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Another shot

by Alecia Warren
| December 10, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - A proposal to expand an Athol bed and breakfast into a shelter and therapy center needs more tweaking before it can go through, the Kootenai County commissioners decided on Thursday.

The officials voted unanimously that Cedar Mountain Farm's request for a conditional use permit amendment will be sent back to the county hearing examiner, so the applicants can nail down every aspect of the long-term project.

"I'm willing to send it back to the hearing examiner to ferret that stuff out, instead of denying it, so you don't have to go through a whole new submittal," Commissioner Todd Tondee said to the applicants, Farm owners Darryl and Al Kyle. "I think this is a great proposal. But we do have a couple problems. The detail is not where I think it needs to be."

The commissioners lauded the intent behind the proposal to expand Cedar Mountain Farm Bed and Breakfast, which would include adding two lodges and 14 cabins to shelter folks in need.

The Kyles have said the individuals would help farm on the property's 440 acres while getting back on their feet.

An RV park would also be added, as well as an equine therapy center for emotionally and mentally challenged individuals.

"I think the (proposed) facility is something needed in the county," said Commissioner Rich Piazza.

But Tondee said aspects of the project were vague, like the phasing of the plan, the location of RV restrooms and whether RV wastewater would be sent to Spokane for treatment.

"While we do have a letter from Spokane saying Spokane will take it, Spokane in their letter said they didn't like it," he said.

Tondee also worried that any obscurities would affect the project that is slated to span up to 40 years.

"We're (working on) the Comprehensive Plan that isn't for 40 years, but we get all kinds of issues because it's not detailed enough," he said.

The commissioners had granted the couple a conditional use permit in 2002 to operate a commercial resort on their property.

Commissioner Rick Currie wondered if the expansion was appropriate at all.

"I see this time and time again, when people come in for a conditional use permit on their property, they get the OK from their neighbors and it's great, and then down the line, they want to expand that," Currie said. "I understand what they're trying to do, but that's a step beyond where they had been."

Tondee pointed out that several neighbors have written to the county in support of the expansion.

"A lot of the community is in support of this, and there are reasons they are," he said.

Darryl Kyle, whose family has owned the Athol property for more than three generations, said she and her husband, Al, were happy to comply with any necessary changes.

"We want the project to come to fruition," Kyle said.

They hope to get the project off the ground in 2012, she added.

"I appreciate that the commissioners thought this was a valuable project for our community," Kyle said.

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