June 2, 2010 in Idaho

High court rejects luxury Chateau de Loire development

Ruling likely means end of housing and golf project on east side of Lake Coeur d’Alene
By The Spokesman-Review
 

The long saga of a French-themed, luxury housing development proposed for the eastern side of Lake Coeur d’Alene appears to have come to an end.

On Wednesday, the Idaho Supreme Court shot down the Chateau de Loire development, upholding a Kootenai County 1st District Court decision. The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners had twice denied the project, which was to include an 18-hole golf course and 500-unit residential housing community on 578 acres near the entrance to Beauty Bay State Park.

Attorneys for Kirk-Hughes Development have three weeks to file for rehearing. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling was unanimous that “Kirk-Hughes failed to appeal the decision of the district court that its substantial rights have not been prejudiced.”

The ruling said that a party challenging the commissioners’ decision would have had to show not only that they made a mistake but also that the developer’s rights had been violated.

“The only claim by Kirk-Hughes that its rights have been prejudiced was written in a conclusory manner and located in the conclusion of its brief,” the ruling says, going on to say that the court will not consider issues cited on appeal that are “not supported by propositions of law, authority or argument.”

Robert Freilich, the Los Angeles-based attorney for Kirk-Hughes, could not be reached for comment.

The county commissioners rejected the first proposal for Chateau de Loire in 2006, then voted unanimously against the project in 2007 after determining it was incompatible with its proposed location. In the District Court decision, Judge John Luster found the commissioners showed evidence for their concerns about the project, which included insufficient water service, potential disturbance of wetlands, and erosion from steep slopes.

Kirk-Hughes had argued that the county’s decision was “arbitrary” because a similar development had been approved, but Luster rejected that argument.

“Obviously we’re pleased. We felt the decisions were well-founded,” commission Chairman Rick Currie said. “But in that process, people have the opportunity to question those decisions. It’s just part of the process. More often than not, we are upheld.”

Bev Twillmann, a spokeswoman for a neighborhood group that fought the development, called the Supreme Court ruling “great news.”

“The facts were there. That’s why it gets continually denied,” Twillmann said. “They have to put faith in the people making these decisions if the rights of the individuals haven’t been violated, and they haven’t.”


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