North Idaho officials are dubious if much will come of plans for a fortress-like firearms community advertised for our region.
"As far as I'm concerned, it's nothing," Benewah County Commissioner Bud McCall said Tuesday.
The website for The Citadel envisions a vast complex surrounded by a curtain wall, towers and main gate.
The compound would sit on 2,000 to 3,000 acres, the site describes. It would contain 3,500 to 7,000 families living as a "community of patriots in the mountains of Idaho."
Citadel organizers are in the process of selecting an ideal location in the state, the website states. Benewah County is the "first choice" for the development, because of its low population density and residents known for "independence, self sufficiency and patriotism."
According to the website, Citadel amenities would include a munitions factory, target ranges, airstrip/helipad and underground shelter. The self-sustaining complex would also house a power plant, canals, schools, farmers market, houses, jail and more.
Residents would be "proficient with the American icon of liberty - the rifle," the site reads.
Two hundred families have already reserved space in the complex, it also states.
No single individual is behind the project, according to the website - just a group of individuals "working toward a common goal."
Firearms seller III Arms Company, LLC is labeled as the project's economic driver.
Citadel planners have purchased 20 acres for an administrative center in Benewah County, the site notes, just south of Coeur d'Alene. The group is considering a larger contiguous purchase.
McCall said he hasn't heard anything to indicate the development is getting off the ground.
"As far as I know, nothing's really happened," he said.
McCall doesn't believe much development is possible on the 20-acre site by Cherry Creek, he said, which he understands is the property purchased by Citadel planners.
"You couldn't do nothing on that property," McCall said of the forested property he visited.
He doesn't know of any other property purchased for Citadel, he added.
Benewah County Building Inspector Norm Suenkel said no one has approached the building department about anything to do with the development. No applications have been submitted.
An email from email@example.com refused a Press interview request.
The email stated that Citadel organizers are keeping a "media blackout" for now.
Citadel Land Development, LLC was created in Idaho on Nov. 29, 2012, according to Secretary of State records.
The filing party was Holly Kerodin, located in Gaithersburg, Md.
Maryland court records show Holly has been the defendant of several court cases. Christian Kerodin, who shares Holly's Gaithersburg address, has also been the defendant in cases in the Rockville District Court and Montgomery County Circuit Court.
III Arms Company, LLC, which the Citadel website dubs as integral to the project, was incorporated in Idaho last August, according to Secretary of State records.
The company's headquarters are also in Gaithersburg, Md.
The firearms company would raise revenue to build the Citadel complex, according to the project website. The company would also employ compound residents.
If Benewah and other Idaho counties fail as locations for the Citadel community, the site states, alternative locations might be found in Montana, Wyoming or elsewhere.
Land use planning will determine whether a project like the Citadel is possible, said Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene.
He conceded that U.S. citizens are concerned now more than ever about their safety and rights to gun ownership.
"I'm not going to suggest it's a good idea," Goedde said of the Citadel, which he hadn't heard of before a Press call about it. "It may well be within their right to establish this kind of compound, and if they feel more comfortable within walls, more power to them."
A Kootenai County commissioner hadn't heard of the project and declined to comment.
The idea sounds "a little far fetched," said Rep. Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene.
"As long as they do it legally, it's just fine with me," Sims said.
The Citadel website anticipates building a loyal and self-protecting community, governed by Thomas Jefferson's ideals of liberty.
"Sandy Hook would not have happened in our community, once we realize our goals," reads a blog post by Holly. Also, "the perils in the aftermath of Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina will not be able to happen in our community once we are finished building."
An application to become a resident is included on the site, for a $208 fee.
It seems unlikely that independent survivalists would want to be locked up together, observed Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens.
"In my opinion, people who are about right to freedom and right to use guns aren't very likely to sign up for a community with so many rules and restrictions," Vick said. "Freedom-minded people don't typically like that sort of thing."