Multi-family proposal near Sysco draws concern

Developer appeals denial of permit to allow 488 apartment units

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POST FALLS - A proposal to include high-density multi-family housing in Post Falls' largest commercial project has opposition.

Foursquare Properties, developer of The Pointe at Post Falls anchored by Cabela's and Walmart on the city's west side, is seeking to build 488 apartment units in phases on 27 acres as part of a proposed 40-lot, 109-acre subdivision. The entire development is 232 acres.

The City Council will hold a public hearing tonight at 6 on the developers' appeal of the Planning and Zoning Commission's denial of a special-use permit for multi-family housing.

Foursquare believes residential development would help support retailers in the project and support the city's goal to create live-and-work communities.

"The super-regional draw and the high intensity of the retail shopping center component in the immediate area to the west will create a need for office and residential uses in close proximity allowing for a more efficient use of the land," the proposal states. "The proximity of housing to this job market will encourage multi-modal transportation options and reduce vehicular traffic impacts on the surrounding roadway system.

"This will also create a more logistical relationship between work place and living place for those residents living/working within the overall development."

But opponents, including neighboring Sysco, believe residential isn't a good fit in the area, especially with the 24-hour truck noise created by the food distributor.

"It has been their experience that when residential moves close to them, conflict arises," said Denny Davis, who represents Sysco.

Sysco also has concerns that a chemical refrigerant leak - unlikely, but possible - could place nearby residents at risk. The planning commission believed the high-density project would also require more police services in that area.

The proposed apartment sites, north of Sysco and east of Beck Road, would have recreational amenities such as greenbelts, pools, basketball courts and indoor fitness buildings.

Meanwhile, Jim Watson, developer of the adjacent Expo project, said he has concerns that Foursquare's proposal for the alignment of Expo Parkway would jeopardize the development of his project.

The council will re-consider the subdivision proposal, which also includes commercial and office space, after the hearing on the special-use permit. The subdivision plan was tabled in December, but the zone change from industrial to commercial was approved. Post Falls code allows residential uses in a commercial zone with a special-use permit.

In other business, the council is expected to pass an ordinance that will decommission the city's Historic Preservation Commission.

The commission was re-created in 2008, but the council decided to decommission the board due to the lack of activities and a reduction in staff resources. The nonprofit Post Falls Historical Society, which operates the museum, still exists.

"We need to maintain our history and work to preserve it, but the commission had difficulty reaching its full potential," city administrator Eric Keck said. "Staff and budgets have been reduced and we need to look at continuing to work with those programs that are successful and meaningful to our residents and discontinue those that are not."

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