By Zach Hagadone
Sandpoint City Council members voted Oct. 6 to approve the preliminary plat for a 10-unit single-family housing development dubbed Madison Meadows, located just north of Cedar Street and west of Boyer Avenue.
The vote was 5-1, with Council member Deb Ruehle casting the lone dissenting vote. She said, “I’m disappointed that we’re not adhering a little closer to what the wishes were of the people with the Comp Plan,” referring to a number of concerns raised by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which included the development’s plan for a cul-de-sac, which is discouraged though not prohibited under the Comprehensive Land Use Plan — though it has been noted several times by council members, P&Z commissioners and local developer representatives that the Comp Plan hasn’t been updated since 2009.
Another worry about the Madison Meadows project, which is being developed by Coeur d’Alene-based Atlas Building Group, is that while the site is zoned Context Area-3 — enabling higher density residential uses such as multi-family — early indications for build-out on the parcel suggest single-family homes on lots of 5,000 square feet or more.
Prior to the matter of Madison Meadows, Mayor Shelby Rognstad provided the council with an update on the Sandpoint Workforce Housing Task Force, which recently met for its second time since being convened as an advisory board in August.
Rognstad promised “meaty recommendations” coming from the group, which includes area political, business and community leaders, in the coming months, framing the task force as responding to “the challenge in access to housing both in terms of affordability and availability, particularly as we’ve experienced in the past year — it’s been shocking and the talk of the town.”
Though still in the “exploratory stage,” Rognstad said the task force will look at changes to the Comp Plan, which will require “political will and commitment from the community.”
Those recommendations would first be presented to the P&Z Commission, which the mayor referred to as the “superpower that local government has to influence the built environment.”
“Politics isn’t always quick,” Council member Joel Aispuro told the mayor. “It’s not a quick fix; I appreciate you doing this.”
Meanwhile, the city of Sandpoint will hold a series of public workshops to meet and discuss the parks site concepts and proposed sidewalk projects to be constructed with a seven-year 1% local option sales tax, which Sandpoint voters will consider on the Tuesday, Nov. 2 ballot.
Public workshops dates have been added, including evening times:
Thursday, Oct. 7 — Meet with city staff at Farmin’s Landing/Gunning’s Alley at 8 a.m. to learn more about the Sand Creek Downtown Waterfront project.
Friday, Oct. 8 — City staff will be available to talk about the Travers/Centennial/Great Northern Sports Complex at the Travers Skate Park at noon.
Tuesday, Oct. 12 — Take advantage of another opportunity to meet with city staff and discuss the Travers/Centennial/Great Northern Sports Complex project at the Travers Skate Park at 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 21 — An open house workshop will take place at Sandpoint City Hall Council Chambers (1123 Lake St.) addressing all the Parks and Rec. site plans from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. The public is invited to attend at any time during those hours.
More workshops will be announced every week during the month of October to inform the final design and phasing of projects.
For more information, visit the city’s website sandpointidaho.gov.
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