Stories in this Regional News Roundup are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region.
GRANGEVILLE — Did you get a vehicle registration renewal in the notice from the state? Confused on where to send the payment, to whom ... and perhaps thinking this was a scam?
Readers contacting the Free Press have expressed such, and the good news is it is legitimate. The problems here are a result of ongoing issues with new software implemented Oct. 13 by the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles.
“There have been several bugs that have needed fixed,” said Idaho County Assessor James Zehner. “They sent out renewal notices, as they always do, but they left some things out, mainly the mailing address and also they had the payee wrong.”
Filling in that missing information here: Idaho County Assessor’s Office, 320 W. Main Rm. 1, Grangeville, ID 83530; make checks payable to the Idaho County Assessor’s Office.
“They also had an error on the renewals of all the RVs, including campers, motorhomes, tent trailers, etc.,” Zehner said. “They did not have the correct value for those, and they are going to re-issue those with the correct amounts.”
Because of the new software program and the time it takes to process each transaction, the county assessor’s office has set temporary hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and closed on Thursday’s until further notice. This is in order to process all of the titles and registrations that haven’t been able to be processed during normal work hours.
According to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), in mid-October, ITD implemented the fourth and largest phase of the state’s DMV modernization project, moving the vehicle registration and titling system from a 1980s mainframe to an updated computer program. Eight million records were integrated into a one-person, one-record system, linking each Idahoan’s registration and title information with their license.
According to ITD, the new system has temporarily slowed vehicle registration and title processing, and ITD is working to speed up transaction times.
Idahoans are also encouraged to renew their registration online or by mail. DMV online services, including driver’s license and registration renewal, are available 24/7 at dmv.idaho.gov.
In Idaho County, the DMV office is located in the basement of the courthouse in Grangeville. Hours are Monday through Wednesday, closed Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, until further notice. Because of COVID-19 precautions, a limited number of people are allowed in the office at one time, so staff advise patrons may at times experience significant delays.
— David Rauzi, Idaho County Free Press (Grangeville), Wednesday
McCall State Lands - Two Proposals
MCCALL — A revised land swap proposal for 20,000 acres of state lands around McCall could spur up to 2,800 acres of new development around Payette Lake, the state land board was told Tuesday.
Alec Williams of Trident Holdings of McCall aired an updated plan to the land board, which did not comment or take action on the proposal.
Williams framed the updated plan as the best way to conserve land and improve public access while also satisfying the state’s constitutional mandate to maximize profits from use of the lands.
“The land board can finally get out of this painful McCall business,” Williams told the board, which consists of the state’s top elected officials and is chaired by Idaho Gov. Brad Little.
“Picking each year what to sell and what to hold is death by 1,000 cuts for everyone,” he said.
Trident’s proposal comes at the same time the state has proposed a phased management plan that would leave most state lands around McCall unchanged for 10 or more years.
Both proposals are expected to be considered by the land board, but no schedule has been set.
Development: The updated plan includes three concepts for where 2,800 acres of development could occur on the 28,000 acres of state lands, which stretch from north of Payette Lake to south of McCall.
One option favors development closer to McCall, another pushes development farther from Payette Lake and the third keeps development south of North Beach on Payette Lake.
However, maps for each option envisions most development in hills immediately west of Warren Wagon Road and along the shoreline on Eastside Drive.
Possible locations were chosen based on which sites would have the least harm on scenic views, wildlife habitat, water quality and recreation, Williams said.
Development in these areas could be a blend of hotels, spas, campgrounds, conference centers, clubhouses, youth camps, public parking, trailheads and other community amenities, he said.
Residential developments could also be mixed into those areas, as well as 166 acres that are included in Trident’s proposal, which it calls “Preserve McCall.”
An 80-acre parcel at the intersection of Deinhard Lane and Spring Mountain Boulevard and an 86-acre parcel near Pilgrim Cove Road would be ideal for community uses like affordable housing and a recreation center, Williams said.
Williams aired his original proposal last June to the land board, which responded by putting a moratorium on leasing of state lands in the McCall area until a long-term management strategy could be developed.
But by July, Williams pulled his proposal amid widespread public backlash over the lack of details on conservation plans and where potential development could occur.
Conservation: Trident would designate about 62 percent of the land, or 17,200 acres, as “park” land for permanent public access, including lands between development clusters.
Much of that land would be used to expand Ponderosa State Park from 1,500 acres currently to about 19,000 acres.
Williams proposes to transfer the lands to a public or nonprofit conservation entity that would be independent of Trident.
Trident would expand public access to Payette Lake and surrounding lands by upgrading or expanding infrastructure and realigning Eastside Drive along the northern end of the lake.
The road would be moved east up the hillside to open nearly a mile of shoreline for a public lakefront trail with lake access points.
About 4.5 miles of shoreline on Little Payette Lake would be preserved for permanent public access in what would become the “Lake Fork Unit of Ponderosa State Park,” the plan said.
Other improvements would include upgraded boat ramps, more parking areas, new trails and more area of the North Fork Payette River reserved for nonmotorized boating.
Economics: Trident’s plan hinges on using an inventory of private timberlands in northern Idaho to trade for the state lands around McCall.
The McCall lands are also timberlands, but do not meet the state’s desired return, according to Trident’s analysis.
Swapping the McCall lands for more productive timberland in northern Idaho could net the state about $3.7 million per year, or a long-term benefit of about $107 million, the analysis said.
— Drew Dodson, The Star-News (McCall), Thursday