P&Z approves Coolin Marine permit change

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SANDPOINT — A conditional use permit modification for a controversial boat storage business in Coolin sailed through a Bonner County Planning & Zoning hearing on Thursday.

The commission voted unanimously to amend the permit to prohibit landowner Bruce French from using Highland Drive to access his business, Coolin Marine. French imposed the condition upon himself in response to concerns lodged by neighbors.

The permit modification clears the way for a broader effort to bring Coolin Marine into compliance with local land use codes.

“It will allow staff to cue up the rezone again,” said Marty Taylor, a land use planner who represented French during the P&Z hearing.

The proposed rezone would replace the parcel’s suburban designation with rural service center. A hearing date on the rezone request is pending.

Coolin Marine has been a source of consternation for neighbors for more than a year. The bootleg commercial use of the residential parcel drew objections.

Though Thursday’s hearing was confined to the narrow matter of parcel access, a neighbor continued his campaign to oppose the project.

“This has been completely clear cut,” Chuck Willits said, referring to French’s parcel.

Willits added that the permit amendment will not actually stop French from using Highland, although commissioners noted that the permit would come back under review by P&Z if there were violations.

Commissioner Trevor Kempton moved to approve the permit modification and Suzanne Glasoe seconded. The motion cleared P&Z by a unanimous vote.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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