Condo residents file lawsuit - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Condo residents file lawsuit

Group: Proposed high-rise will cut property values

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Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - A group of downtown condo residents who live next door to a proposed 14-story high-rise building filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city and developer to prevent the $20 million project from happening.

The suit, filed by a group of Coeur d'Alene North Condominium residents called Coeur d'Alene North Home Owners View Preservation, states the proposed project would harm existing residents' property rights and that the city didn't protect their rights when they appealed to the governing body.

"The comprehensive plan for defendant city of Coeur d'Alene asserts to protect and preserve private property rights in the development and implementation of land-use policies and regulations," the complaint states.

It was filed by attorney James Crowe, who also lives in the North condos, and attorney Scott Reed. The two have said for months they would be prepared to litigate should the project applicant, One Lakeside, be allowed to build a high-rise downtown.

"We think we have a legitimate claim," Reed said Thursday. "We recognize it's unusual."

Colorado-based One Lakeside initially approached the city Nov. 1 about the proposed building.

The 14-story residential building would sit on the corner of First Street and Lakeside Avenue, where the current Mudge building is, and would have commercial space on the ground floor.

The complaint states that its construction would destroy views of Lake Coeur d'Alene, Tubbs Hill, City Park and the city of Coeur d'Alene for residents who have lived there for roughly 30 years. It points to a 2012 guideline by Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden on the state's Regulatory Takings Act that says "government is instituted no less for the protection of property than of the persons of individuals."

"I feel a responsibility ... the property rights of Idahoans are enforced," the AG's guideline says.

Reed has estimated in previous interviews that property values could decrease by more than $1 million.

After a series of meetings late last year, the city's Design View Commission approved the project design on grounds that it adhered to the city's downtown building guidelines. North Condo resident Harold Damiano then appealed that decision to the City Council Jan. 14. The city, on advice of its legal counsel, denied the appeal because it only could judge it on design criteria, which it does fit.

But Reed said Thursday, which is also reflected in the complaint, that the city should offer some avenue where residents could have taken their private property concerns as part of an appeal.

Greg Hills, the Colorado-based developer spearheading the project, couldn't be reached for comment Thursday, but has told The Press in previous interviews the company has the resources to handle possible litigation and was prepared to go that route if a suit was filed.

Talk of litigation began as far back as the fall.

He also spoke with some concerned neighbors last year during the design process and altered the design of the building to a taller, skinnier version to impede less of the view. He told The Press during the design review that the developers have been trying "to play nice in the sandbox" with neighbors.

"We always felt, I guess, we had the right to do what we're doing," he said in January after the appeal was denied and he was allowed to get building permits.

The city's legal department couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Deputy city attorney Warren Wilson said during the January appeal that the AG's takings guideline referred to when governments took private property. The issue comes down to a private property owner legally doing what he wants with his own land, and that's not something with which the city should interfere.

"Frankly, it's not a suit I'm worried about," Wilson said at the time.

Reed estimated about half of the 84 units would be affected by the new construction. He said though the residents never secured airway rights above the Mudge building, that does not act as a waiver of their legal property rights. Crowe said the residents weren't offered the chance to buy them.

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  • concernedcitizen posted at 4:22 pm on Mon, Feb 11, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    The problem in CdA though is the Realtors often push the envelope of what constitutes a VIEW. I looked at a place on CdA Ave downtown. The Realtor said in the property had a "LAKE VIEW". I said "What?" I met him there and he showed me the sliver of water that you could see between the buildings down Third Street.

  • Humanist posted at 11:40 am on Mon, Feb 11, 2013.

    Humanist Posts: 3224

    You guys wouldn't recognize sarcasm if it hit you in the face. I was being facetious below. The lawsuit is absolutely ridiculous. The building of the new condo should go on unimpeded and tough dookers for those in CdA North Condominiums. With the purchase of their condo, also came the risk that a taller building could be built between them and their view. C'est la vie.

    Think about it for a minute. Building one goes up. It is one level tall and has a view. Someone wants one-level building two built between building one and the view but that is stopped because building two would block building ones view. And then you would have only building one.......

  • my own opinion posted at 10:51 am on Mon, Feb 11, 2013.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    The value of your condo has most likely gone down in value, and you will have a hard time unloading it now with the new view being built. It is never nice to look at concrete. I'm sorry this is what always happens someone takes cuts in line. Try to move ASAP.

