Providence Park hearing Wednesday

SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners are scheduled to rule on a contested 39-lot subdivision in Kootenai on Wednesday.

A public hearing on the Providence Park planned unit development is set for 2 p.m. at the Panhandle Health District’s conference room at 322 South Marion Ave.

The county Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the project following a hearing last month despite concerns raised by neighboring landowners and the Kootenai City Council.

Local developers Jeff Bond and John Gillham seek to subdivide a parcel on the west side of Providence Road into lots ranging in size from 5,280-10,043 square feet. The project is being billed as affordable housing.

A traffic impact study indicates the development will generate more than 300 trips per day, which will require the developers to add a left-turn lane on Highway 200 and widen a stretch of Providence Road.

Opponents of the project contend it is too dense, making it incompatible for their rural neighborhood, according to Planning Department records.

Project critics also maintain that it will inundate the neighborhood with traffic and overwhelm Kootenai Elementary School and law-enforcement services.

The lack of sidewalks or pedestrian trails through the development is also drawing objections.

The project application was submitted prior to the adoption of Bonner County’s latest land-use code, which requires such amenities. City officials have urged the county to require pedestrian facilities, but Planning Director Clare Marley said the county cannot impose such a requirement.

“There is so much more that this development could be for our community,” Jeanelle Shields wrote in an Oct. 24 letter to county officials.

“The way it is isolated and concentrated does not make it community friendly.”

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