensive water purification and distribution systems. It is desirable to cluster homes in new developments on small 2.5 acre lots, and maintain substantial tracts of open space. Growth that is accommodated in an orderly, well-planned fashion increases the strength of the local economy by providing new jobs while limiting impacts that would harm vital components of the existing economy, such as the recreation, home building, and tourism industries. Zoning is based upon the premise that communities are best served by separating different types of land uses. This is most important for those uses with the highest impacts in terms of noise, traffic, odor, and other consequences. It is desirable to separate areas of industrial and commercial uses from areas with residential uses when possible. A prudent review of new commercial and industrial uses is necessary as some industries are inappropriate in the Swan Valley Planning area because of their potential to cause air, water, or noise pollution. A commercial use is an occupation, employment, or enterprise that is carried on to facilitate an exchange of goods, services or ideas. An industrial use is a commercial use that is generally related to manufacturing or that has more substantial impactsãfrom noise, traffic, or aerial emissionsãthan a retail commercial use. Commercial and industrial businesses often have more significant public service requirements than other types of development. Locating these businesses in appropriate areas will help facilitate efficient provision of services. Often, the most significant impact of a commercial or industrial enterprise relates to traffic. Accommodating these uses in areas with appropriate traffic control and roadways that can accommodate the weight and volume of industrial transportation will help protect public safety and promote efficient traffic movement.

Policy Goals:

Policy 1: Encourage the most appropriate use of land through the Swan Valley Planning area.

Policy 2: Encourage innovative, quality site design, architecture and landscaping.

Policy 3: Encourage new developments to relate to Swan Valley / Irwin historic development pattern.

Policy 4: Promote compact, well-defined, sustainable neighborhoods that enhance the Swan Valley Planning areaês character.

Policy 5: Create livable neighborhoods that foster a sense of community and reduce dependency on private vehicles.

Policy 6: Encourage the proper arrangement of streets in relation to existing and planned streets and ensure that they facilitate safe, efficient and pleasant walking, biking and driving.

Policy 7: Provide a variety of lot sizes and housing types.

Policy 8: Protect sensitive natural and historic areas, as well as the areaês environmental quality.

Policy 9: Integrate a high quality natural environment into the developed portions of the community through landscaping.

Policy 10: Facilitate the adequate and efficient planning of all public services such as transportation, water, sewage, schools, parks, and other public requirements.

Policy 11: Provide protection from geologic, flood and fire hazards.

Policy 12: Promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the Swan Valley / Irwin residents.


Implementation 1: Establish a zoning ordinance that provides for due and careful consideration to such factors of as suitability of land for particular use and the need to preserve the value of land and buildings and to encourage the most appropriate use of land within the Swan Valley Planning Area.

Implementation 2: Establish a variety of zones and a zoning map to implement the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.

Implementation 3: Amend current subdivision ordinances and other applicable ordinances so that natural, scenic and agricultural/residential conflicts are minimized.

Implementation 4: Encourage property owners to enhance the scenic corridor to demonstrate pride of ownership and clean up and fix up their properties. Administratively activate the nuisance ordinance and enforce it.

Implementation 5: Provide for creative open space ownership mechanisms and encourage responsible open space management and maintenance.

Implementation 6: Require that all developments provide for open space along the scenic corridor of Swan Valley and Irwin that is adjacent to the highway through the use of landscaping and that the development be mostly shielded from view from the highway.

Implementation 7: New development must be compatible with and not fundamentally change the character of the area.

Implementation 8: Establish reasonable ordinances that ensure the night sky can be viewed by citizens without the interference of unnecessary artificial light created by growth.

Implementation 9: Develop landscape design standards that encourages planting of trees and shrubs, etc. that enhance the natural features, drainage ways and environmental resources of the area.

