County adopts gas ordinance

County adopts gas ordinance

Published in the Power County Press March 18, 2015.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that on March 9, 2015, the following Power County Ordinance was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners;


NO. 2015-1




The purpose of this chapter is to provide a set of standards for the development and installation of natural gas and transmission structures and related facilities. The regulations contained herein are designed to protect and promote public health, safety and the community welfare of Power County, and to encourage the managed development of natural transmission structures, while not unduly restricting the development of needed natural gas structures and related facilities.


The county shall apply these regulations to accomplish the following:

A. Minimize adverse visual effects as well as potential hazardous effects of natural gas structures and related facilities through design and siting standards.

B. Provide a process for obtaining necessary permits for natural gas structures and related facilities while at the same time protecting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Power County.

C. Protect environmentally sensitive areas of Power County by regulating the location, design and operation of natural gas structures and related facilities.

D. Protect the economic base of Power County by eliminating or minimizing the adverse impact upon agriculture and residences by regulating the location, site and operation of utility transmission systems.

Furthermore, this chapter is not intended to regulate residential gas lines.


For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section:

BUILDING: Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls and intended for the shelter, housing, or enclosure of any individual, animal, process, equipment, goods, or materials of any kind.

FACILITIES: The components or structures built for the utility transmission system, which would include the electrical transmission towers and wires, the gas pipelines, the construction to substations, and any other components of the utility transmission system which would be erected, constructed or placed within Power County.

NAVIGABLE STREAM OR LAKE: As designated on the United States geological survey (USGS) map and/or the Power County zoning maps.

NONCONFORMING: Any preexisting utility transmission facility that was in existence prior to the adoption hereof and that has not been issued to a special use permit or was issued a special use permit prior to the adoption date hereof.

OPERATION: Other than nominal use; when a facility is used regularly as an integral part of an active system of natural gas and electric transmission structure.

RESIDENCE: A building occupied or used for living quarters by persons at least four (4) months out of the year.

SUBSTATION: An electrical substation as a subsidiary station of an electricity transmission system, containing transformers, switches, control equipment, circuit breakers and other elements, including line termination structures. Substations are to be fenced enclosures or buildings.

UTILITY TRANSMISSION SYSTEM: For the purposes of this section, a gas Utility Transmission System consists of all pipelines, pumps, storage, and other structures used for the transmission of gas or other fuel through corridors across the county to connect with systems in other counties, not for origination, destination, or termination within Power County.


The following shall be permitted without county approvals under this section:

A. Residential or commercial gas piping systems, less than eight inches (8″) in diameter.

B. Residential or commercial gas piping systems greater than eight inches (8″) in diameter that primarily serve customers in Power County. However, if such pipelines are connected to a pipeline greater than eight inches (8″) that is transmitting gas out of Power County, as measured at the County line, this section shall be applicable.


A. Natural gas facilities and structures may be permitted in the following areas, subject to special use permits and approval by the Power County planning and zoning commission but are subject to review and approval of the federal aviation administration (FAA) and other appropriate agencies, if applicable:

1. One-half (1/2) mile radius from heliports.

2. One-half (1/2) mile radius from private airport runway(s).


A. As much as is reasonably possible, no utility transmission systems should be allowed in land zoned rural residential, commercial, light industrial, or agricultural. Utility transmission systems should be located in land zoned heavy industrial wherever possible.

B. Unless unreasonable, or absolutely necessary, no systems may be located on irrigated farmland. The planning and zoning commission should carefully consider alternatives to locating utility transmission structures on any type of working agricultural land, including CRP land, due to the potential adverse impact. Alternatives on public land or land not actively managed or used for agriculture should be preferred. The location of the utility transmission systems must be in compliance with the Power County comprehensive plan.


Subject to the provisions herein contained, no natural gas facilities will be allowed within one thousand five hundred feet (1,500’) of the following areas:

A. Historic sites, as defined by state and/or federal regulation, unless otherwise controlled by federal or state law or regulation.

B. Critical species habitats, as defined by state and/or federal regulation, unless otherwise controlled by federal or state law or regulation.

C. Wetlands, as defined by state and/or federal regulation, unless otherwise controlled by federal or state law or regulation.

D. Floodplains, as defined by state and/or federal regulation, unless otherwise controlled by federal or state law or regulation.

E. The owner of the utility transmission system may contract with local land owners and affected entities to reduce this one thousand five hundred foot (1,500’) setback.


Locating and constructing a utility transmission system, including the supporting equipment used in connection with said facility shall require a special use permit.

A. Submittal Information: For all natural gas facilities, the planning and zoning department shall require the following information to accompany every application. Said information shall include, but may not be limited to:

1. A completed special use application.

2. Original signature of applicant and landowner (if the natural gas facility is located in an easement or pursuant to a ground lease, the beneficiaries of the easement or ground lease and underlying property owner must authorize the application).

3. The identity of the carrier, provider, applicant, landowner and service provider and their legal status.

4. The name, address and telephone number of the officer, agent and/or employee responsible for the accuracy of the application.

