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Sanders Beach Decision Leads To Claim Against City

Thu., Feb. 26, 1998

A Sanders Beach property owner filed a $234,823 claim against the city on Wednesday for blocking his lakeside construction plans.

But the Joseph Chapman family would rather negotiate than sue, said attorney Ed Anson.

“We are not set in concrete that this is it,” Anson said.

Joseph T. and Francis Chapman and their son, Joseph H. Chapman, filed the claim to preserve their right to sue in case they can’t reach some agreement. But “we’d like to head to the conference room,” Anson said.

City Attorney Jeff Jones said he could not comment on the claim.

The Chapmans are one of several property owners on East Lakeshore Drive who own a residential building lot on the north side of the street and a separate lot south of the street next to Lake Coeur d’Alene. The Chapmans’ claim alleges that their beachside property was worth more than $200,000 when the city issued, then rescinded, the permit for a house foundation.

The Chapmans also want to recover more than $34,000 they say they spent on the project, including $9,000 worth of services from Joseph H. Chapman’s design company.

The city spent seven months contemplating the building permits, giving it plenty of time to figure out that the permits violated city ordinances, the claim says.

The city created “an unreasonable risk of harm to the Chapmans” by issuing the building permit,” the claim continues.

But the city’s subsequent revocation of the building permit amounts to a taking of private property without compensation, the Chapmans’ claim says.

Beyond that, the city has allowed various construction on the beach since it passed a 1928 ordinance that supposedly prohibits projects like the Chapmans’. That includes Sid Smith’s construction of a house in 1965 and a concrete seawall as recently as last October, the claim said.

The easy solution is repealing the ordinances prohibiting Chapman’s project, Anson said. If the city would rather prohibit building on lots like Chapman’s, “they should be prepared to pay.”

But “hopefully there’s a solution that can be worked out,” Anson said.

The Sanders Beach Preservation Association sued the city in September after Coeur d’Alene officials issued the footing and foundations permit for Chapman’s house. As soon as the suit was filed, the city issued a stop-work order.

In October, Kootenai County District Court Judge Gary Haman ruled the city shouldn’t have issued the building permits under ordinances passed in 1928 and 1965.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo


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