mule deer sunset


waterfall fly-fisherman swan valley idahoThe Swan Valley planning areaês natural physical attributes, such as the Snake River, its streams, mountains, the sky and its wildlife, create a unique ambience. Its communities are integrally tied to the natural environment. Situated alongside the Snake River and at the base of the Targhee/Caribou National Forests and the Big Hole Mountains, natural resources are key to the economy, quality of life and community spirit of the valley. Swan Valley has had a long heritage of farming and ranching, however, agriculture is becoming less viable and much less profitable. The agricultural land does contribute heavily to the rural lifestyle, the conservation of open space, and fish and wildlife habitats, and are protected by Idahoês Right-to-Farm Regulations as enacted in the Idaho code at 22-4501 et seq. (1995). The Swan Valley areaês surface and ground water are natural resources that affect the use and sustainability of all other resources. The towns, communities, residential users, commercial and agricultural operations depend directly upon sufficient availability of clean water. Protection of ground water and surface waters found in streams, rivers, lakes and irrigation delivery channels is critical to the future welfare of the natural environment and of all agricultural, commercial, and residential endeavors. The Valley features broad areas of diverse and ecologically important wetlands, floodplains and riparian corridors. These areas are integral to protection of water quality, ground water recharge, pollutant buffering, erosion control, and nutrient cycling that support agricultural operations such as ranching and haying, and support fish and wildlife populations. Natural fish, wildlife and plant communities are abundant and diverse in the Swan Valley area and it is inherently important to conserve these resources to the extent possible. Noxious weeds are defined as any designated plant that has the potential to cause injury to public health, crops, livestock, land or other property. Noxious weeds need to be controlled. Extractable resources such as gravel and timber have been important resources for the area, but have not contributed substantially to the overall economic base of the area. It may be important that gravel sources are available in proximity to areas where gravel is needed. Provided that the gravel can be mined in compliance with the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan. These goals and policies are important to the safety and welfare of the surrounding lands, water, wildlife and communities. The Swan Valley area has many natural resources that do not fit into the other categories mentioned above and are less tangible. These include scenic open spaces, quiet communities, dark night skies, safe communities, and accessible public lands. These less material resources are valuable assets worthy of consideration and protection.


Policy 1: Protect the aesthetic values, wildlife and open space habitat and resources of the natural environment. Encourage incentives that work to conserve and protect open space and a rural sense of place recognizing that agriculture land contributes to a rural way of life that is valued by its residents.

Policy 2: Protect the areas surface and ground waters, wetlands and riparian areas through responsible development and explore ways to help landowners conserve important water resources.

Policy 3: It is important to conserve and protect plant, fish and wildlife habitats. The land provides vital habitat for many species of plants, fish and wildlife, some of which may be rare, sensitive, or threatened.

Policy 4: Conserve and protect aesthetic values including scenic open spaces, quiet and safe communities, dark night skies, and accessible public lands.

Policy 5: Ensure that noxious weeds are consistently and effectively eliminated in compliance with local and state regulations.

Policy 6: Responsible planning in the extraction of gravel and timely reclamation of gravel pits on private lands in Swan Valley is important and should be closely monitored. Gravel pits are currently not allowed on private lands within the Irwin city boundaries.


Implementation 1: Protect access to public lands by working closely with all agencies involved such as Forest Service, BLM, Idaho Fish and Game, and private land owners.

Implementation 2: Lessen interaction and interference with wildlife through education and awareness programs.

Implementation 3: Ensure the protection of wildlife migration and travel patterns through the development of migration easements or other means.

Implementation 4: Promote the use of native plants and natural landscaping in all new developments.

Implementation 5: Adopt ordinances on plant and weed control to ensure compliance with state regulations and guidelines. Make available a list of undesirable plants as defined by the State of Idaho department of agriculture.

Implementation 6: Protect the water quality in the aquifer. Provide guidance in water preservation techniques within the home, business and in the landscape. Development of an aquifer protection ordinance should be considered that would address such issues as: a.) conduct a study of a wellhead protection plan; b.) an analysis of potential groundwater impacts from a hazardous spill on a public or private roadway; c.) analysis for the use of gray water in irrigation; d.) conduct a study of private wells and septic systems to determine when the area should be required to provide public services.

Implementation 7: Formulate an ordinance to protect our valuable resource of dark skies.

Implementation 8: A local planning and zoning administrator is needed to conduct inspections on new construction and assess all water issues regarding surface and groundwater resources within the valley.


An analysis of known hazards as may result from susceptibility to surface ruptures from faulting, ground shaking, ground failure, landslides or mudslides, volcanic activity in Yellowstone National Park and floodplain hazards. Potentially hazardous conditions that may lead to human injury and property damage occur in parts of the Swan Valley area, and Bonneville County, and include: wildfire, earthquakes, landslides or mudslides, avalanches and floods. Increasingly private land is being developed within the Wild Land Urban Interface Area of Bonneville County, which is land adjacent to or within forested or brush covered wild lands that are in close proximity to the boundaries of both Irwin and Swan Valley. Natural and human caused wildfire is a growing concern because of the threat it poses to personal safety and private property. The potential hazard from wildfire in the Wild Land Urban Interface area is directly and dynamically influenced by a combination of fuels, topography, and weather. The Swan Valley planning area lies within a general area of known risk of earthquakes and ground shaking. The Swan Valley planning area has many areas where there is some probability of a flood during a high water event. These areas are flood plains. Designation of flood plains with an estimated flood probability is determined by qualified experts and through the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Development within such areas may create a risk to personal injury, death and property loss.