5. A plat of survey, showing the parcel boundaries, facilities, location, access, and landscaping.

6. A written legal description of the site.

7. In the case of a leased site, a lease agreement or binding lease memorandum, which shows on its face that it does not preclude the structure owner from entering into leases on the structure with other provider(s) and the legal description and amount of property leased.

8. A description of the services that the applicant offers or provides, to persons, firms, businesses or institutions.

9. Federal energy regulatory commission (FERC) license numbers and registration numbers, if applicable.

10. Copies of finding of no significant impacts (FONSI) statement from the FERC or environmental impact study (EIS), if applicable.

11. An alternatives analysis prepared by the applicant or on behalf of the applicant by its designated technical representative, subject to the review and approval of the planning and zoning commission, which identifies all reasonable, technically feasible, alternative locations and/or facilities which could provide the proposed gas transmission service. The intention of the alternatives analysis is to present alternative strategies, which could minimize the number, size, and adverse environmental or economic impacts of facilities necessary to provide the needed services to the county. The analysis shall address the potential for alternative transmission methods and the potential to locate facilities as close as possible to the intended service area. It shall also explain the rationale for selection of the proposed site in view of all relative merits of any of the feasible alternatives. Approval of the project is subject to the review and approval of the planning and zoning commission.

12. Plans indicating security measures (e.g., access, fencing, lighting, etc.).

13. A tabular and map inventory of all of the applicant’s existing facilities that are located within Power County and including all of the applicant’s existing structures within one thousand five hundred feet (1,500’) of the county boundary. The inventory shall specify the location, height, type and design of each of the applicant’s existing structures.

14. A report prepared by an engineer licensed by the state of Idaho certifying the structural design of the structures.

15. Proof of liability insurance coverage.

16. Proof of notification indicating that the airport operator and airport property owner(s), within the area have been notified.

17. An analysis of the economic impact of the utility transmission system location upon Power County, Idaho, including revenue and tax base.

18. Such other information as the planning and zoning commission may require.

B. Technical Review: The building administrator, upon direction of the Power County planning and zoning commission, may employ on behalf of the county an independent technical expert to review materials submitted. The consultant will be chosen from a list mutually agreed upon by the county and the applicant. The applicant shall pay all the costs of said review. The payment to the planning and zoning department shall be due upon receipt of the invoice. All fees and charges accumulated for the technical review must be paid in full prior to the issuance of the special use permit.

C. Submittals Required Following The Special Use Approval: For each special use permit approved by the Power County planning and zoning commission the applicant shall submit the following before the special use permit will be issued:

1. Copies of the determination of no hazard from the federal aviation administration (FAA) including any aeronautical study determination or other findings and other agencies, if applicable.

2. Copies of any environmental assessment (EA) reports submitted to the FERC, if applicable.

3. Copies of any filings submitted to the FERC shall be submitted within thirty (30) days of filing, subject to the review of the zoning administrator.

4. Proof of bond as security for removal.


A. Removal Of Facilities: It is the express policy of Power County that utility transmission facilities be removed once they are no longer in use and not a functional part of providing utility service and that it is the facility owner’s responsibility to remove such facilities and restore the site to its original condition or a condition approved by the Power County building administrator. This restoration shall include removal of any subsurface structure or foundation, including concrete, used to support the facility. After a facility is no longer in operation due to abandonment, the owner shall have ninety (90) days to effect removal and restoration unless weather prohibits such efforts.

B. Security For Removal: The facility owner shall provide to Power County, prior to the issuance of the special use permit or the issuance of a zoning permit, a performance bond in the amount of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) for each facility, structure or quarter mile of pipe, or a bond equal to a written estimate from a qualified removal contractor to guarantee that the facility will be removed when no longer in operation. Power County will be named as obligee in the bond and must approve the bonding company. (Ord. 2009-04, 7-13-2009)

C. Underground Pipes: Subsurface pipes may be abandoned by a utility transmission owner if the following applies:

1. The utility transmission owner remains liable for such property and shall maintain abandoned property in a way that will protect the public.

2. The utility transmission owner notifies the county of abandonment of the line.

3. The utility structure is unlikely to cause any harm or danger to the public.

4. Any easement or property right associated with an abandoned pipeline is forfeit with the exception of maintenance or necessary access to reduce liability, harm, or danger.


A. Nonconforming And Conforming:. A natural gas line may be replaced or enlarged in size by fifty percent (50%) without a new permit, upon approval by the building administrator.


A. Revocation: Grounds for revocation of the special use permit shall be limited to one of the following findings:

1. The owner of such site, service provider and/or facility owner fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter.

2. The permittee has failed to comply with the conditions of approval imposed.

3. The facility has not been properly maintained.

B. Revocation Process:

1. The owner of such site, service provider and/or facility owner shall be notified by certified mail of noncompliance by the Power County planning and zoning department.

2. The owner shall comply with such notice within thirty (30) days, the Power County planning and zoning department shall notify the Power County prosecutor of the noncompliance and proceed with the revocation process. (This time period may be extended by staff to adjust for seasonal limitations.)

