Developers have not solved the basic problems with the Beauty Park subdivision, neighbors say.
Although it’s smaller and more upscale, they say, it will overwhelm already crowded schools, make traffic unbearable and reduce property values.
The Coeur d’Alene Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a hearing on the newest proposal today at City Hall at 6 p.m.
The subdivision is located between Thomas Lane and Shadduck Lane just off 15th Street. Most of the 70 acres is owned by Harry Magnuson and his Coeur d’Alene Land Co.
In the past, Coeur d’Alene Land has tried unsuccessfully to have the property annexed under conditions set forth in a 1910 subdivision plat. That would have allowed more than 900 lots as narrow as 25 feet on the 70 acres of land.
After several rejections by the city, Coeur d’Alene Land is proposing to drop the number of home lots to 312, change the name of the project to Bentwood Park, and make other modifications. The zoning would change from county agricultural to residential with five lots allowed per acre.
Coeur d’Alene Land and the Magnusons also are proposing they sign a planned unit development agreement, which offers “a guarantee that the property will be developed this way,” said Jean DeBarbieris, the city’s associate planner.
Despite the changes, neighbors are expected to turn out in force tonight to protest the subdivision. Their homes are zoned for three lots per acre and if the higher density is allowed at Bentwood Park, it will hurt their property values, they say.
“They are cramming the maximum amount of houses into it,” said Dee Jameson, a real estate broker and a neighbor. “They aren’t creating a neighborhood, they are creating a housing project.
“I just don’t believe we are going to let our guard down and let this happen,” Jameson said.
Larry Baker, also a neighbor, says the fight is not over. “I don’t think anybody is opposed to the development as long as they do it right,” Baker said.
But he already has to have his children bused to Bryan Elementary at Harrison Avenue and Ninth Street because the closest school is too crowded. Bentwood Park will only exacerbate that condition, he said.
He also fears it will hurt his property values. And traffic, already bad, will be horrible, he said.
“We have lived here for 15 years,” Baker said. “They have built a ton more houses and 15th Street remains unchanged.”
Brad Marshall, a private planner working for Coeur d’Alene Land, points to several positives. The new version of Beauty Park will have 8-1/4 acres of open space - about 12 percent of the entire development.
The development will be phased in over seven years, so the population increase will be gentle. A preliminary traffic study shows no adverse affect, Marshall said.
The developer will pay to rebuild part of 15th Street, Shadduck Lane and Thomas Lane, he said. And they are proposing an elementary school on the east side of Bentwood Park that would help the entire neighborhood.
Coeur d’Alene Land doesn’t want a zoning density of three lots per acre because it increases the cost of the homes beyond what is selling well in the city, Marshall said.
The land now is in the county, making it legal to discharge fireworks and firearms there, even though its surrounded by the city, he added.
With this project, “the city has the opportunity to annex and control the density of land in their city already,” he said.
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