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Fate of Foxtail goes to commission

Thu., Aug. 2, 2007

POST FALLS – After being rebuffed by a county hearing examiner and the city of Post Falls, the developers of the proposed Foxtail subdivision will now ask Kootenai County commissioners to approve their plans.

Hayden LLC, the developer, must first persuade the commissioners to re-zone 280 acres of land – on the Rathdrum Prairie outside Post Falls’ city limits – from agricultural to restricted residential.

Commissioners will hear public comments on the project at a second public hearing set for 6 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Kootenai County Administration Building in Coeur d’Alene.

In mid-July, a hearing examiner hired by the county found reason to deny the re-zoning request, which is an essential prerequisite for construction of the high-density subdivision.

Examiner Lisa Key ruled after a July 5 public hearing on the matter.

The land in question is sparsely populated, predominantly farm and pasture land. Cattle, horses, sheep and hay are part of many of the home sites.

But Key found a zoning change would adversely alter the area’s rural complexion and would be inconsistent with the city’s law and the county’s comprehensive plan.

In her July 15 report she also wrote, “The proposed zoning amendment … does not appear to be ‘reasonably necessary or appropriate.’ “

Should the zoning be changed, up to five houses per acre could be built in the Foxtail housing development. Under its current classification, the region can have no more than one house per five acres.

The proposed housing development is outside Post Falls’ city limits. Post Falls does not annex areas unless they’re within city limits and connected to the sewer system.

Developers asked the county to rule on the issue after its request was rejected four times by the city of Post Falls. Because of that, developers have filed a suit against the city.

Key’s decision is advisory, and Kootenai County commissioners can override it.

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