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State to hold hearing on controversial commercial development at Wolf Lodge Bay

UPDATED: Thu., July 23, 2020

This area of Wolf Lodge Bay could be developed by North Idaho Maritime to be used as a staging area for docks and dock building equipment.  (Kathy Plonka)
This area of Wolf Lodge Bay could be developed by North Idaho Maritime to be used as a staging area for docks and dock building equipment. (Kathy Plonka)

Those for and against a controversial new commercial development at Wolf Lodge Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene will have an opportunity to make their case on Thursday during a public hearing, where the state will hear testimony before deciding whether the project can move forward next month.

John Condon, brother of former Spokane mayor David Condon, is applying on behalf of his company, North Idaho Maritime, to build a commercial pier and dock on the bay’s shore, on land owned by the John and Gaila Condon Living Trust. The dock would be built off Highway 97 on a small outcropping just east of the Mineral Ridge Public Boat Ramp.

The dock, which is planned to be 100 feet long and 10 feet wide, would mostly operate in the summer. Barges and other will would use it when transporting dock-building materials and equipment.

At the hearing Thursday, the state of Idaho’s hearing coordinator will hear Condon’s case to build an encroachment on a public waterway. The hearing coordinator will also hear testimony from neighbors, many of whom oppose it, and an environmental group.

The proposed commercial dock attracted hundreds of comments last year when Condon applied to change the property from a residential zone to a commercial zone. Kootenai County held several hearings on the change but ending up not voting after the county discovered the area had been incorrectly labeled as a residential zone instead of commercial zone due to a mapping error in the 1990s.

According to public comments already submitted, those living around the lake and in Kootenai County argue the dock will be detrimental to eagle and salmon populations, the natural beauty of the area and those recreating in the area.

One commenter, Kootenai County resident Vaughn Paragamian, called the project an “eyesore” and said he feared the dock would impact osprey, bald eagles and other wildlife.

“We need to protect what we have as more people move in because of the area’s beauty and outdoor opportunities,” he wrote.

Some, including a few neighbors, wrote in support of the dock.

Nick Snyder, director of Kootenai County Parks and Waterways, wrote a letter in support, saying the county relies on local marine contractors to provide construction and repair services to county-owned recreational facilities and that it was important they have access to waterways.

After the hearing, the Idaho Department of Lands will have 30 days to decide if the commercial pier and dock meets its requirements for encroaching onto a public waterway.

Members of the public will be able to sign up to testify all day Thursday and at the 6 p.m. meeting  by sending an email to comments@idl.idaho.gov. They can also call into the meeting by dialing (669) 900-6833 and entering the code 98839401575#.

For more information about the hearing or to find the Zoom video link to attend the meeting, members of the public can go to www.idl.idaho.gov/case-no-ph-2020-pub-22-002-north-idaho-maritime-john-condon-applicant/.

People who do not have internet access or the technology needed to attend can go to the Coeur d’Alene Department of Lands office at 3258 W. Industrial Loop to watch the Zoom meeting in a conference room. Due to social distancing requirements, only 34 people can attend at that location.

This story was updated Thursday, July 23 to include the time of the meeting.

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