SALEM, Ore. — An Idaho judge has ordered a county clerk to file a petition from a group seeking to ask voters to stop a development planned on irrigated farmland and grazing land north of Boise.

The Ada County clerk had rejected the petition by the Dry Creek Valley Coalition that aimed to start the referendum process, the Capital Press reported .

Following the rejection, group founder Stephanie Rael filed a lawsuit seeking to compel the clerk to file the petition.

Boise Hunter Homes is planning an $80 million project to develop 350 acres of irrigated farmland and 1,050 acres of grazing land. The developer had asked the court to prohibit the filing of the group’s petition.

Ada County commissioners approved an ordinance in February that made amendments to that development plan.

The group is pursuing a referendum to give the community a chance to weigh in, Rael said.

Judge Jonathan Medema issued the ruling last week, noting the petition had the proper signatures and the county had granted residents the right to repeal ordinances. He noted the language on the books for this issue is clear.

The petition still requires approval by the county prosecutor. If approved, the group would have 180 days to collect about 40,000 signatures to prompt a special election.

Hethe Clark, the attorney representing the developer, said the judge’s ruling does nothing more than require the clerk to process the petition.

“They may elect to proceed with gathering signatures for their petition; however, it does not change the fact that Boise Hunter Homes has vested property rights in these approvals that cannot, under Idaho law, be challenged by referendum,” Clark said.


Information from: Capital Press, http://www.capitalpress.com/washington