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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

Coeur Terre Public Hearing Recap 2/7



The Coeur Terre public hearing took place in front of a large group at the Coeur d’Alene City Council last night. The entire meeting was extremely long with a majority of the time spent on the Coeur Terre annexation and rezoning.


Here’s the quick recap for the non-Coeur Terre items.

  • The Mayor reappointed Lindsey Sichelstiel and Abby Light to the Arts Committee, and Gina Davis to the Urban Forestry Committee.

  • The council approved the 2022 Wastewater Collection System (Sewer) Master Plan Update.

  • The council approved of a statute donated by the Ford family entitled “U.S. Army Soldier” by Artist Terry Lee, into the City’s Public Art Collection.


Coeur Terre

This is a development that has been in the works for over ten years, starting with the first contact with then-owner Mr. Armstrong and culminating with this public hearing in front of the city council last night.

Coeur Terre was asking for two things from the city council:

  1. Annex the 440-acre piece of property into the city, and

  2. Change the zoning from Ag-Suburban to a multitude of zones ranging from R-8 to C-17. (Duplexes/triplexes, "urban" apartment complexes, and commercial with apartments above.)


The developer, Kootenai County Land Company, put forth their proposed development agreement about what they were going to do with the property if they got the annexation and zone changes.


Top points in development agreement about property according to the developer:

  • Zoning ranges from R-8 to C-17, meaning that there are no single-family residences. All residential units will be duplexes, triplexes, high-density apartment complexes and commercial units with residential apartment above.

  • There will be two properties designated for schools: a middle school and elementary school. The middle school will be sold to the CDA School District at a rate under market value and the other property will be designated for a school based on the laws regarding new development.

  • There will be an 5-acre park and 12-acre park with green space and a meandering road with trees connecting the two school properties. Plus a HOA-maintained green pathway in between this urban development and the existing residential neighborhoods directly to the east.

  • Pledged to reserve 5% of housing to “workforce housing.” Workforce housing professions include: teachers, emergency service providers, nurses, young professionals, etc.

  • Says this new development will bring in 900 new jobs. When asked what these new jobs would be the developer said “professional service jobs” like those at Riverstone. Plus about 100 new jobs that go along with the new schools.



Traffic

A major concern amongst neighboring residents is the traffic this new development will bring to the residential side streets. According to the developer, they have not done a local traffic impact study; those studies will be done at every subdivision phase of the project or every 2 years, whichever comes first. Kootenai Land Co did a KMPO study which takes a look at traffic patterns across the region but doesn’t have the models to look at anything specific. The developer wants the city council to approve the annexation and zone change today….and THEN they’ll look at traffic impact studies once they get into the subdivision/PUD phases.

Also, these phases don’t necessarily have to go in front of the city council; as long as the developer agreement doesn’t change the Planning & Zoning Commission would have final say in getting the subdivisions approved.


Now onto the beast of the Coeur Terre public hearing. There were MANY concerns about the impacts around this annexation and rezoning but here’s the top issues:


  • Quality of life on the existing residential neighborhoods to have increased traffic and high-density housing right next to them.

  • Increased traffic due to using the residential neighborhood streets as arterials into the new development.

  • Property values would plummet.

  • Overdeveloped annexation.

  • Using neighborhood streets for pass throughs into new development.

  • Come to find out that these developers were involved in the “stakeholder discussions” for the 2030 CDA comprehensive plan and impact area was changed to align with applicant’s vision. From what the public was saying that piece of property had been in the original comprehensive plan as an R-1 zone but after the 2030 Comp Plan update it was changed to a high-density, mixed-use area.

  • Traffic impacts were not studied before coming to the city council.

  • Vague wording in the development agreement which allows developers to change things based on market needs without getting approval from city council.

  • Low/medium density, not high density as in the developer agreement.


Once the public testimony was over the council was able to ask clarifying questions and we find out a few interesting facts:

  • Dan Gookin did some calculations and added up how many new residences would be added per zone:

    • R-8: 800

    • R-17: 2500

    • C-17: 873

    • If every residence had 2 cars, there would be over 10,000 new cars driving up and down Atlas and the side streets every day.

  • The transportation department is looking into possibly making Atlas a 4-lane road to accommodate the additional traffic that’s bound to happen.

  • Hanley Ave. will be extended west past Atlas into a 3-lane road.

    • CDA Police Chief White admitted the traffic circle near Skyway Elementary on Hanley sucks and it’s useless during school hours. It’s so distracting when kids crossing the street that the circle gets backed up in each direction.

  • The wastewater collection plant cannot handle the amount waste coming from this new development and then also handle any other new building projects from around the city. The city will have to pay to upgrade their new wastewater collection plant behind Fred Meyer to be able to handle these new developments.

  • Each department head was asked how much this new development would impact their departments. Once this development is completed it will impact:

    • Police: Chief White with a development this size they would need 15 new officers and 2 SROs

    • Parks director Bill Greenwood city personnel 4-5 full time plus seasonal. Probably new equipment $400-500k. At some point they’d need a shop up there too.

    • Fire: would need a 5th station and a minimum of 9 firefighters, a fire engine and all the equipment that comes with that

    • Streets: without seeing the plan of how many crosswalks and sign replacement. Need 2-3 people plus more equipment or it’ll take them longer to deal with roads around town. Potholes/snowplow, etc.

    • Engineering: don’t know if the size of development will affect them too much. Maybe 1 extra staff person at some point but won’t affect them as much as other.

    • Municipal services: will depend on commercial activity and business licensing and short-term rentals.

    • Legal: don’t believe the development will affect their staffing. Hope they don’t sell houses to criminals so their prosecutors don’t have to work more.

    • Wastewater: anticipate expanding collections crew 1 more apparatus and 2 more collections operators.

    • Water: new well will cost $1.5M to construct. Capacity charges will help pay for water structure improvement. Will be paid for by the development. Will look at hiring a couple new operators down the road.

    • Planning: Will need to add 1 more planner, right now they’re still at 1984 staffing levels.

At the end of a 6-hour meeting the city council couldn’t make a decision tonight without having the developer modify their development agreement with resolutions to the traffic impacting the surrounding neighborhoods. The city council voted to defer the decision until the next regular city council meeting (February 21) so that the city staff can work with the developer to get some of those traffic points modified. The city council will then decide whether to move forward with both annexation and zone changes. There will NOT be another public hearing on the matter. Be prepared for the new development to be approved. That’s the pessimistic side of me talking. 😊


Props to everyone who stuck it out at the 6-hour meeting; probably one of the longest the council has had in a while. Also props to the public testimonies, it was some of the best testimonies given in a long time.


From KC Spectator Telegram

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