May 11, 2005 in Idaho

Slow response on height ballots

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Sandpoint Fewer than 10 percent of Sandpoint’s registered voters had cast a ballot in the city’s week-long advisory election on building heights as of late Tuesday afternoon, according to City Clerk Helen Newton.

The city has asked residents whether they approve of a proposed ordinance to allow the construction of buildings up to 60 feet in height in four different areas of town. Now, the city restricts building heights to 45 feet.

Buildings in designated areas could be built higher than 45 feet if the owner obtains a conditional use permit, according to the proposal.

Panhandle State Bank wants to build a four-story building at the corner of Church Street and Fifth Avenue – site of Harolds IGA – to house its headquarters, a parking garage, commercial lease space, condominiums and penthouses.

The design exceeds the current 45-foot limit. On Tuesday, the Downtown Sandpoint Business Association issued a statement in favor of the ordinance, but suggested conditions to be added to the ordinance such as requiring builders to preserve “unique and valued viewscapes” and provide for additional parking. Ballots can be cast this week during business hours at City Hall, 1123 Lake St.

Chief Allan chosen in tribal council vote

The Coeur d’Alene tribal council voted 4-3 Monday to name Chief Allan tribal chairman, replacing Ernie Stensgar.

Based on misinformation from Allan, The Spokesman-Review reported Tuesday that Stensgar had stepped down as leader of the seven-member council. In reality, Stensgar, who had been chairman since 1986, was voted out of the position by a majority of the council, Allan confirmed Tuesday.

Allan would not say on the record why he told a different version of events on Monday.

Stensgar, who was re-elected to the council two days before losing the chairmanship, could not be reached for comment this week. Other members of the tribal council did not return telephone messages.

Suspect in pursuit pleads not guilty

A Spokane man accused of wreaking havoc across Coeur d’Alene in a chase two months ago pleaded not guilty in Kootenai County District Court on Tuesday to 22 counts of crimes ranging from eluding police to grand theft.

William E. Pfaff, 37, is being held in the Kootenai County jail on a $1 million bond. He was arrested March 12 after he crashed the fourth vehicle he allegedly stole that day.

The incident began when employees of D&B Farm and Home in Coeur d’Alene confronted a man identified as Pfaff who reportedly left the store with merchandise. Pfaff reportedly ran off with a pair of pants and then allegedly stole a truck from a Fred Meyer parking lot. A chase ensued through fences, across yards and down the Centennial Trail, zig-zagging through Coeur d’Alene to Post Falls and Huetter. At one point, Pfaff allegedly stole a pickup from the Kootenai County Landfill, and employees took up the chase until police resumed their pursuit.

Pfaff’s trial is set for June 6. Pfaff’s court-appointed attorney, Dennis Reuter, said plea negotiations are ongoing.

Agency plans to spray for Asian gypsy moths

The Idaho Department of Lands is planning to spray for Asian gypsy moths this week in the area of State Highway 53 near Hauser.

The pesticide, Bt, only works if the foliage is dry, so the agency’s Bureau of Forest Assistance is watching the weather, possibly spraying Thursday morning, according to the bureau.

Reader boards are up along the highway to notify drivers. While the bureau isn’t planning to close the highway, it has hired flaggers to notify traffic entering the highway while a low-flying helicopter sprays in the area. The spray area is about 600 acres centered on Curley’s Dining Car Lounge on Highway 53. It’s expected to take two hours.

A moth was found near Curley’s in September. It was the first Asian gypsy moth found in the Northwest east of the Cascades.

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