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Nez Perce County Comprehensive Plan

SECTION 11

Public Services & School Facilities

PURPOSE OF THE PUBLIC SERVICES ELEMENT

Population growth generally is accompanied by concentration of population into a relatively few, usually central, locations. This concentration, in turn, creates a need and demand for various support services. These public services may range from water and sewer systems to schools, health facilities, fire protection, and law enforcement.

Water Drop

INVENTORY AND FUTURE NEEDS

Water: Community water systems chiefly serve incorporated areas. Lewiston's system is made up of the city water system that serves mainly the areas of Lewiston north of the Lewiston Orchards, and the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District (L.O.I.D.) that serves most of the remaining area of the city.

Other communities having water systems are Lapwai, Peck, Culdesac, Waha Glen, and the Hatwai Road area north of Lewiston (Red Rock Land and Water).

Developments outside the areas served by these public systems must utilize individual wells or other sources for domestic water. Where individual wells are shallow, care must be taken to insure that nearby septic tank drainfields or other sources do not contaminate water supplies. Areas of concentrated housing should develop community water systems, particularly if in a state of rapid growth, or if contamination of water supplies is occurring or likely.

Wastewater: Wastewater collection and treatment systems in Nez Perce County are presently limited to incorporated areas, specifically Lewiston, Lapwai, and Culdesac. Lewiston's system, involving the City of Lewiston, Lewiston Orchards Sewer District, and Central Orchards Sewer District, collects wastewater from most of the developed incorporated areas, as well as the Potlatch and Blount plants, and transports it to the city's wastewater treatment plant in North Lewiston. Wastewater systems in Lapwai and Culdesac collect wastewater, and transport it to treatment lagoons.

In the remainder of the county, reliance has been placed mainly on individual septic tank/drainfield systems. Given proper soil conditions, sufficient land area for drainfields and proper system use and maintenance, these systems are generally adequate and reliable for low-density residential use. There are limits to the density of development that can take place using these systems, particularly in areas with shallow or poorly drained soils, or where the sewage effluent can drain into the water supply, streams or an aquifer. Community sewerage facilities should be developed in existing and future areas of concentrated housing.

Where approved community wastewater systems do not exist, density of development and effluent discharges should be carefully controlled and monitored in areas where streams, river, and domestic water supplies could be contaminated by excessive discharges. This problem should be addressed in implementing ordinances and performance standards.

Solid Waste Disposal: Nez Perce County, Asotin County, and the cities of Lewiston and Clarkston have established a regional sanitary landfill in Asotin County west of Clarkston, Washington. It is planned that these joint operations will continue.

Within the incorporated area of Lewiston, a private contractor using compacting trucks collects solid waste for further disposal through the transfer station.

Private companies under contract with Nez Perce County provide for the collection of solid waste in the rural areas of the county. Residents may place household solid waste along the nearest county road for collection.

Law Enforcement: Law enforcement within the City of Lewiston is provided mainly by the City Police Department. The Nez Perce County Sheriff's Department provides Law enforcement in the smaller towns and rural areas in cooperation with city law enforcement personnel where present and Nez Perce Tribe law enforcement personnel. Lapwai has one police officer. Nez Perce County Sheriff's Department has a resident deputy in the cities of Culdesac and Peck. It is currently the Sheriff's intention to place resident deputies throughout the county.

The Nez Perce County Sheriff's Department also has reciprocal cooperation agreements with adjacent counties, as well as with the Idaho State Police. The Sheriffs Department normally concentrates on patrol of the rural parts of the county. Cooperative agreements are of mutual benefit in supplementing limited forces. In addition, a Marine Patrol is responsible for law enforcement and water safety on all waters within and bordering Nez Perce County, including the rendering of assistance to the Sheriff's Department of Asotin and Whitman Counties, Washington, on request.

The Sheriff's Department is responsible for operation of the county jail. The use of the jail is shared with the City of Lewiston.

The Sheriff's Department provides search and rescue services through two posses: The Air Posse, which has its own aircraft; and the Mounted Posse, which has horses, four-wheel drive vehicles and snowmobiles.

Fire Protection: Fire protection for the City of Lewiston is provided by a paid fire department. They also have responsibility for fire and crash response at the Lewiston/Nez Perce County Airport. They normally do not respond to fires outside the city limits.

Fire protection for other incorporated areas, Culdesac, Lapwai and Peck, is provided by volunteer fire departments. A similar volunteer department based at Juliaetta offers protection in that vicinity. The Nez Perce Tribe provides fire protection on reservation property.

Two fire protection districts serve unincorporated areas of the county: the Big Canyon Fire Protection District serves the eastern portion of the county surrounding and including the city of Peck, and the Genesee Fire Protection District serving the area in the vicinity of Genesee.

Educational Facilities: Lewiston is the site of Lewis-Clark State College (L.C.S.C.), a coed, 4-year state college, offering liberal arts, professional and technical degrees. Founded in 1893 as Lewiston Normal School -- a preparatory school for teachers.

Graduation

The college offers the following bachelor and associate degrees: AA, AS, AAS, BA, BS, BSN, BAT, BAS, and BSW. LCSC is fully accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition, the National League of Nursing and the Idaho State Board of Nursing accredit the nursing program. The National Council accredits the teacher education program for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education. The Council of Social Work Education accredits the social work program.

