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County rejects neighborhood’s request for short moratorium

| January 21, 2020 1:00 AM

Kootenai County commissioners denied the Pleasant View Neighborhood Association’s request to impose an emergency moratorium on additional major and minor subdivisions in the small community south of the Spokane River.

The county had considered the moratorium on subdivision and condominium applications based on concerns that sufficient water did not exist to serve both existing and newly created parcels in the area. The PVNA felt that further subdivision development would constitute “an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare of the community” and sought a scientific study to determine the extent of available water in their community specifically.

“Our request is not for a building ban, nor for a ban on drilling new wells,” the PVNA wrote in an October Coeur d’Alene Press article. “It is simply a six-month pause in subdivisions — and only in the Pleasant View area — to give us time to study with an inter-agency group and report back to the Kootenai County commissioners.”

Commissioners Leslie Duncan and Bill Brooks voted to reject the moratorium. Commissioner Chris Fillios voted in favor. However, he wanted to restrict the hold on building for four months instead of six.

“The overwhelming majority of residents who participated, wanted it,” Fillios said. “It would not have restricted ability to subdivide.”

Last Oct. 9, the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners conducted a public hearing to consider whether or not to impose a moratorium on all platting processes in Pleasant View for a period of 6 months.

The board decided to continue the public hearing on Jan. 8 to allow for a broader geographical area of potentially affected property owners to participate.

“[Brooks and Duncan] voted to reject because they didn’t feel that imposing a moratorium would introduce greater hydrological knowledge,” Fillios said Monday.

If imposed, the moratorium would have followed Idaho Code, been temporary in nature, and not exceeded 182 days in length.

“If you spoke with the PVNA, in their minds, those in favor feel they have anecdotal evidence that the abundance of wells in the area are causing wells to under produce,” Fillios said. “But they don’t have scientific evidence. The moratorium would have put a halt to any major or minor subdividing until a study could have determined a result. The question before us, was simply to decide if there was sufficient cause to impose a moratorium. Basically nothing will happen now. The county has decided to not impose the moratorium.”

The commissioners’ meeting last Thursday also addressed several other concerns within the county.

Community development director David Callahan will continue working with a property owner whose parcel sits adjacent to Wolf Lodge Creek.

“The property sits adjacent to the creek and a structure could potentially slide into the creek, presenting some serious issues,” Fillios said.

The structure may need to be torn down or moved. Because the structure poses a threat to the safety and stability of the property, if the owner doesn’t comply with the county’s requests, the county may contract to complete the abatement of the hazard at the owner’s expense.

JT Holdings LLC’s request for preliminary approval for a two-phased major subdivision north of Chilco Road and approximately 2 miles west of U.S. 95 was approved by the commissioners. The subdivision will be the sixth and seventh additions to Lone Mountain Estates and will consist of 41 residential lots on 247 acres in the rural zone. Residential lots in the zone must be a minimum of 5 acres.

“The lots will have individual septics and wells,” Fillios said.

Additions 1 through 5 of Lone Mountain Estates have been approved, but not finalized, according to the county.

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Duncan

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Brooks