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Proposed Post Falls land deal targets clean water needs

by JENNIFER PASSARO
Staff Writer | May 29, 2020 1:00 AM

The Planning and Zoning Commission of Post Falls will hold a virtual public hearing on two requests to annex acres with a public reserve zoning designation into the city.

The June 9 Zoom hearing begins at 6 p.m.

The Land App Annexation includes 717 acres generally located east of North Chase Road just north of Crown Pointe; south of West Hayden Avenue to North Greensferry Road; and east of North Greensferry north of the Union Pacific Rail Corridor.

The Community Forest Annexation includes 437 acres south of the Spokane River, west of Q’emiln Park, north of West Riverview Drive, and east of the terminus of South Windswept Trail.

Both locations are intended for future land application of recycled water for the city’s long-term water reclamation plan.

Shelly Enderud, city administrator, said the city has been going through the process of updating its comprehensive plan, including a code in place to handle this type of designation. Enderud stressed that the city wants to be clear about the intent for this property, but that the intended use is still five to 10 years down the road. The city hopes the Community Forest Annexation will also include recreation trails for public use.

Land application irrigates recycled water instead of dumping it directly into the river. Within Kootenai County, the city of Hayden uses land application methods to handle its treated wastewater.

With growth, the city of Post Falls Public Works Department understands that alternative uses for treated wastewater will someday be necessary to comply with Total Maximum Daily Load requirements mandated by the Clean Water Act and Washington state for the Spokane River. Post Falls residents voted to purchase land for application of treated wastewater in the early 2000s.

According to Public Services Director John Beacham, land application has not yet been needed as part of the city’s water reclamation program.

“At some point no matter how clean we make the water, we will be sending too much phosphorus into the river,” Beacham said. “There is a limit on the pounds of phosphorus that can be discharged into the river daily.”

“The city is intending to create Class A recycled water, the highest standard of recycled water” for application over the Rathdrum Aquifer, Beacham said. “Rules governing that application are stricter than anywhere else in the state. It is likely the most regulated application of recycled water in the state given the aquifer and the rules that surround it.”

The Public Reserve Zone accommodates existing and future public uses, such as, but not limited to, governmental, public utility, educational, recreational, cultural, water reuse, agricultural, and environmental.

The city anticipates that the uses allowed may be unique and may involve a combination of uses not permitted outright in any other zoning districts. The PR Zone does not allow privately owned development.

As part of the consideration for annexation, the Planning and Zoning Commission will recommend a Zoning District to City Council for a subsequent public hearing.

Anyone wishing to speak should submit written testimony by mailing to city of Post Falls Planning Division, 408 Spokane St., Post Falls, ID 83854, email comments to phnotice@postfallsidaho.org, or submit comment online at www.postfallsidaho.org/your-government/public-hearings/ and request to join the Zoom meeting.

Written comments should be submitted by June 2. People planning to present documents, maps, or a presentation at the hearing must contact the city by June 2 for presentation guidelines.

For comments after June 2, anyone wishing to submit public comment will need to sign up for testimony at least 24 hours prior to the Zoom meeting for oral testimony. Testimony may be limited to 4 minutes per person.

A complete file on this matter may be requested by the public with the Post Falls Planning Division, Community Development at 208-773-8708, or via email to Amber Blanchette, Planning Administrative Specialist at amberb@postfallsidaho.org.