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News >  Idaho

High court wants second look at ruling requiring removal of Sanders Beach fence

The Spokesman-Review

The Idaho Supreme Court wants to reconsider its February decision requiring a Sanders Beach property owner to remove a fence used to keep the public off the shoreline.

In a rare move Friday, the court granted property owner Jack Simpson’s request for a new hearing. The justices will re-examine whether removing the fence reduces the property value of Simpson’s waterfront lot.

The February decision, in which two justices dissented, said the chain-link fence Simpson erected in 1997 violates Coeur d’Alene’s shoreline law, which prohibits structures 40 feet from the high-water mark. The ruling declared that the city wasn’t taking Simpson’s land or reducing the waterfront property’s value by requiring the fence to come down.

Simpson’s attorney, John Magnuson, requested the rehearing, arguing that the decision does reduce the value of Simpson’s shoreline and that’s the point the court needs to reconsider. He said the 3-2 decision shows the court was “far from certain.”

The Idaho Association of Realtors filed a friend-of-the-court brief stating that the decision “unnecessarily threatens future sales, purchase and transfers of real property.”

City attorney Mike Haman said the city has until May 10 to respond and then the court will set the new hearing date.

Haman said Simpson’s fence will stay in place until a final decision is made.

Yet, he said, the public can use the beach within Simpson’s fence as long as they are below the seawall because of a separate case.

Retired Judge James Judd ruled last month that the public can use the beach between 12th and 15th streets, including Simpson’s sandy shore, until a final decision is made about who owns Sanders Beach. A trial is set for Oct. 11.

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