C. Abandonment: Any structure that is not operated for a continuous period of six (6) months shall be considered abandoned. Time may be extended upon review and approval of the Power County planning and zoning department, if the structure owner demonstrates a good faith effort to secure new tenants. In such circumstances, the following shall apply:

1. The owner of such structure shall remove said structure including all supporting equipment and building(s) within ninety (90) days of receipt of notice from the planning and zoning department notifying the owner of such abandonment. If removal to the satisfaction of the planning and zoning department does not occur within said ninety (90) days, the Power County board may order removal utilizing the established bond and salvage said antenna or structure and all supporting equipment and buildings. If there are two (2) or more users of a single structure, then this provision shall not become effective until all operations of the structure cease.

2. The recipient of a special use permit for a utility transmission system facility under this chapter shall notify the planning and zoning department when the facility is no longer in operation.


A. Pipe and Facilities Requirements: All facilities shall be designed to blend into the surrounding environment to the greatest extent feasible. To this end, all of the following measures shall be implemented:

1. All utility transmission system facilities shall comply at all times with all federal rules, regulations, and standards. All pipes shall meet or exceed the standards and regulations in place at the time of the issuance of the special use permit, of the federal aviation administration (FAA), the Idaho state bureau of aeronautics, the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA), the federal energy regulatory commission (FERC) and any other authority to regulate gas pipelines.

2. Utility transmission systems shall be constructed out of metal or other nonflammable material, unless specifically permitted.

3. Support facilities (e.g., equipment rooms, utilities, and equipment enclosures) shall be constructed out of non-reflective materials (visible exterior surface only). Support facilities shall be no taller than one story fifteen feet (15’) in height, measured from the original grade at the base of the facility to the top of the structure, and shall be designed to blend with existing architecture in the area or shall be screened from sight by mature landscaping, and shall be located or designed to minimize their visibility.

4. Facilities shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the international building code, other applicable state and federal requirements.

5. Facilities shall not interfere with or obstruct existing or proposed public safety, fire protection or supervisory controlled automated data acquisition (SCADA) operation facilities. Any actual interference and/or obstruction shall be corrected by the applicant at no cost to the county.

D. Vegetation Protection:

1. All facilities shall be installed in such a manner so as to minimize disturbance to existing native vegetation.

2. Upon project completion, the owner(s)/operator(s) of the facility shall be responsible for replacement of all disturbed vegetation.

3. Facility structures and equipment, including supporting structures, shall be located, designed and screened to blend with the existing natural or built surroundings, so as to reduce visual impacts.

E. Fire Prevention: All facilities shall be designed and operated in accordance with all applicable codes regarding fire prevention.

F. Noise and Traffic: All facilities shall be constructed and operated in such a manner as to minimize the amount of disruption caused to nearby properties. To that end all the following measures shall be implemented for facilities:

1. Noise producing construction activities shall only take place on weekdays (Monday through Saturday, non-holiday) between the hours of six o’clock (6:00) A.M. and six o’clock (6:00) P.M., except in times of emergency repair.

2. Any structures or facilities shall not produce noise levels separate or cumulative above seventy five (75) dB as measured from the nearest property line on which the facility is located.

G. Identification: A sign no larger than two feet (2’) in height or width shall be mounted on the outside of the structure, with a contact number and Power County site address.


A. Setbacks: All setbacks shall be measured from the base of the structure.

1. Setbacks from Property Lines: All new structures shall be set back a minimum of fifty feet (50’) from all property lines. (This requirement does not apply to the boundary of the leased parcel unless the leased parcel boundary is also a property line.) This setback requirement may be modified by the Power County planning and zoning commission after public hearing and review.

a. Conformance: All applications shall conform with any “setback” requirements as defined in the Power County development code and relevant ordinances.

b. Setback from The Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM): All new structures shall be set back a minimum of seventy five feet (75’) from the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of a navigable stream and a minimum one hundred twenty five percent (125%) of the structure height from the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of a navigable lake or reservoir.

2. Guywire Anchor Setback: All guywire anchors shall be at least twenty five feet (25’) from all property lines. This setback requirement may be modified by the Power County planning and zoning commission after public hearing and review.


A special use permit is required for the location of a utility transmission facility in Power County. Proposed collocation on facilities previously approved by Power County planning and zoning commission shall be approved administratively by the Power County planning and zoning department, provided that the applicant complies with the provisions of this chapter and provides a completed application and permit fee.


A. All pipelines should be buried underground wherever possible. The depth of the pipeline shall conform with industry safety standards applicable to the particular pipeline.

B. Notwithstanding any prohibition, setback or regulation herein contained in this ordinance, the Power County planning and zoning commission may approve a special permit regarding a buried or bored pipeline that is predominantly ten (10) or more feet underground if the planning and zoning commission determines the following:

1) The pipeline presents little or no danger to the community.

2) The pipeline, presents little or no risk to the local culture, environment, or the economy.

3) The pipeline has a minimal impact to industry, farming, or residential communities.

4) The pipeline otherwise complies with applicable laws and regulations.

5) The pipeline does not adversely affect the County plan.

Ron Funk

Delane Anderson

Bill Lasley

ATTEST: Sharee Sprague

This Notice and Ordinance is being published to complete effect thereof pursuant to Idaho Code 31-705.

Dated this 9th day of March, 2015.


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