When the state tried to auction off the rights to lease two brand-new, lakefront lots on Priest Lake a week ago, the auction was a flop – no one bid. It was a disappointing test case for the state Lands Department, which was proposing new lease terms to see if they’d fly, including rents double those charged now for people to build and occupy cabins on state-owned lots. The two new lots would have rented for 5 percent of appraised value a year, instead of the current 2.5 percent. But the failed auction was a big success for the existing cabin owners, some of whom have had their family cabins for generations. They hailed it as a sign that the state’s pushing costs too high, and opening the door to shoving them out and making Idaho’s state-owned lakes into a private preserve for the ultra-rich. Idaho officials aren’t sure yet what to think; they’re mulling over the results, the real estate market, their constitutional requirements to earn maximum returns from state endowment lands to fund schools, and more. Read my full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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