Box Elder County commissioners voted recently to implement a newly created interim land-use policy plan.
The plan, initiated by the Free Market Land Use Planning Committee, a private citizens' group, sets county policies regarding state and federal use of private lands and private landowners' rights on public lands.Guidelines for the committee reveal that state and federal governments are bound by law to consider existing county land-use plans and must treat the county as a co-equal.
The plan reads, in part, ". . . in compliance with federal and state law, including but not limited to the Federal Land Management and Policy Act of 1976 and the National Forest Act, all federal and state agencies shall comply with the Box Elder County Land Use Policy Plan and coordinate with the county commission."
Bert Smith, the committee sppokesman, presented commissioners with a recent survey of 100 Box Elder County residents that indicates the high level of concern about land rights and supports the committee's belief that "extreme emergencies" exist for landowners in the county.
The same plan has been in effect for two years in an Oregon county and in that time, Smith said, federal and state agencies, specifically the U.S. Forest Service, have backed off on "abusing" citizens' rights.
The committee also seeks to add three county ordinances regarding civil rights of landowners, fair payment for federal use of private lands and equal rights for cattlemen and federal agencies on public rangelands.
The county must adopt a permanent land-use plan within one year.