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Coeur d'Alene City Council approves plan to help the city's development

The proposed ordinance will authorize the city to enter into development agreements for land use approvals such as annexations, conditional zoning, and other permits

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The Coeur d'Alene City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that is expected to help management development, as reported by our news partners, the Coeur d'Alene Press.

By a 4-0 vote, Christie Wood and Dan English were absent, the council adopted a new municipal code chapter entitled "Development Agreements" that will in essence be a binding contract between land developers and the city.

Hilary Anderson, community planning director, said it will be beneficial to both parties as it will clearly spell out requirements.

"This is an excellent tool," she said.

The proposed ordinance will authorize the city to enter into development agreements for land use approvals such as annexations, planned unit developments, conditional zoning, special use permits with density increases, and associated subdivisions "to outline specific conditions and public benefits."

Those conditions could be height restrictions, design criteria, conservation requirements, provision for roads, open space and workforce housing.

It also outlines terms, timelines, enforcement, termination, procedures for amendments and fees.

Anderson said the city does not have development agreement authority, while Kootenai County, Post Falls, Hayden and Rathdrum do.

She said the City Council would be the "ultimate authority" in the process.

Anderson said the agreement is voluntary, and the developer could decline to sign it, but their project would not move forward. That prompted councilman Dan Gookin to refer to it as "an offer they can't refuse."

A draft of the proposal was sent to the the Regional Housing and Growth Issues Partnership, North Idaho Contractors Association and Coeur d'Alene Regional Realtors and received support.

The city has seen rapid growth in the past few years, with rising housing costs, and some calling for the city to take a stronger stance on development.

Gookin asked if this could help with the open-space issue.

"We're hoping that it will," Anderson said.

Anderson said development agreements are preferred over annexation agreements for outlining conditions of approval.

She said annexation agreements are limited in scope and "cannot apply to planned unit developments, conditional zoning, special use permits with density increases, and associated subdivisions."

She said development agreements have been in effect since 1991 in Idaho and since the 1980s in other states.

"The city benefits by having a mechanism to enforce promises associated with the approved development/land use request," Anderson said.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our partners, click here.

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