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Partnership takes on housing, growth

| April 11, 2021 1:00 AM

REFER: All together on managing growth/Editorial, A4

COEUR d'ALENE — A coalition formed to address housing and growth in the region is inviting organizations and community groups to join the conversation.

“This past year has brought more awareness to these concerns as in-migration numbers and housing prices have increased, and the COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly contributed to the challenges we face,” wrote Hilary Anderson, community planning director, on behalf of the working group members of the Regional Housing and Growth Issues Partnership

The communities of Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, Post Falls, Rathdrum, and Kootenai County, along with Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization, are on board.

“Growth and housing are hot topics and have become daily conversations in our region,” Anderson wrote.

As more people have arrived in North Idaho, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, it has driven up housing prices, increased traffic congestion and is straining infrastructure and law enforcement. Some longtimers say it is changing the character of Coeur d’Alene.

For a number of years, regional planning professionals have shared resources and been in communication about growth management, housing, transportation and have worked together on related planning issues, Anderson wrote. 

The idea for a more formal group was spearheaded by Coeur d’Alene Councilwoman Kiki Miller and Anderson. 

The partnership will include a working group and an advisory group.

The working group will include the four cities, Kootenai County, and KMPO planning staff, along with a few elected representatives and administrators.

So far, it includes Coeur d’Alene Senior Planner Sean Holm, Hayden Community Development Director Melissa Cleveland, Post Falls Councilman Alan Wolff, Rathdrum City Administrator Leon Duce and Kootenai County Commissioner Chris Fillios.

The advisory group will be comprised of representatives from organizations and community groups concerned with growth and housing in the area, “who are willing to work together to come up with possible solutions.”

Some of those invited to join the advisory group include the Kootenai Environmental  Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, North Idaho Building Contractors Association, Lakeshore Property Owners Association and The Press.

The first meeting is expected to take place in late April.