Policy Goals:

Policy 1: Encourage incentives to reduce the threat of wildfire to private property and human life within the Swan Valley area through appropriate regulations, standards, and procedures in planning ordinances and by encouraging cooperation between landowners in the Wild Land Urban Interface and federal and state agencies entrusted to protect the forest.

Policy 2: Encourage incentives and regulations that work to reduce the threat of personal injury, loss of life, and or damage to private property from flooding.

Implementation Goals:

Implementation 1: The Swan Valley Fire Protection District, Bonneville County, and other related agencies have adopted a wildfire mitigation plan. These regulations will be the implementation guide for wildfire prevention and management.

Implementation 2: Development within areas identified as hazardous areas should be carefully designed and regulated so as to minimize the potential for human injury, damage to personal property, and natural resource damage.

Implementation 3: Bonneville County has adopted Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) flood plain maps for administration of activities in floodplains. Encourage the education of landowners to the threats posed by flooding.

Implementation 4: Develop subdivision and zoning ordinances to address regulations and standards for areas with unstable slopes and landslide or avalanche hazards, and flooding hazards.


Idaho Statute 67-6508 paragraph (h) defines this chapter as, –An analysis showing general plans for sewage, drainage, power plant sites, utility transmission corridors, water supply, fire stations, and fire fighting equipment, health and welfare facilities, libraries, solid waste disposal sites, schools, public safety facilities and related services. The plan may also show locations of civic centers and public buildings.” The public services and utilities in the Swan Valley and Irwin area must grow in correlation with the increase in population to ensure that the publicês welfare is not compromised by outdated, over-worked or non-existent facilities. Currently, the city of Swan Valley has contributed to the construction of the Emergency Services building in Swan Valley and occupies an office within that building. The City of Irwin has no building facilities but uses the Irwin Fire Station to hold its monthly meetings. Both cities have public parks that are well maintained and landscaped. The Bonneville County Sheriffês office occupies half of the Emergency Services building in Swan Valley and staffs it with at least two officers at all times. Bonneville County operates a transfer station located in Swan Valley adjacent to the Irwin city border and is designed for household garbage and refuse. It has been enlarged to provide for disposal of landscape debris such as tree limbs and branches that will then be shredded and left for residential use for composting. The relatively high water table throughout the Valley prohibits the development of a landfill for the area. The maintenance of the current transfer station should be monitored to ensure it is providing the necessary needs of the residents. Ensuring clean, safe drinking water now and in the future is a serious responsibility. Both Cities and Bonneville County must ensure that development and population growth do not have a significant negative impact on the quality and quantity of domestic water. Changes in land use should be monitored to observe and protect the aquifer and the watershed of the Valley. Public utilities such as electric utilities, telephone and cell phone service must be expanded to accommodate the citizens. Whenever possible, all efforts should be made to ensure minimal impact on the environment, wildlife and scenery. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of the citizenry. The Cities and County should support the efforts of the Fire District to provide quality fire protection and emergency medical services. The Cities should also encourage the establishment of health care providers or clinics within the area.

POLICY GOALS: A list of policy goals that provide a vision with regard to public services, facilities, and utilities as outlined above.

Policy 1: Support quality emergency medical services and fire protection in the Valley to improve safety throughout the area.

Policy 2: Ensure that public utility expansion does not have a significant negative impact on the areaês scenic views or individual property rights.

Policy 3: The cities should encourage health care providers to become an integral part of available services for intermediate health care within the community.

Policy 4: Encourage continued study of domestic water systems in conjunction with the state departments and agencies that monitor them.

Policy 5: Investigate methods for disposing of solid waste such as recycling and alternative uses.

IMPLEMENTATION: An analysis and list of implementation goals to determine actions, programs, budgets, ordinances, or other methods including scheduling of public expenditures to provide for timely execution of the various components of the plan.

Implementation 1: Endorse Fire Districts plan to provide quality fire and EMS services throughout the Valley.

