Fences OK on Sanders Beach

City Council unanimously approves measure

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COEUR d'ALENE - It's an agreement that, well, might be a first.

Getting the city of Coeur d'Alene and Sanders Beach homeowners to agree on property rights along the beach front has been difficult for the two sides over the last four decades.

Until Tuesday.

The two sides agreed to an amendment in the shoreline ordinance between 12th and 15th streets on East Lakeshore Drive that will allowhomeowners to build fences down to the summer lake line between public and private properties.

"That might be the first time the council has been in total agreement for Sanders Beach," said Mayor Sandi Bloem after the City Council unanimously approved the agreement Tuesday during its meeting.

The agreement will put an end to half a dozen litigations between owners and the city, including disputes over whether homeowners could petition for dock permits next to public swimming areas, as well as installing temporary fences. Under the agreement, owners won't build docks, so the public can keep its swimming area.

The city's shoreline ordinance doesn't allow property owners to build 40 feet inland from the shoreline, marked at the 2,128 foot elevation level. The amendment would make the exception specifically for the Sanders Beach neighborhood, between 12th and 15th streets on E. Lakeshore Drive, which has battled with the city in the courtroom over private property vs. public beach rights for roughly four decades.

Those fence lines would run perpendicular to the beach shore.

"Thank you," said Jerry Frank, E. Lakeshore Drive homeowner. It's time to "put an end to 40 years of conflict and lawsuits."

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