Saturday, December 09, 2023

Commissioners should protect people, not developer's profits

| September 21, 2023 1:00 AM

Bonner County’s broken planning and zoning system is tearing our community apart. The proposed Providence Road subdivision is an example of this conflict, with developers wanting to do as little as possible yet asking for access to our public services while the surrounding neighbors expect protection from flooding, fires, and traffic congestion. It seems that our state statutes and comprehensive plans should guide a process aimed at reasonable compromise, but they are being ignored.

This project would not be allowed if Sandpoint followed its comprehensive plan directive to “deny extension of urban service in ACI for low-density development.” State statute advises “encourage development within incorporated cities.” In prior proposals, Sandpoint agreed to provide water conditioned upon annexation to Kootenai. Why has Sandpoint now agreed to provide water without this condition?

This doesn’t pass the smell test, yet no commission has called foul. Communities will be negatively impacted by this dereliction of duty. Is this how our commissioners protect the public welfare?

Sandpoint needs to follow its comprehensive plan and require this development be annexed into Kootenai before providing water. The resulting integrated community would benefit all. Higher sale prices for the developer and a better quality of life for those who live in it. A better development would have people dying to get into it. As such, they’ll be dying trying to get out.

Our commissioners should be looking out for the health and safety of the people, not the profit of the developer.



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