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Cliffs Redux?

Although Ada County commissioners gave Skyline Development a green light to move forward with a planned community called The Cliffs last December, opponents of the development haven't given up. In late January, Save the Plateau and two other plaintiffs filed for judicial review of the county's decision. The groups want to protect Hammer Flat for its qualities as winter wildlife habitat.

The legal move, says Tony Jones, founder of Save the Plateau, is a last-ditch effort after mobilizing testimony and other protests for the county commission.

The plaintiffs' legal appeal says that the county denied citizens the right of due process while processing The Cliff's application. Jones says that there were illegal recommendations for testimony between commissioners' staff and the county staff in between two public county hearings on The Cliffs. The plaintiffs argue the decision violates the Local Land Use Planning Act and the Ada County Comprehensive Plan.

"We believe we have applied the law to the facts of this case correctly," said commission Chairman Fred Tilman. "We welcome the court's review and we will respond accordingly."

If Save the Plateau wins in court, it could mean that the commissioners' approval of The Cliffs is thrown out, and Skyline would have to start over with a new development application. If the plaintiffs lose, then Skyline is expected to move forward with construction plans.

"This is, in a sense, the last resort for Hammer Flat," says Jones. "We feel very strongly that the people of Ada County want to protect the foothills. ."