City seeking input on UI property

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(Photo by MARY MALONE)Sandpoint Planning and Economic Development Director Aaron Qualls gives a presentation at the University of Idaho Boyer Avenue property this fall. A pair of open houses will be held Monday and Tuesday as well as a workshop on Tuesday.

SANDPOINT — The city of Sandpoint is seeking community input and ideas on the future potential of the 75-acre University of Idaho owned property on Boyer Avenue.

The university notified city officials this past fall of its intent to sell the property and made a commitment to do so in a way that aligns with the priorities of the community, said Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton.

To that end, the city, through its Planning and Zoning Commission, embarked on a community engagement/input process in September 2017. This process was kicked off with a series of public workshops and hearings that resulted in a subarea update to the city’s comprehensive plan which was adopted by the City Council on Dec. 6, 2017.

Public opinion indicated that the community is generally interested in the following principles:

• The site should continue to provide some level of recreational opportunity and community facilities;

• The property should support economic development activities and job growth, particularly at its northern and southern ends and along Boyer Avenue;

• There is an opportunity here to alleviate the community’s tight housing market through targeted development;

• Any future use should protect sensitive habitat and shoreline areas and educate the public on their importance; and

• Development should reflect historic use of the site with respect to education and agriculture.

While the Comprehensive Plan amendment was an important first step, Stapleton said city officials would like further input to inform what the site should look like, how it can best take advantage of open space, and how it should relate to the surrounding streets, neighborhoods and the broader region.

A public survey is now open and available on the city’s website at sandpointidaho.gov/uofi. This is the first project using the city’s new public engagement tool, Open Town Hall.

“We encourage our residents and the broader community to register on our site to use this new tool and provide your input on this important project,” Stapleton said. “Registration will have you signed up for future surveys, including a citizen satisfaction/prioritization survey which will be launched in the next month.”

In addition to the survey, two studio open houses will be held on Monday, Feb. 5, from 12 p.m.-7 p.m.; and Tuesday, Feb. 6, from 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; at the former Truby’s Health Mart site, 113 Main St., in downtown Sandpoint. The City’s Planning & Zoning Commission will also hold a workshop at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 in Sandpoint City Council chambers.

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