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Mica Bay residents oppose dock

Fri., Sept. 21, 2007

Many Mica Bay residents oppose plans for a 12-slip private dock, which they argue would create congestion and safety concerns, especially with two neighboring youth camps.

About 30 people attended an Idaho Department of Lands public hearing Wednesday to voice concerns about the private community dock that would provide waterfront access for the 12 homes in the Mica View Estates. The upland homes, which aren’t yet built but were approved by Kootenai County this spring, don’t have direct access to the water except through one unbuildable shoreline lot adjacent to Gould’s Landing, a county boat launch.

Developer Denny Ryerson of Phoenix, who is building a waterfront home next door to his subdivision, plans to transform the unbuildable lot into a beach park for the Mica View Estates homeowners. The proposed 147-foot dock would connect to the park.

“It’s a fundamental property right that belongs to the owners of the property,” said Coeur d’Alene attorney Jim Magnuson, who represents Ryerson.

Idaho has permitted 54 private community docks on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Magnuson said.

Yet neighbors, including representatives from Camp Lutherhaven and Camp Sweyolakan, worry about the congestion, especially in the bay where children learn to canoe and kayak.

“This particular project is ill-conceived … and a threat,” said Emmy Michaelsen, who lives down the bay. Michaelsen and her neighbors dislike what they call a “keyhole” marina where multiple nonwaterfront homes get access to the lake through one waterfront lot.

“It’s not a benefit to the lake,” said Patrick Murphy. “It’s just benefiting a select few homeowners. It adds to the privatization of the lake.”

Adding to the alleged safety concerns is a brick wall Ryerson built to separate the Mica View Estates property from the county boat launch. Neighbors worry that the wall will make it difficult for people launching boats to see water traffic coming from the neighboring community dock.

County Planning Director Scott Clark said the wall extended below the high-water mark and that the state is working with Ryerson on a mitigation plan.

Magnuson said the wall was built incorrectly because of a survey mistake.

The Department of Lands is expected to make a decision within 30 days.


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