Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Carlin Bay project back on track

by Alecia Warren
| June 26, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Sometimes our own standards can be the hardest.

After Kootenai County red-tagged one of its own department's projects earlier this month due to permit violations, it only took a few thousand dollars to bring the job back to code, said Commissioner Todd Tondee.

"It's a shame we violated our own ordinance, but accidents happen," Tondee said. "I could tell you the county responded faster (to the violations) than any members of the public I've seen so far."

The county Building and Planning Department issued a stop-work order on June 4 on a replacement retaining wall being constructed at Carlin Bay, a project permitted to the county Parks and Waterways Department.

The job was tagged for not having construction plans on site, construction without inspections, sediment control problems and building the wall roughly 3 feet too high, said Scott Clark, director of the Planning and Building Department.

"We treat all projects equally," Clark said. "Certainly the county is subject to our own rules."

Tondee attributed the mistakes to oversight that occurred while Nick Snyder, Parks and Waterways director, was out of town when the project started.

Tondee added that the Parks and Waterways Department is rectifying the problem by tearing down the extra height of the wall.

"They're in the process of remedying it right now," he said on Wednesday.

The replacement wall was funded with $71,000 from a state grant and county Parks and Waterways funds, Tondee said, but even with the cost of repairs it looks to come in under budget by about $9,000.

Snyder could not be reached for comment over several days.

Tom Torgerson of Century 21 Beutler and Associates, who visited the site with Tondee, thinks the incident reflects problems with the county ordinance on site disturbance within 25 feet of shoreline.

It's because of that ordinance - which limits shoreline construction to only replacing pre-existing structures - which prevented the wall from being built higher than the original wall.

"The project the Parks Department was building was phenomenal," Torgerson said, pointing out that a higher wall would have leveled the property and prevented higher waves from washing over. "The county needs to understand the complexities with the current site disturbance ordinance and understand there needs to be other available options for each site specifically."

Tondee said he agrees.

"In order for it (the wall) to work properly and to be a great benefit, it should have been higher, but there's no mechanism for us to allow that," he said. "I totally agree it (the ordinance) is too rigid. We're working to get that corrected. But it's not corrected yet, and we have to follow the rules."

Clark said the stop work order has been lifted on the project so contractors can modify the wall. The code violation will be released when the project is remedied, he said.

Greg Peck, vice president of the project's excavator Peck and Peck Excavating Inc., said the wall should be finished next Monday.

"It was just a weird deal. There was just a miscommunication between them (the county departments). It was kind of funny," Peck said. "Some of the strict ordinances, sometimes they're complicated, the way they're put together. Sometimes it's hard to understand 'em."