Implementation 2: New communication and distribution lines should be encouraged with broadband, DSL, and other services of the latest technology on an ongoing basis. Communication towers should be placed to minimize visual impacts.

Implementation 3: New electric utility and telephone services are encouraged to be provided to new developments and should be coordinated with utility providers long-term plans. The use of underground lines is encouraged and will be required within new developments. Substation expansion is encouraged to be confined to existing substation locations.

Implementation 4: Upgrade road signs and grid numbers at all residential home sites.

Implementation 5: Request that both Swan Valley and Irwin City Councilês begin collaborative efforts with Bonneville County to determine specific service needs of the Valley and to then establish a capital development and improvement plan including costs for infrastructure and services not covered by dedicated resources.

Implementation 6: Bonneville County and the cities of Irwin and Swan Valley should plan for handling the disposing of household, commercial and industrial waste by examining all alternatives for disposal including recycling and new technologies for biomass disposal.

Implementation 7: Provide incentives for new developments to provide central water systems for household and fire protection use. Plan these systems, where possible, in conjunction with other nearby developments and consolidate into a regional water supply and distribution system.

Implementation 8: Conduct a study of existing individual septic systems and evaluate other wastewater collection and treatment systems to determine future needs for the Valley.

Implementation 9: Conduct a study of health care needs of residents of the Valley in order to attract medical providers to establish a clinic or intermediate care facility in the area.


As residential development continues in the greater Swan Valley region, additional demands will be placed on the valleyês major roadways (Highways 26 and 31) that already serve as primary intrastate and interstate arteries for eastern Idaho and western Wyoming residents. In addition, these surfaces are heavily trafficked year-round and at all hours by commercial entities that utilize these roads to transport raw materials and products within and across state lines. Numerous seasonal outdoor recreation and adventure opportunities abound in this region and continue to draw more sportsmen, campers and tourists/vacationers, many of whom are either driving or towing oversized vehicles and/or trailers with off-road equipment. Traffic from these individuals, who provide a significant contribution to this regionês economy, also impacts other local Bonneville County roads as well as roadways controlled and maintained by the Bureau of Land and the U.S. Forest Service. Furthermore, the spawning of significant subdivision development in this region has and will continue to contribute additional traffic not only on the major arteries but also on what traditionally have been lesser-traveled roads, thus making the maintenance and expansion of county roadways a greater concern. Connectivity between subdivisions, building out roads to boundaries of subdivisions currently adjacent to undeveloped tracts of land and multiple entrances and exits are necessary to ease the burdens of ingress and egress not only for residential vehicles but also for emergency service vehicles. Data for 2004 provided by the Idaho Transportation Department for total traffic volume at the junction of Highway 26 and Highway 31 reveals an average daily count of 3,500 vehicles traveling west-bound on Hwy 26; 2,300 vehicles traveling east-bound on Hwy 26 and 1800 vehicles traveling north-bound on Hwy 31.

Additional information and updates can be obtained at\planning\reports\atr_wim.

POLICY GOALS: The following policy goals should provide a vision with regard to transportation as outlined above.

Policy 1: Greater Swan Valley region roads should be examined by certified officials to ensure that improvements and maintenance standards are current with Bonneville County regulations.

Policy 2: In light of the aforementioned increases in traffic, continued reviews of average daily traffic volume patterns, especially in –peak season” and on holiday 3-day weekends, at the junction of Highway 26 and Highway 31 are essential. The Idaho Transportation Department currently is in the process of redesigning the junction to a –T,” and additional plans are on the drawing board for further expansion at the intersection of Hwys 26 and 31 as well as the relocation of Rainey Creek Bridge just north of the intersection on Highway 31.

Policy 3: For community safety, health and welfare, Swan Valley and Irwin city officials should require more stringent enforcement of speed limits throughout the greater Swan Valley region.

Policy 4: All road improvements or road construction in the greater Swan Valley region should occur in compliance with all Bonneville County road dedication standards or private road development agreements, as well as with a consideration of projected traffic volume patterns.

Policy 5: As roads in the greater Swan Valley region are updated to meet the needs of a growing population and additional tourist and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, wherever terrain permits, view vistas and pullouts should be expanded and enhanced.

Policy 6: Swan Valley and Irwin city officials and the regionês Gem team as well as other interested entities should investigate funding opportunities for pedestrian and bike paths wherever feasible along current community roads. A design for construction of future roadways in the region definitely needs to take into consideration a plan to incorporate these pathways.

