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1,800-home development called ‘precedent for future’

No decisions were made Monday night about a massive new development in Hayden that could expand the city’s population by more than a third.

Before the Hayden Planning and Zoning Commission could conduct its public hearing on Hayden Canyon, it had to move the meeting from City Hall to Hayden Meadows Elementary School and push back the start time from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate the 250 people who showed up.

Yet by 8:40 p.m. only a few people had a chance to comment. One frustrated man passed around a note that read “stonewalling” to express his frustration about the slow pace of the meeting that included a presentation by Hayden Planning Director Lisa Key about policies for annexations and changing the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which is the foundation for all land-use decisions.

The developer, Hayden TND, is asking the city to change the Comprehensive Plan to allow five homes per acre and annex the 618 acres off Lancaster Road into the city limits.

The commission must approve those changes before considering plans for the proposed development that could put 1,800 homes on the property along with shops, restaurants, a community center and performing arts center.

The commission was expected to continue the hearing at another date, which wasn’t available by late Monday. It also will have a separate public hearing on the development plans.

Glen Lanker of Artios, a Spokane-based architectural firm that is a partner in the development, told the audience that Hayden Canyon is different from any other proposed development in North Idaho.

“This is a precedent for the future as the area faces tremendous growth pressure,” Lanker said.

Hayden Canyon is different because it is a “new urbanism” development that clusters a variety of styles of homes together to leave open space, encourages walking, and has a clear community center. Hayden Canyon’s focus would be the natural canyon that traverses the property and the wetlands, which comprises about 260 acres of the property.

Commission members questioned the impact the development would have on traffic, sewer and schools.

Lanker acknowledged that an overpass at the intersection of Lancaster and U.S. Highway 95 was needed before Hayden Canyon could go past the fourth of its eight stages. Each phase is expected to include about 200 homes.

The developers, who include Michael Harris and Ronald Hazard of the Stonehill Group and private investors Jeff and Lisa Kuntz of Colbert, Wash., are working with the school districts to mitigate the expected increase in students, and plan to include at least one school in the development.

David Clements, a Coeur d’Alene artist, said he liked the concept of Hayden Canyon because it would foster an art community.

Project opponents hadn’t spoken by late Monday, but some residents have indicated that they are concerned about extra traffic on already congested roads, further escalation in property taxes and the destruction of wildlife habitat.


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