What have we learned so far?

Thanks to everyone who visited the Plan Booth at the Boundary County Fair and took time to take the online survey! Survey results can be seen here.

Visitors to the Farmers Market Comprehensive Plan booth on June 4th were invited to spend 8 pennies on suggested broad policies to help shape the plan’s focus.

A mini-poll (and raffle) was also provided at the Farmers Market for participants to weigh in on planning priorities.

Also thank you to the 14 participants who attended the workshop after the Farmers Market. Housing (affordable/housing mix) Economic Stability and Education were common themes expressed at the workshop. Participants thought these themes should have the highest priority but which also need the most work to address.

What’s Next?

The volunteer Plan Advisory Committee will reconvene with staff and the City’s Comprehensive Plan consultants to review feedback and prepare a draft of the plan for consideration by the Bonners Ferry Planning Commission and City Council.  It is anticipated that adoption of a plan update will occur by early 2023.

The City of Bonners Ferry is updating the 2006 Comprehensive Plan and has contracted with SCJ Alliance Consulting Services to prepare the new plan, rooted in continuous public dialogue and compliant with requirements by the State of Idaho.



City planning has multiple purposes, not the least of which is to ensure that the community has an active part in deciding how the city looks, functions, and serves the needs of its residents as the future brings change. Planning provides the community a process to voice its preferences, identifying what is most important about their city and developing strategies to ensure that future decisions on land use, housing, transportation, public investment, community health and overall town management respect what the community values.  Specifically:

  • State Law Requires It!
    Idaho’s Local Land Use Planning Act requires that jurisdictions prepare a comprehensive plan which considers “…existing conditions, trends, compatibility of land uses, desirable goals and objectives, or desirable future situations…” for the community.
  • Sets the Stage for What can be Built where.
    Although the plan is guidance document for the community, it serves as the legal basis for adopting zoning, subdivision and other regulations and policies that shape a community over time. As such, the plan helps to ensure development decisions are not “made on the fly” but done in the context of a broader vision by the community, providing a degree of predictability for property owners, businesses and residents.
  • Is an interagency Negotiation Tool
    As the official guidance document for the City of Bonners Ferry, the plan may help in working with other agencies and jurisdictions to realize the community’s vision.
  • It Supports Grant Applications
    Both private and public funders typically ask for or require that a jurisdiction demonstrate how a grant application is supported by the community’s long range plan.
  • It Provides Consistent Policy Direction
    All the plan’s elements such as transportation, land use, housing and economic development are intended to work cohesively.
  • It Can be Used as a Budgetary Tool
    The plan can help ensure that public investments are supported by community’s vision for the future.
Get Involved!

For a comprehensive plan to be successful, it takes community involvement!  To stay in the loop, please subscribe with your email below to hear about upcoming events, workshops and surveys so that you can help shape the future of Bonners Ferry:

What Elements go into a Comprehensive Plan?

Idaho Code (§67-6508) requires 17 elements be addressed in a city’s comprehensive plan, including:

  • Property Rights
  • Population
  • School Facilities and Transportation
  • Economic Development
  • Land Use
  • Natural Resources
  • Hazardous Areas
  • Public Services, Facilities, and Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Recreation
  • Special Areas or Sites
  • Housing
  • Community Design
  • Agriculture
  • Implementation
  • National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors
  • Public Airport Facilities

Can a Comprehensive Plan Have Other Elements like Community Health?

Yes, other elements may also be considered.  Funding from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health has provided the city resources to also consider long term health impacts by looking at the social determinants of health which refer to the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

However, despite outside grant funding to support this effort, the plan’s policies and its implementation will be by and for the Community of Bonners Ferry.

Figure 1. The Social Determinants of Health

Figure 1 – The Social Determinants of Health

What is the Timing for this Effort and How do I get Involved?

The goal is for the updated plan to be completed by early 2023.  Most importantly, a Community Plan is only as good as the community support behind it and the city will be offering many ways to get involved throughout the process.  Below is an overview of the working outreach and public engagement schedule for the plan update. Sign up below or above to get email notifications for upcoming events and activities!

Please subscribe below or through the box above to stay engaged as we move through the process.


If you have any questions please contact Aaron Qualls, AICP either by email (aaron.qualls@scjalliance.com) or by phone at 509.835.3770 ext. 325