COEUR D'ALENE, Id. — Neighbors living on a small Lake Coeur d’Alene bay say they’re not giving up in their fight to remove a massive boat garage. They now hope Idaho’s supreme court will step in.
Dubbed “the mistake on the lake” by frustrated neighbors, the privately owned two-story garage holds four boats and isn’t hard to miss on Everwell Bay.
"Get rid of that damn thing," said Allan Measom, whose view is impacted by the large floating garage. "Whoever thought we'd be sitting here today looking at [the garage]?"
According to neighbors, the garage was placed onto Everwell Bay in 2015. Constructed by an adjacent homeowner, the new garage replaced an older, existing boat garage that was only one level.
"Why would you want to do that to your neighbors without consulting them or asking anything?" Measom said. He added that the garage’s owner was unwilling to work with other neighbors to come to a resolution.
Measom and others on Everwell bay have contended that the large garage not only ruins their views of Lake Coeur d’Alene, but also impacts their property values.
"Now, it's changing the current in the bay,” said Roy Newton, another homeowner. “So we have that issue, we have view issues."
Newton also said that the floating garage’s metal roof results in a strong glare from the sun hitting the roof. Its height is also interfering with a wireless signal being sent to Newton’s home.
"That building is so high now, our internet service is blocked," he said.
In 2016, Newton filed a civil lawsuit against the owner and the Idaho Department of Lands, arguing that the new garage was illegally built and without a proper permit.
"We felt like there must have been an error made somewhere," said Newton, who took issue with the newer garage’s second level. Newton had argued that the floating garage was larger than necessary. According to court documents, IDL officials at the time maintained that the garage was built in compliance with a permit issued by the agency.
A Kootenai County judge ultimately dismissed Newton’s lawsuit, saying that Newton failed to show that the boat garage was “illegal.” In her ruling, judge Cynthia Meyer recognized that the new garage is larger and taller than the old garage.
“The change, however, is not significant,” Meyer wrote in her decision. “There was a boat garage in [Newton’s] view from the vantage point before, and there is a boat garage in their view now, albeit a larger one. There remains a beautiful view of Lake Coeur d’Alene with tree-covered mountains in the distance.”
Newton has since filed an appeal with the Idaho Supreme Court.
"Because it's wrong. It's basically illegal," said Newton of his decision to appeal Meyer’s ruling. Newton argues that Meyer’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent and could pave the way for other mega-boat garages on Coeur d’Alene.
"It changes Idaho law," he said. Next week, judge Meyer will also hear a motion from Newton to reconsider her ruling.
When contacted by KREM on Monday, the garage’s owner declined to comment on the dispute, citing pending litigation. The owner did, however, say that the local court’s ruling “speaks for itself.”
Both Newton and Measom said that despite the local ruling and the owner’s stance, they don’t plan on throwing in the towel.
"This is going to go to the Supreme Court and the neighbors are going to fight like hell," Measom said.