Basic education is provided by a total of seventeen elementary, junior high and high schools within the county supplemented by bussing a small number of students to schools outside Nez Perce County. Most of the schools are located in Lewiston, which has one senior high school, two junior high schools, and seven elementary schools. The Lewiston school district also operates an alternative high school. This school is open to all valley residents. The school district provides bus service for students living 1 ½ miles or more from school.

Other schools in the county are located at:

Lapwai, operating a junior-senior high (grades 7-12), an upper elementary (grades 4-6) and a lower elementary (grades K-3).

Culdesac offers grades K-12 in a single facility.

Peck operates a single facility for grades 1-5. Junior high and senior high students (grades 6-12) are bussed to schools in Orofino from the Peck area.

Students living in the extreme northeastern part of the county attend schools in Kendrick; those from the extreme northwestern area attend Genesee schools.

Health Care Services: Although health care services in Nez Perce County are not public services in the strictest sense, being provided mainly by the private sector, they are of public interest and concern because they are essential to the well-being of county citizens. Nez Perce County has the largest number of health care providers and facilities in Northern Idaho, exceeded in the region only by Spokane. It is the center of a sizeable area of health care needs extending well beyond the county limits, and serving as a health care sub-region, linked to Spokane.

Library Services: Library services to county residents are provided by two separate systems. For the residents of the City of Lewiston, a city library system operates two library facilities, one on Thain Road in the Lewiston Orchards (Tseminicum Branch) and one just off 5th Street in downtown Lewiston (Carnegie Branch).

For the remainder of the county, service is provided by the Nez Perce-Lewis County Library. Its only fixed facility is located in the City of Lapwai. The Nez Perce-Lewis County library participates in the Valnet system, which allows books to be borrowed between county and city libraries. The system also includes the Asotin County Library and the Lewis and Clark College library.

Utilities: Washington Water Power supplies electricity and gas to the cities of Lewiston, Lapwai, Culdesac and their environs. Clearwater Power Company provides electricity to the remainder of Nez Perce County.

Land line telephone service is provided to a majority of county residents by U.S. West. Residents in the cities of Peck and Genesee are served by GTE.

Telecommunications: Computer networking, teleconferencing, telecommuting, the Internet, and wireless communications are rapidly evolving. This evolution is changing how people make a living, where they work, and social trends. The county's ordinances must adapt to and address this rapid evolution of technology. For example, computer networking and the Internet have made it possible to work from home rather than travel to an office in a commercial area. Many people are no longer limited to living in a specific geographic area by the location of their company's offices. Nez Perce County's current land use ordinances (as of 1998) are outdated in regard to home occupations.

Another trend in telecommunications that is perceived to have the greatest impact in regard to land use is the wireless telephone. The convenience and affordability of these devices has made them extremely popular for business and personal use. This demand for wireless services requires a substantial improvement to the supporting infrastructure. The infrastructure consists of transmission facilities most commonly supported by tall towers or tall buildings when appropriate. As more people use wireless telephones, more of these transmission facilities will be necessary.

The area within and surrounding the City of Lewiston will most likely see the greatest increase in wireless communication infrastructure due to its dense population and large number of wireless users. The rural areas of Nez Perce County will most likely be served by a small number of facilities typically along major travel routes. Nez Perce County should revise its ordinances to ensure that county regulations are in accordance with Federal Telecommunications Laws. New regulations should encourage the suitable location and design of new transmission facilities while allowing wireless service companies to competitively provide adequate service to county residents and business people.

PUBLIC SERVICES GOAL AND POLICIES

Goal Statement:

To provide essential public service facilities and utilities that effectively meet current and future needs.

Policies:

  1. Nez Perce County should encourage periodic review of public services and utilities.
  2. Nez Perce County should cooperate with providers of services and utilities in evaluating present and projected needs.
  3. Nez Perce County should provide for additional public services as required for planned growth; improve existing services as permitted by financing and technology.
  4. Nez Perce County should incorporate into ordinances measures to insure that new developments pay the costs of expanding public services to serve them.
  5. Nez Perce County should evaluate possible improvements in services, as part of the periodic review process; adopt new techniques, procedures and/or equipment when necessary and/or economically feasible.
  6. Nez Perce County should encourage cooperative agreements between governmental units to consolidate efforts and avoid waste and duplication in providing public services.
  7. Nez Perce County should strive to improve residential fire protection in unincorporated areas.
  8. Nez Perce County should improve law enforcement activities and facilities.
  9. Nez Perce County should continue efforts to improve county jail facilities, particularly in regard to handling of juvenile offenders.
  10. Nez Perce County should take advantage of technological advances, as available, to improve its effectiveness and efficiency in providing public services.
  11. Nez Perce County should revise its ordinances to ensure that county regulations are in accordance with Federal Telecommunications Laws.
  12. Nez Perce County should encourage the suitable location and design of new wireless communication transmission facilities while allowing wireless service companies to competitively provide adequate service to county residents and business people.
  13. Nez Perce County should encourage the involvement of school districts in the county land use planning process.

Public Services Strategy Chart

 

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