Eye On Boise

Rare moment of agreement on cabin-site issue

Idaho's state Land Board discusses a new process for setting land values for state-owned cabin sites at Priest Lake, in a rare moment of agreement between the state and cabin owner groups. Still at issue are rents for the sites. (Betsy Russell)
Idaho's state Land Board discusses a new process for setting land values for state-owned cabin sites at Priest Lake, in a rare moment of agreement between the state and cabin owner groups. Still at issue are rents for the sites. (Betsy Russell)

Idaho's state Land Board has adopted a new valuation policy for state-owned cabin sites on Priest Lake, in a rare moment of agreement from all sides on this issue. The state uses Valley County assessments to value cabin sites on Payette Lake, but has been using a five-year rolling appraisal process, plus an indexing process for non-appraisal years, for the 354 cabin sites at Priest Lake. Now, it's switching there to a process more like what the U.S. Forest Service uses for its federally owned cabin sites on Priest Lake: The cabin sites will be divided into 25 groups that are similar in land value, and just one site from each group will be appraised each year, with a different site chosen the next year. As a result, only 25 appraisals will need to be conducted each year, at a total cost to the state of $20,000 and a substantial savings over trying to reappraise all the sites every five years.

That doesn't do anything to settle the larger dispute: How much to charge the cabin owners in rent for the state-owned ground underneath their cabins. That issue is currently the subject of an Idaho Supreme Court lawsuit - in which Attorney General Lawrence Wasden sued the Land Board, on which he serves, for what he said were state constitutional violations in setting rents too low - and cabin owner associations are contemplating their own legal action because they contend the latest rent proposals adopted by the Land Board are too high. At issue there is the percentage of value that should be charged each year in rent; today's agreement is just on how the value is set.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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