Resort plan near Farragut dropped
Hearing examiner had opposed rezone; residents sought to protect rural lifestyle
Stimson Lumber Co. has withdrawn plans for a luxury golf resort on 1,500 acres near Farragut State Park.
Andrew Miller, Stimson’s CEO, notified Kootenai County’s planning department late Thursday that his company wouldn’t pursue a rezone for 477 homes and an 18-hole golf course on the timbered property. About 150 residents who opposed the rezone had planned to attend a Thursday night public hearing, which was canceled.
William Bishop, a California developer, wanted to buy the property from Stimson and develop the resort. But Bishop and his partners withdrew their offer after county Hearing Examiner Rebecca Zanetti recommended against the rezone in February, saying the golf resort wouldn’t be compatible with the rural character of the surrounding area. Stimson chose not to pursue the project independently.
In an interview this week, Bishop said he thought an “anti-growth” attitude would have hampered the project’s hearing before the Kootenai County commissioners.
“We proposed bringing a $100 million development to the county, and they turned us down,” Bishop said of Zanetti’s recommendation.
Neighbors characterized the project’s withdrawal as a victory for rural lifestyles.
“This community feels that this type of development doesn’t belong in this area,” said Cindy Oswald, who runs Westwind Ranch, a 200-acre horse farm adjacent to the Stimson property.
Oswald and her husband, Bob, moved to their ranch 13 years ago, after encroaching subdivisions made it difficult to keep horses at their former home on the outskirts of Hayden. Cindy Oswald helped rally opposition to the project. She and other neighbors met weekly at the Bayview Community Center to plot strategy.
Neighbors said the cluster of 477 high-end homes would set a bad precedent, plopping a suburban-style development at the edge of the Kaniksu National Forest, which borders part of Stimson’s 1,500 acres. Farming activities on other adjacent lands, such as tractors running at dawn, or noisy logging operations, would lead to inevitable conflict, they said.
“There was enough well-organized opposition to this that Stimson will study it a little further,” said Hal Keever, a consultant for the Portland-based company.
He said Stimson will explore other development options for the land within the current zoning, which allows one home on each five-acre parcel.
Stimson owns 90,000 acres of North Idaho timberland. Company officials said the 1,500 acres near Farragut State Park is no longer viable for commercial harvest.
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