Hearing set for project along river Builder plans 870 apartment units

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COEUR d’ALENE — A public hearing Tuesday will address a zone change allowing for an 870-unit development at the River’s Edge site west of the city’s newly acquired former Atlas Mill property.

The city’s planning commission, at the 5:30 p.m. public hearing at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, will consider a zone change from a high density residential (R12) zone to a broad range commercial district (C17) that permits wholesale or retail, as well as heavy commercial in addition to residential development at a density of 17 units per acre.

Developer Lanzce Douglass wants a special use permit to allow for 34 units per acre at the site. The very-high residential zoning would allow him to build four-story apartment units on the approximately 28-acre parcel along the Spokane River.

Current zoning allows for around 200 residential units, along with commercial properties such as a shopping center, convenience store and gas station at the site.

Douglass told the city in an earlier meeting that although building a retail complex on his property between Mill River and the former Atlas Mill site isn’t prohibited under current zoning, he wants to incrementally build — over a period of several years and depending on market conditions — an 870-unit apartment complex if the zone change is approved.

An earlier hearing on the measure was postponed pending the outcome of a traffic study. High density residential properties are usually located adjacent to arterials and neighbors fear the development along Seltice Way — along with the city’s planned development of the Atlas site — will punch up congestion on surrounding arterials.

Neighbors are also concerned the development isn’t suited for the river corridor, said Coeur d’Alene resident Ruth Pratt, who plans to attend Tuesday’s hearing.

“It’s an environmentally sensitive piece of land, and traffic in this congested area would be hugely impacted,” Pratt said.

A draft of the city’s $88,000 traffic study paid by ignite cda, the city’s development company, is expected to be completed this month.

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