Diamond Cup gets state permit

Organizers press on despite sheriff's decision

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COEUR d'ALENE - The Idaho Department of Lands on Friday approved an encroachment permit for the Diamond Cup hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene.

"The IDL permit is unquestionably the most important permit" the race organizers need to acquire before the Labor Day weekend event, said John Magnuson, a Coeur d'Alene attorney representing the Diamond Cup organizers.

He said the permit is good for three years.

In February, organizers applied for the permit to deploy ecology blocks, removable pilings, EZ Dock, and concrete anchors in the lake to facilitate the races. A public hearing was conducted June 10.

"IDL has determined that the navigational and economic benefit of the proposed activity outweighs any minimal adverse impacts to commerce, navigation, fisheries or other wildlife habitat, or public recreation," Brandon Lamb, hearing coordinator for the department, wrote in his recommendation.

Tom Schultz, the department director, agreed with Lamb's findings.

"I conclude the hearing coordinator's recommendation is based on substantial evidence in the record, and I adopt the recommendation as my decision in this matter," Schultz wrote in his decision, signed Friday.

Magnuson said race organizers on Monday anticipate receiving another important permit, this time from the Idaho Transportation Department, which must approve use of Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive.

Additionally, Kootenai County must approve a special-event permit for Diamond Cup's use of the Silver Beach area.

Organizers complain that their event is being required to acquire more permits than events like Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

"We are being singled out without a rational basis," Magnuson said Friday.

Already, organizers were informed by Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger that he won't approve a marine permit for this summer's event.

Still, they're pressing on, hoping something changes.

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