Policy 7: Swan Valley and Irwin city officials should promote and encourage a higher level of maintenance and a greater usage for the public of roads, trails and surfaces designated for recreational purposes throughout the greater Swan Valley region.

Policy 8: Swan Valley and Irwin city officials, through subdivision ordinances and other legal means, should require connectivity between all subdivisions and the building out of all roads within a subdivision to its boundaries in addition to encouraging multiple ingress and egress within subdivisions not only to ease the flow of traffic on the major arteries but also to provide easy access for emergency vehicle services as well as safe exit for residents in event of emergency.

IMPLEMENTATION: The following implementation objectives should assist in determining actions, programs, budgets, ordinances and other methods to provide for the timely execution of the various components of the plan.

Implementation 1: A representative, or representatives, of Swan Valley and Irwin city officials should visit periodically for review with a member of the Bonneville County Road and Bridge Department to ensure that current maintenance standards and road conditions, including those within areas of impact of the two cities, meet with Bonneville County regulations.

Implementation 2: The Greater Swan Valley Planning and Zoning Commission should provide an avenue of communication whereby local residents within the region can express issues or concerns with regard to roadways, trails and surfaces within the cities of Swan Valley and Irwin or the areas of impact in the region.

Implementation 3: Since the junction of Highway 26 and Highway 31 has been identified as an area of concern by the Idaho Transportation Department, lines of communication with its traffic engineer and its planning division staff should be maintained to ensure that the recommended roadway improvements at the intersection of the two highways are implemented in a timely and safe fashion.

Implementation 4: Seek support for more stringent enforcement from the Bonneville County Sheriffês Department and the Idaho State Police with regard to current speed limits throughout the greater Swan Valley region, especially on Highway 26.

Implementation 5: Standards for construction or reconstruction of roads in the greater Swan Valley region, at a minimum, should adhere to the Detailed Performance Standards for Road Construction of the City of Irwin until further review or reassessment.

Implementation 6: The existing scenic corridor throughout the greater Swan Valley region, where terrain permits, should be embellished with vista zones and pullouts. Exploration of funding opportunities should include applications for grants and communication of intent with ECIPDA and Grow Idaho, Inc. among other potential funding avenues. Additionally, designs for any construction or reconstruction of roadways in the greater Swan Valley region need to take into consideration such opportunities.

Implementation 7: Require a written road improvement and maintenance priority plan to be published on a regular basis. Said plan should include a broader use of blading and dust control to serve better developing areas. Where traffic patterns demand, paving and/or chip seal should be used.

Implementation 8: Encourage the development of multi-use pathways and/or pedestrian and bike pathways and the potential for grant procurement or private sources as a means of subsidizing construction costs.

Implementation 9: Support and encourage the research through county, state and federal agencies to reconstruct a bridge across the South Fork of the Snake River and to dedicate and maintain the Fall Creek( Snake River Road) for year-round public access.

Implementation 10: Encourage developments that are adjacent to or in the area of a planned pathway to participate in building a section or contributing to the costs of development and maintenance.

Implementation 11: A representative, or representatives, of Swan Valley and Irwin city officials should represent the outdoor recreational interests of the greater Swan Valley region to the private or government agencies and/or sectors that regulate trails, paths or surfaces of non-public lands that provide recreational opportunities not only for the greater Swan Valley region residents but also for those tourists and out-of-the region adventurers who contribute to the economy of local business owners.

Implementation 12: Objectives that should be reviewed before development on any existing or new road includes, but are not limited to:

  • 1. Insure that road and other transportation systems have the capacity for expansion and extension to serve adequately current as well as future needs.
  • 2. Provide protected routes for pedestrians, bicycles and equestrian usage.
  • 3. Develop an adequate integrated system of major and minor streets and roads that give adequate access not only to residents and casual traffic but also to emergency service vehicles.
  • 4. Protect future arterial rights-of-way identified in the Greater Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan until they can be acquired.
  • 5. Require that all newly established streets and highways, including those within subdivisions, are of proper width, alignment, design and construction and are in conformance with this plan as well as with current Bonneville County road dedication standards.
  • 6. Regulate and restrict development, including commercial, within areas required for future widening of rights-of-way.
  • 7. Control or eliminate hazards and traffic conflicts along road rights-of-way through building setbacks, dedications, constructing frontage roads or regulation of access at the time of subdivision, zone change or construction.
  • 8. Provide for expanding and extending the transportation network as the population grows in the greater Swan Valley region.

