OPINION: Riverstone resident refutes Atlas development warning

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Planning Commissioner Lynn Fleming’s opinion piece June 14 was of great interest as I am one of those who lives in a non-Craftsman home in the Riverstone stockyards.

Having come from a traditional 2,600-square-foot house into a modern contemporary home of just over 1,700 square feet, I can attest to the livability of both the house and the neighborhood. My home is built to be extremely energy efficient, is certified as an energy saver and meets federal clean air standards. The design and construction require fewer natural resources than a Craftsman home built in the traditional style. Commissioner Fleming claims the builder chose “to privatize and disconnect” the homes from the surroundings. She describes the fence as “view blocking, sight obstructing, air-circulation choking” resembling, she says, “Fort Worth style stockyards.” The commissioner’s comment makes me question whether she has ever been in the existing PUD development — or seen a stockyard.

The homeowners here are not isolated in the least. Many selected this area because of the setting and the ability to walk to restaurants and shops, as well as the access to Riverstone Park and the Centennial Trail. We are not without views.

The homes proposed for the new PUD have smaller footprints than those previously built next door but are ideal for young people starting out, empty-nesters and those who like the area. They will be much more affordable than an “elegant solution like Belle Rive (sic).”

Being a PUD means that the homeowners, and not the other taxpayers in the city, paid for the roads, for maintenance and such things as snow removal, landscaping and care of the common areas. The fence protects the common areas, paid for through the community’s Homeowners Association. Without the fence, our common areas would get the overflow from the park, as well as the Centennial Trail.

Commissioner Fleming criticizes the builder for taking “PUD codes to the minimum level.” I believe the city sets the standards for a PUD, not the builders, so Commissioner Fleming should have more influence in setting the standards than a builder.

It is disturbing that Commissioner Fleming seems to be concerned with fences that may, or may not, be built in the Atlas development. It would seem to some of us that the massive overbuild advocated by ignite cda is a greater and more immediate concern. Atlas, as proposed, offers far more benefits to private developers than the community at large, a claimed result that Commission Fleming believes happens with the Riverstone PUDs, yet would appear to accept in the Atlas redevelopment.

Perhaps it would be helpful if those serving on the Planning Commission looked at the projects they approve after construction from the inside rather than just drive past or walk by on the perimeter. That might help the commissioners approach future applications with more information and fewer preconceived judgments.

• • •

Glenn Avery is a Coeur d’Alene resident.

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