The state of Idaho has rejected a request by a lakeshore homeowner to extend a dock from Coeur d’Alene’s Sanders Beach.
Installing such a dock in a widely used swimming area would endanger the swimmers, according to the seven-page ruling signed Friday by Nick Krema, deputy Idaho attorney general.
Jerry Frank, 1415 E. Lakeshore Drive, intended to build a 6-foot-wide wooden dock that would have extended 20 feet from the shore, according to the permit application he filed two months ago with the Idaho Department of Lands. The agency must approve any structures or modifications involving publicly owned waterways.
Although one of Frank’s neighbors supported the request, his other neighbor, the city of Coeur d’Alene, was against the dock. The city also protested on grounds that it only learned of the permit earlier this month and not in time to hold a public hearing.
The city was entitled by law to be given a notice, said City Attorney Mike Gridley.
“This would have created a probable infringement on the public’s use of the waters,” Gridley added. “If he puts up a dock, the next guy puts up a dock and you’re certainly not going to be wading there anymore.”
In rejecting the application, the state’s attorney compared the situation with a dock request made nearly a decade ago by a homeowner in front of City Beach. The City Beach dock spat eventually made it to the state Supreme Court, which ruled the existence of a public swimming area is grounds for denying a dock permit.
Sanders Beach, like City Beach, is encircled by navigational buoys aimed at keeping swimmers safe. Unlike City Beach, however, the public’s access to Sanders Beach is now widely restricted following a September ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled private property on the beach begins at the summertime high-water mark of 2,128 feet above sea level.