  • hiway90 posted at 8:22 am on Sun, Feb 10, 2013.

    hiway90 Posts: 61

    The only ones who will win are the lawyers involved.
    It will be built and progress and life will go on.
    Could you imagine the precedence it would set for growth
    anywhere if it was allowed to be stopped.
    Money talks and the little people walk...........

  • LTRLTR posted at 1:54 pm on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Jill: Good comments!

  • LTRLTR posted at 1:53 pm on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    concerned citizen: LOL

    Humanist: I can't believe my ears! You actually are speaking against the decisions of our Mayor and Council. Hmm...your joking..right?

  • Jill Heine posted at 10:40 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    Jill Heine Posts: 408

    agree bionic man.

    Where were these lawyers in the 80s when Bloem & Co. conspired to secure downtown core for their private enrichment? Wiggetts is definitely on the outs and getting bullied. Hagadone is getting his wish list fulfilled with the abandonment of the launch and limited traffic on Front St. He'll also get his memorial garden and likely naming rights. Most likely the residents of CDA Towers were duped into voting against the recall. A little sincerity would go a long way Scott - how about a public display of remorse coupled with endorsement of the Caveman Society?

  • Cdajon posted at 10:21 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    Cdajon Posts: 447

    Lawsuits are a form of stimulus. Private equity at work..trickle down economics at work. The american way.

  • mister d posted at 5:03 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    And then you can give it back to the original inhabitants that were here before you.

  • bionic man posted at 2:15 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    bionic man Posts: 347

    Apparently what no one acknowledges or accepts is the fact that CDA has been built around big money. You've got the corruption in city and county government for the past 20 years. Those in "power" were all voted in by " the all mighty dollar." The people ( small people ) are finally taking awarness of what is and has been going on. Unfortunately, until the " money " players are out of the politics and controlling factors, we all will suffer. Now we have a 20mil park that is going on (supposed to be 14mil) extended contracts for officials that are elected by "friends of the upper class", additions to our utilities ( now that they say are legal,) etc,etc,etc. This city definately needs to be renamed " CORRUPT D'ALENE ", and the attracting factor should read.......IF YOU HAVE MONEY, COME HERE TO INVEST......the "smaller people" will make up the difference and carry the future burden. And, if you have investments, " YOU CAN BE VOTED INTO OFFICE " to supplement your income and business.

  • voxpop posted at 2:05 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Better idea: we call Phil Sheridan to come visit you.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 11:12 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    For once I totally agree with Humanist. Lets also tear down the resort, put all of the trees back, kick you white, greedy, poluting destroyers out and give us our land back. ;)

  • heatherfeather posted at 10:51 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    heatherfeather Posts: 297

    Or the mountains. If you want a view, live in a tower downtown, and stop cluttering the mountains with houses until we look like Issaquah. Let the mountains be part of the view.

    Unless there is some precedent concerning "view space", the lawsuit doesn't have merit. I really doubt it will affect property values that much, as location would be a reason to live downtown.

  • Humanist posted at 9:42 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Humanist Posts: 3224

    I meant "torn down" below.

  • Humanist posted at 9:41 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Humanist Posts: 3224

    I think that the Coeur d'Alene North Condominiums should be torn by so that all of the properties whose views they blocked when it was built 30 years ago can get their views back. It's a slippery slope.

  • Cody Wiench posted at 9:14 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Cody Wiench Posts: 355

    I would really hate to see this lawsuit/these idiots cause the developer to pull out and keep the project from happening. This is a good thing. I would rather have people move into buildings on land that is already developed and not have to make any more dull sprawl on the Prairie.

  • wheels1 posted at 8:53 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    wheels1 Posts: 488

    This lawsuit is going nowhere and Scott & Jim know it.

  • ShinobitheDestroyer posted at 8:46 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    ShinobitheDestroyer Posts: 1

    If the adjacent property is zoned in such a way that allows and facilitates the construction of a building that falls within the parameters set forth by the local zoning code, there is no real legal recourse for the residents of Coeur d' Alene North. As a local architect, I have seen this go down before, and it will continue to happen time and time again as building progresses and the community grows. Build the building I say.

    I have spoken.

  • mister d posted at 7:44 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Let the condo be built. It follows all city guidelines and it is no different than the view blocking building they live in. Elitist hypocrites.

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