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‘3.0 is a win-win’

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | August 14, 2020 1:08 AM

Rivers Edge goes to Cd’A Council

In a trio of votes, the Coeur d’Alene Planning Commission gave developers a nudge closer to the finish line Tuesday night in what has been a long and arduous process to begin construction of Rivers Edge.

“Tonight,” city administrator Troy Tymesen said, “we bring to you a proposal that has been collaborative in nature with Rivers Edge Apartments. It has the support of the mayor and council.”

One vote approved a land swap between a lightning bolt-shaped strip of land and a triangle of property, which essentially consolidates Rivers Edge developers with an unbroken piece of land on which to develop.

“We are very enthusiastic in support of this program,” Tymesen said, “and it’s been a few years in the making.”

The commission allowed the special use permit to R-34 on 3.6 acres, an amendment to the PUD that would ultimately allow 384 total units. Shoreline units will have a height limit of 30 feet, while apartment units farther away will have a 45-foot limit. Rivers Edge has already been approved for 384 units, but those units would have been fractured apart in two separate sites were it not for the land swap.

Tuesday marked the third time Rivers Edge has gone before the city’s Planning Commission. The project has gone through multiple hearings and attempts before the public, the Planning Commission and City Council, dating back more than 12 years.

“This is Rivers Edge 3.0,” commissioner John Ingalls said. “If I was going to write tomorrow’s headline for the paper, I’d write something like ‘Third time’s the charm’ or ‘3.0 is a win-win.’ And it really is a win-win, as we’ve heard tonight. This is a better project for the city and the citizens and for me when I pedal down that bike path and go down to the waterfront. It’s a better project for the city and the citizens, but it’s also a better project for the developer.”

Ingalls compared the move to filling a pair of doughnut holes to offer the city and its residents two complete projects.

“To take two different doughnut holes, you each have a doughnut hole, and you each have a chance to make your piece a better hole, and that’s called synergy … This is an example, in my mind, of a developer working with the city. And sometimes it takes three iterations — 3.0 — to get there, but we’re in a much better place with 3.0 than with 2.0.”

The three votes approved a special use permit on the railroad right-of-way to allow construction to begin unimpeded, a modification to the Rivers Edge PUD to accommodate the new designs, and the modification to the Rivers Edge preliminary plat, affirming that the city’s requirements have been met.

After the vote, Todd Whipple, president of Whipple Consulting Engineers and the lead engineer who has spearheaded the Rivers Edge project, was thankful for the green light.

“We just appreciate the commission taking the time,” Whipple told The Press. “Like the commissioner said, this is Rivers Edge 3.0. I know this has been a long process, but we’re thankful the city has taken the time to evaluate the proposal and make their recommendations.”

The matter now goes before City Council for a final vote.

photo

An outline of what Rivers Edge developers look to build, provided the Coeur d'Alene City Council follows the planning commission's recommendation to approve a land swap to consolidate the site. (Courtesy CDA TV)