Don McGhie to David Callahan - County Seeking Public Input on Huetter Corridor Zoning
Mr. David Callahan
Kootenai County Community Development Department
451 N. Government Way
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83514
Subject: County Seeking Public Input on Huetter Corridor Zoning
Dear Mr. Callahan:
I am providing public comments on Kootenai County’s proposed Huetter Cooridor Zoning Ordinance posted October 5, 2021, on the Keeping Kootenai website.
The purpose of the overlay zone clearly states in the draft ordinance that it "is to facilitate the future development of a new divided highway connecting Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 95 . . . with the intention to A. Preserve property likely to be acquired as right of way for the new highway; . . . and C. Preserve the integrity and functionality of the highway." Further, your website states "the project has been in the planning stage for 20 years." That the aim is "to preserve property that may need to be acquired for right of way and . . . keep the cost of property acquisition for the project as low as possible." These actions amount to an inverse condemnation action being disguised as police power.
The project is still in the planning phase. It has not been approved by the Idaho Transportation Commission, a Resolution of Necessity has not been issued, and the KMPO Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2020 – 2040 identified that the project is scheduled to be designed in 2040. The draft ordinance state in 8.3.405: Setbacks that "No portion of any structure shall be built or expanded so as to encroach within one hundred feet (100') in any direction from the Huetter Corridor." The net effect of this ordinance is to remove land entitlement rights so property cannot be developed and to devalue the property by making it illegal to develop the land for the use it was originally purchased.
The Huetter Corridor project in itself seems to be an ill-conceived project. I understand it has been in the planning phase for the past 20 years, is scheduled to continue to be in the planning phase for the next 20 years, and be built sometime in the 2040’s. Pushing a project forward just because it’s been in the works for 20 years, even though better alternatives exist, seems a poor excuse to continue moving the project forward. Putting a 6-lane expressway through the middle of residential and agriculture property makes no sense. Commercial and industrial corridors are generally planned and located along major transportation routes, not residential areas. The fundamental problem that public agencies need to focus their attention on is all the stop lights located on U.S. Highway 95 and 41. What you are proposing for the Huetter Corridor can just as easily be done on U.S. Highway 95 and 41. Matter of fact, expanding U.S. Highway 41 in the same manner proposed for the Huetter Corridor makes the most sense. U.S. Highway 53 should be relocated farther south of its existing location, closer to Lancaster Road, so that it provides an east-west freeway connection between U.S. Highways 41 and 95 closer to the airport. This provides the communities with logical commercial and industrial growth along U.S Highways 41 and 53.
Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Please add me to your notification list for all upcoming projects. Notices can be sent to -redacted-.
cc: Kootenai County Board of Commissioners