PacWest backs out of Lakes meeting,cites zoning problems

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

PacWest Silicon, the company behind the controversial Newport smelter project, will no longer be presenting at Thursday’s Lakes Commission meeting due to zoning troubles with Pend Oreille County.

Mike Welch, a representative for the company with Thompson Consulting, said that until the county amends its Comprehensive Plan to “reform the current county zoning laws,” PacWest is unable to apply for a conditional use permit. Welch said this affects the “overall timeline of the project” and prompted the company to cancel their presentation, which would have entailed an overview of the proposed silicon smelter.

“Unfortunately, we have offtake agreements that incorporate stiff financial penalties if deadlines are missed,” Welch told the Reader Tuesday. “Given the inability of the Planning Commission to act, all ‘outside activities’ have been canceled to focus on internal discussions and planning for the immediate future.”

In a statement Monday, the Lakes Commission apologized for any inconvenience the PacWest cancellation caused and encouraged people to attend the meeting for the remaining scheduled presentations from Idaho Fish and Game, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.

The meeting is slated for 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, at the Priest River Event Center: 5399 US-2, Priest River.

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.