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Coeur Terre gets green light

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | October 12, 2022 1:09 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A proposed 442-acre annexation and zoning change received unanimous approval from the Coeur d’Alene Planning Commission on Tuesday.

Commissioners said the development would provide much-needed housing in an appropriate area targeted for growth.

“I see this as well-planned,” said commissioner Jon Ingalls.

Commissioner Phil Ward agreed.

“This is the type of development we need,” he said in the Library Community Room, with about 50 people in attendance.

The project will next go to the City Council for consideration.

The Kootenai County Land Company is planning Coeur Terre, a project that calls for a variety of about 2,000 housing units, businesses, shops and restaurants, 18 acres of parks, 4 miles of trails and land for two public schools.

The property is north of Interstate 90, south of west Hanley Avenue, east of Huetter Road and west of Atlas Road.

The commission made its 6-0 decision shortly after hearing about four hours of testimony from representatives of the applicants, city officials and about 15 residents.

The undeveloped land is zoned agricultural suburban. The zoning change allows for residential and commercial development.

Buildout is expected to be over 20 to 30 years. The entire project is more than 1,000 acres and could eventually house about 4,500 families. The remaining acreage sits to the west of Huetter Avenue, within Post Falls city limits.

Several residents of next-door Indian Meadows said the development could ruin their peaceful neighborhood and urged the commission to reject it or require it to be reduced in scope.

“Please keep our neighborhood as inviting as it is now,” said Sharmon Schmitt, who lives on Arrowhead Road. “Please protect our trees and our property.”

Their road, which dead-ends now, is a calm, safe area where kids play, adults walk dogs and seniors work on yards. It is listed as one of the connectors to Coeur Terre and could be widened. Opening it up would create a flood of traffic, said Don Schmitt.

He said he doesn’t oppose the development in general, “but I wish they’d go around us rather than through us” with traffic.”

Don Webber of Arrowhead Road asked if it was “absolutely necessary for traffic to be routed through our neighborhood. Certainly some other solution can be found without ruining our neighborhood.”

He suggested the commission reduce the project's density.

“Please don’t sacrifice one neighborhood for another,” he said.

Robert Knutson, who lives on Appaloosa Road in Indian Meadows, wrote, “This is a beautiful area and a great place to live. There is a great need for more affordable housing in the area, so I understand that growth and development are unstoppable. Please use restraint in growth so that the quality of life of existing residents will not be so immediately impacted by this development.”

Maggie Lyons, executive director of the Panhandle Affordable Housing Alliance, supported the annexation request.

She said the Coeur Terre would help make it possible for workers to afford homes.

Planners said 5% of the housing will be affordable workforce housing.

“This is how we make the homes available in the quantities we need," Lyons said.

Brad Marshall, senior project manager/planner with J-U-B Engineers, said the project was 10 years in the planning.

It included extensive outreach with open houses, surveys, interviews, as well meetings with fire, police, health and education officials.

He said they would do their best to incorporate concerns of Indian Meadows residents and review the access points of the project, which include ones off Hanley and Huetter.

“We respect their neighborhood,” Marshall said.

He said the site has been in the city of Coeur d’Alene's Area of City Impact for 30 years. It has level land and sufficient water and sewer services are available.

He said the project is estimated to provide 900 new jobs, generate $4.5 million in property and sales tax revenues and will be a total $2.5 billion investment into the community over buildout.

Besides the economic benefits, it will meet the area’s critical housing need, he said.

“We’re trying to bring a product to market that’s affordable for our workforce,” he said.

Commissioner Lynn Fleming encouraged developers to work with Indian Meadows residents to reduce possible impacts on their neighborhood.

She also said more housing is needed and Coeur Terre provides it.

“I think the annexation is brilliant," Fleming said.

photo

Brad Marshall, senior project manager/planner with J-U-B Engineers, addresses the Coeur d'Alene Planning Commission during the hearing on the Coeur Terre annexation and zoning change request on Tuesday.

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