By Zach Hagadone
Members of the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission voted Aug. 2 to recommend approval of a preliminary plat request from Carousel Holdings, LLC., which is planning to build 25 single-family housing units as Phase II of the Boyer Farms subdivision.
The property is on about five acres north of Woodland Drive and connected to Samuelson and North Boyer avenues by an extension of Jersey Street. The lots are predominately 50 feet or more in width and between about 6,700 and 8,600 square feet in area.
The dwellings and supporting infrastructure will connect to Phase I of the project to the west, bringing the total number of units in Boyer Farms to 49, according to Spokane-based developer Kelly Carroll, who added that homes in the subdivision will be in the 1,500- to 2,400-square-foot range and likely no higher than one story.
“We set out looking to do some stuff in Sandpoint several years ago and felt that this type of residential neighborhood would be good for this particular property,” he said, adding that he grew up in Spokane and has been coming to North Idaho “for years and years.”
The Boyer Farms property is within the residential multi-family zoning district, and Commissioners Slate Kamp and Mose Dunkel both asked Carroll whether his firm had considered a multi-family development and, if so, why it opted for single-family.
“It’s our understanding that there’s quite a bit of multi-family coming online — particularly to the west of us. Our expertise, with our partners, we felt most comfortable with single-family,” Carroll said. “It’s a really good use of that property, as opposed to apartment buildings. … All I heard from realtors was that Sandpoint needed more and more single-family residential.”
Boyer Farms would have been built in one phase, if not for a traffic impact study that required additional time to conduct. That study found 508 net new weekday vehicle trips, which the analysis determined would not substantially burden the existing roadway infrastructure nor require any off-site improvements to handle the increased traffic.
Dunkel raised some concern about the cumulative strain all along the North Boyer corridor and its surrounding areas, which has seen an explosion of housing developments both big and small in recent years.
“I don’t think this project is going to push it over the limit, but I feel like at some point Schweitzer Cutoff, Woodland Drive, Great Northern, are going to have capacity issues,” he said.
“At some point all these projects, once built out — and especially to the west and the northwest, and to the east and further to the east, all around, I guess — I don’t know if there’s a plan for what the traffic flow will look like, but I think it will be considerable,” he added. “It’s on the horizon, if projects like this keep coming up and stacking up, or bigger projects.”
Sandpoint Director of Infrastructure and Development Amanda Wilson told Dunkel that the city looks at all known developments that are in the pipeline, and performs what’s called a concurrency analysis to get a handle on how future growth will affect capacity.
Normally that analysis is performed looking at a 10-year timeframe, but Wilson added that due to the surge in growth, “no later than five years is what we have adopted.”
There was no testimony during the public hearing portion of the meeting, and Commissioner Luke Omodt moved to recommend approval of the Boyer Farms Phase II preliminary plat to the City Council, albeit with two conditions: no driveways are to be constructed onto Samuelson Avenue and a development agreement provided to the council is to include terms and conditions related to public infrastructure improvements, as is standard. Commission members agreed unanimously.
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