Monday, April 12, 2021

PR Council approves three-lot subdivision, grants land to county

Staff Writer | April 7, 2021 1:00 AM

PRIEST RIVER — Council members voted to approve the three-lot Woodland Estates Addition subdivision on Tenth Street at their meeting Monday evening.

While there were some concerns with the development’s drainage and drywall installation, Mayor Jim Martin said the developer has been working with the city to address those issues.

The council also discussed and slated three amendments to Title X of the Priest River Code for adoption at the next meeting.

Those included eliminating the historic district, allowing for the administrative subdivision process of four or fewer lots and allowing carports in front yards.

The administrative subdivision process for four or fewer lots is important, said Bryan Quayle, Planning and Zoning administrator, as many of the new developments are only a few lots.

Currently, all new developments go through council, which can greatly extend the timelines. In a later interview, Quayle noted that the change would help the city respond faster to the increasing need for housing and reduce the demands on the council itself.

“It’s our responsibility to bring these [developments] forward,” he said.

Another item on the agenda, a declaration to convey property at the Happy Agers Senior Center, 336 E. Jackson Ave., to Bonner County, was approved.

The transfer is necessary to create continuity for the city, senior center, and county, Martin said. Currently, the building is owned by the senior center, with the understanding that should the center relinquish the building its ownership will transfer back to the county, which previously owned it.

Meanwhile, the land the building is on is owned by the city. The city previously attempted to grant the land to the senior center but barring that due to state law, the land will instead be transferred to the county before being granted to the center.

The council further approved a water main extension at Mazenko Development, which was approved for tiny homes in 2019.

Several council members noted frustrations with the speed of development, as the project was slated to begin immediately after its approval two years ago. So far, no tiny homes have been built.

“We keep giving them time and they aren’t doing anything,” Councilwoman Candy Turner said.

Martin said he wanted to ensure that the council wasn’t giving the developers years for the replacement of RVs and manufactured homes for it to look the same.

Some of those delays may be attributed to challenges brought in in the past year, Quayle said. Right now, the developers are working on fulfilling the requirements of the conditional use permit. The water main extension is part of that.

“I know some other plans [out of their control] got held up, but don’t take that as an excuse,” he said. “I think if they were to cross some T’s and dot some I’s [they could start building soon].”

Also that night, the council approved a contract with White Diamond Concrete, LLC for pedestrian ramp improvements on Third Street and Highway 2 for $69,970, and temporary construction easements with Ziply Fiber and Campbell 5 LLC for the LHTAC Wisconsin Street Realignment Project.

The council further moved to approve a loan with the state’s Department of Environmental Quality of $1,650,000 at a rate of 2.75% for a 440,000-gallon reservoir and the installation of a new generator.

Of that $1,650,000, $1,075,000 is expected to be refinanced by USDA Rural Development, leaving a total obligation to DEQ of $575,000 to be repaid in biannual installments over 20 years, according to DEQ agreement documents.

The council also moved to waive park reservation fees for the West Bonner Library District’s summer reading program.