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Public hearing set for comp plan map amendment on Schweitzer Mountain properties

by LAUREN REICHENBACH
Staff Writer | July 9, 2024 1:00 AM

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with the correct name of the applicant, Schweitzer Mountain Properties.

SANDPOINT — Public comments are being accepted for an upcoming public hearing regarding a comprehensive plan map amendment on seven Schweitzer Mountain-owned properties.

The applicant, Schweitzer Mountain Properties, is requesting that these seven parcels be reclassified from zones Prime Ag/Forest Land, Alpine Community, and Ag/Forest Land to Alpine Community.

“The properties … have a cumulative total acreage of 1,565.44 acres,” the public hearing notice stated.

This request is not for a property rezone, Jake Gabell, Bonner County Planning director, said.

“The comprehensive plan map is different from the zoning map, but they do correlate,” he said. “The zoning district descriptions in Bonner County Revised Code Title 12, Chapter 3.2 describe the characteristics of each zone and which comprehensive plan designation the zone lies within. The application is to modify the comprehensive plan map designation from Ag/Forest to Alpine Community.”

Despite the belief that this request is for a planned “huge condominium project,” the narrative statement indicates that “the vast majority of the lands in this proposal will be used for recreational activities.”

Lance Badger, an employee at Schweitzer Mountain Properties, said the application is merely a proposed correction to the county’s mapping documents to match the existing PUD as well as the associated documents for the mountain.

“We have no plans for ‘a new huge condominium project that takes up the north side of the mountain,’” he said in response to a circulating social media post. “I am always happy to share our plans with those who are interested. My office is in the Selkirk Lodge.”

The goal of this request, Schweitzer officials said in their narrative statement, is to “remedy the split land use designations and include the ‘future expansion’ lands from 1996 into the [planned unit development].”

If this request is approved, officials said they will be applying for a zone change to Alpine Village.

“The Alpine Village District is established to accommodate recreational development in high elevation communities while recognizing the unique and challenging features of mountain communities,” according to Bonner County Code. “The Alpine Village District is intended to provide for a range of housing types and uses that are accessory and complementary to recreational and residential uses. Use of this zone is appropriate in areas designated as alpine community by the comprehensive plan. These are areas of the county generally greater than 3,000 feet in elevation that support and complement mountain recreational activities.”

The majority of these seven properties sit even higher, above 3,500 feet, said Schweitzer officials.

The public hearing is set to be held Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 4:30 p.m. at the Bonner County Administration Building, located at 1500 Highway 2 in Sandpoint.

Written statements on the issue must be submitted to the Planning Department no later than seven days prior to the public hearing. Written statements no longer than one standard piece of paper may be submitted at the hearing itself. Statements can also be submitted to the Planning Department at 1500 Highway 2, Suite 208, Sandpoint, ID 83864, faxed to 866-537-4935 or emailed to planning@bonnercountyid.gov.