Implementation 13: If commercial zones are expanded and extended along the Highway 26 corridor or north on Highway 31, encourage and promote the construction of acceleration zones or turn lanes so that interruption of normal flows of traffic are minimized and driver safety is optimized.


horseback riding Swan Valley Palisades CreekRecreational activities abound in Swan Valley, Idaho. The scenic community is home to the South Fork of the Snake River with some of the best trout fishing in the lower 48 states. Palisades Reservoir which is known for its boating, fishing and recreational activities was developed by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1957. Recreation on this 25 square mile (16,100 acre) reservoir, with 70 miles of limited access shoreline, is administered by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The Caribou Mountains to the south, the Palisades Range to the east, and the Big Hole Range to the north make Swan Valley a spectacular place to live. Splendid panoramas abound and year-round outdoor activities are a magnet for sports enthusiasts and adventurers. With access to hundreds of miles of trails in the surrounding mountain areas, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, horseback, motorcycle, and four wheeler riding are popular activities for locals and tourists alike. The Swan Valley area also offers incredible recreation opportunities in the winter season. The area has over 400 miles of groomed trails for snowmobiling. Other winter activities include cross country skiing, ice fishing on Palisades Reservoir, and year-round fishing on the South Fork. It is essential that continued backcountry and snowmobile use be allowed on public lands.

Bugling bull elkThe area is home to abundant wildlife such as elk, deer, moose, bear, mountain lions, fox, coyote, bald eagle, golden eagles, blue heron, sand hill cranes, several species of song birds, ducks, grouse, and several flocks of wintering trumpeter swans numbering in the hundreds. Protecting the natural habitats of these animals is vital to preserving the valleyês character and way of life. The Swan Valley School (District 92) in Irwin has approximately 50 to 60 students grades K-8. The facility is sometimes used for community events such as elections and fund raisers. The cities of Irwin and Swan Valley each have a city park. The Irwin Park has a ball field, playground equipment, restrooms and a facility for cooking with a stove, refrigerator, and running water. The Swan Valley Park has picnic tables and restrooms available in the summer months. Planning for recreation in the Swan Valley area is an important, sensitive and potentially emotional issue. Community character is changing because of population growth and diversification. Economic advantages and quiet lifestyle need to be reconciled. The population of the area represents a diverse set of recreational needs for all ages, many of which are not provided by the school and other organizations. These needs require facilities, organizers, and equipment that have historically been provided by volunteers. Citizens have traditionally had access to the public land that surrounds the private lands in the area. Access needs to be ensured and preserved so that future generations may participate in recreational uses of public land. A network of summer and winter trails and pathways for non-motorized and motorized sports, transportation alternatives, and access to areas for fishing, hiking, biking and other such sports should be encouraged when economically feasible. Fishing opportunities and the use of waterways should be preserved. Encourage private individuals, conservation groups and government agencies to develop and implement preservation programs for river and creek areas, such as enhancing vegetation, stream bank sloping, conservation easements, and general reclamation efforts, etc. POLICY GOALS:

Policy 1: Protect and allow use of the natural recreational assets of the Swan Valley Planning Area.

Policy 2: Support responsible plans to develop a network of additional trails and pathway systems, for diverse uses, to the extent feasible.

Policy 3: Encourage the development of both motorized and non-motorized trails and pathways when economically feasible.

Policy 4: Encourage the preservation of the serene environment of the Snake River and other streams and access to them.

Policy 5: Encourage development of signage to assist travelers in identifying public facilities and attractions along Highway 26 in the Swan Valley area.


Implementation 1: Develop a trails and pathways plan for multiple shared motorized and non-motorized uses.

Implementation 2: Cooperate with the National Forest and Bureau of Land Management for public access and recreational use of public lands.

Implementation 3: Require setbacks large enough and population density low enough along Highway 26 to maintain their pristine character and provide public access for future trails.

Implementation 4: Preserve and maintain public access to public lands, rivers, streams, and other recreational amenities.

Implementation 5: Work with the State and Idaho Transportation Department to identify and develop signage for public facilities, rest areas and special attractions in the Swan Valley area.


