BoCo planning staff: Camp Bay Road vacation ‘is in the public interest’

Hearing scheduled for Dec. 19

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

Bonner County Planning staff has issued its staff report on a file proposing the vacation of Camp Bay Road, set to be discussed at a Monday, Dec. 19 hearing where Bonner County commissioners will vote once again on the application from developer M3 ID Camp Bay, LLC. While the staff report does not list an official recommendation to commissioners, the conclusions of law state that staff finds the abandonment of the public right-of-way “is in the public interest.”

The Dec. 19 hearing, slated for 9 a.m. at the Bonner County Administration Building, will mark the third time commissioners have heard the file, which requests that the last 2,550 feet of Camp Bay Road be vacated to M3. The board ruled that the vacation was in the public interest in April 2021 — a decision that was ultimately remanded back to the commissioners after Camp Bay Road residents Fred and Jennifer Arn petitioned a judge to review the decision.

Supporters of recognizing public access at Camp Bay Road gathered for a barbecue in February 2022. Photo by Keith Bansemer.

The county heard the file again in February 2022 and denied it, with the commissioners conceding that they weren’t sure whether the road provided public access to Lake Pend Oreille. M3 petitioned a court for review of that ruling in March, and in September, a judge remanded the file back to the board again.

Now, commissioners will hear a revised version of M3’s road vacation proposal, this time including a “natural dirt trail measuring between four feet to six feet in width” which would lead from the end of the road’s new proposed public endpoint to a piece of beach access.

In its hearing notice, Bonner County said the Dec. 19 meeting “will focus solely on the proposed walking path and its impact on the public interest in the proposed vacation.” 

“Validating the terminus point of Camp Bay Road is not the intended purpose of this hearing,” the notice continued, “and the Bonner County Board of Commissioners will not consider evidence or testimony offered on that topic.”

In a staff report now published on the county website, planners did not offer a recommendation. However, the conclusions of law point to staff finding the vacation in compliance with state and county code.

The report states that “it should be noted that” state laws surrounding road vacations “contain no standards or requirements against which staff can evaluate the public access walking path proposed by the applicant, either as a stand-alone proposal or in concert with the proposed vacation.”

“This evaluation and decision are at the discretion of the elected Board of County Commissioners,” the report notes.

The staff report and other files associated with the proposed vacation of Camp Bay Road can be viewed at

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.