An ordinance approving annexation of the Atlas Waterfront, a 48-acre former millsite east of the city that is earmarked for development, was approved Tuesday by the Coeur d’Alene City Council.
The council approved suggestions by the planning commission to move ahead with the annexation, although an actual agreement won’t be negotiated and approved until later.
The city purchased the riverfront property last May for $7.85 million with plans to open the ground for commercial and residential development and public access to the Spokane River.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, City Planner Hilary Anderson said the importance of adding three miles of shoreline to the annexation plan — including the almost one mile of shoreline that is part of the Atlas waterfront — would allow the city to dedicate funds for shoreline stabilization from the Atlas site upstream to the U.S. 95 bridge. Annexing the shoreline would also place it under the city umbrella for law enforcement and other emergency services.
“We recognize it’s important for fire, for police and also for consistency of code enforcement,” Anderson said.
Docks along the shoreline would fall under the city and state’s jurisdiction.
With the annexation, the city limits would extend along the river all the way from the U.S. 95 bridge to Mill River, Anderson said.
Annexation will also allow the city’s urban renewal agency, ignite cda, to participate in the development of the property, and would add a C17 zoning to the property — at least initially — allowing for development of commercial and 17 residential units per acre.
The approval for annexation was unanimous, but council member Dan Gookin was apprehensive because actual development would be confirmed under a PUD — planned unit development — decided by the planning commission, not the council.
“I am nervous about the PUD process because that doesn’t come to us,” Gookin said. “I have a concern that we may be asking for things now … we have no clue if anything we ask for has been undone.”
Ultimately a PUD is approved at the planning commission level, Anderson said.
City attorney Mike Gridley ensured the council it has ultimate control.
“I would suggest you guys remain in control, and have a tremendous amount of control,” Gridley said. “You dictate everything that happens down there.”
Gookin pushed — and the council approved — a motion to include a provision that the shoreline remain in public ownership in perpetuity.