An analysis of areas, sites, structures of historical, archeological, architectural, ecological, wildlife, or scenic significance. The settlement of the area is a rather recent history with the era of trappers and Native Americans not that remote. The vestiges of the first farmers and homesteaders do not remain visible. The early cabins, churches, and buildings still in use are yet to be identified publicly. These symbols of the early inhabitants of the valley have been overwhelmed. Most sites have fallen into decay if not obliterated by a burn, bulldoze, or move mentality. Preservation of the sites of these early county inhabitants provides a way to retain stories that photographs and artifacts can not. While a few attempts have been made at preservation, such as the Winterfeld cabin on Pine Creek Bench and most recently a donation of the cemetery land to the City of Swan Valley, most sites go unrecognized or preserved. Many of the sites are being harvested for their materials rather than being preserved for their historic or aesthetic values. The Valley should encourage the preservation of sites that may provide value to future generations but may fall below the interest of the Federal or State programs. Residents should be encouraged to identify these sites and structures. The Valley should then assist in the preservation by encouraging the use of Federal, State, and private preservation programs and funds. The Valley should look into becoming a Certified Local Government by the State of Idaho by adopting an ordinance and establishing a Valley Historical Commission to advise and administer the program.

POLICY GOALS: A list of policy goals that provide a vision with regard to special areas or sites as outlined above.

Policy 1: Identify and encourage preservation of the areaês historic sites and buildings.

Policy 2: Encourage all new commercial construction and remodeling to replicate historic or western type architecture.

IMPLEMENTATION: An analysis and list of implementation objectives to determine actions, programs, budgets, ordinances, or other methods including scheduling of public expenditures to provide for timely execution of the various components of the plan. Implementation 1: Assist in the identification and preservation of historic sites and structures by encouraging the use of the Federal and State historic preservation programs and any private resources available. Implementation 2: Development of ordinances that address commercial construction and remodeling that adhere to a western type of architecture.


Idaho Statute 67-6508 paragraph (1) defines this chapter as an –analysis of housing conditions and needs; plans for improvement of housing standards; plans for the provisions of safe, sanitary, and adequate hosing, including provision for low-cost conventional housing, the sitting of manufactured hosing and mobile homes in subdivisions and parks on individual lots which are sufficient to maintain a competitive market for each of those types and to address the needs of the community. The current comprehensive plans for the cities of Irwin and Swan Valley indicate that they occupy approximately 6,262 acres of private land(Irwin 747 acres & Swan Valley 5515 acres). Both cities have current zoning regulations that allow for a minimum density requirement of 2.5 acres per single-family dwelling. The recent development of higher-cost housing in the Swan Valley area may contribute to an increase demand for more affordable, or community housing. Community housing includes all types of housing ® home for purchase and rent in the high-end, moderate, and affordable categories. Affordable housing refers to hosing for rent or purchase that exists at the lower end of the price spectrum. Whether there is a housing affordability problem is hard to obtain and open to subjective interpretation but given the rapidly rising land and home values, the Valley will find it increasingly ore difficult to address those needs. Planning policies and implementation strategies should consider affordability. Effective July 1998, Idaho enacted the Mobile Home Rehabilitation Act, Title 44, Chapter 25 of the Idaho Code. This law requires that mobile homes built prior to 1976 comply with certain testing requirements in the areas of electric, plumbing and egress and make repairs when not in compliance. This plan encourages housing opportunities for residents of all socio-economic backgrounds and age levels. This will preserve and ensure the long-term health, safety, and welfare of our cities. (Add Tables showing building permit activity and home sale date)

POLICY GOALS: A list of policy goals that provide a vision with regard to housing outlined above.

Policy 1: Establish and encourage community and neighborhood character through the use of innovative design, diversity of housing types, and individuality of homes.

Policy 2: Encourage opportunities for diversity in housing choices and affordable housing availability.

Policy 3: Encourage owners to upgrade substandard housing conditions where such conditions exist.

Polity 4: Take steps to examine the fiscal and economic relationship between housing and other types of land use.


Implementation 1: Encourage the use of innovative design by builders, and developers that will produce desirable housing at all cost levels.

Implementation 2: Require effective enforcement and review of building codes and zoning regulations for new construction and remodels, to assure quality in housing units.

Implementation 3: Ordinances and codes should encourage the use of energy conservation and alternative energy sources in new residential and commercial construction and in rehabilitation of older homes.

Implementation 4: Explore alternatives to offset the cost of services for all new development.

Implementation 5: Provide for a City street tree program to promote and maintain trees as a part of any neighborhood.

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