Ron McGhie to KC Community Development - Huetter Bypass LUDC Overlay

Oct 19, 2021


David Callahan Dir.

RE: Huetter Bypass LUDC Overlay


During our phone call last week, I questioned the county's right to put an LUDC overlay zone on property, because it affects the owners' right to build or use their property without just cause. You informed me that the project has been studied for years and the overlay zone was common in Idaho. You stated that you just copied the LUCD wording from the HWY 41 project to use for the Huetter LUDC.

When I told you I have not received any public notices since I purchased my property in 2015. You informed me that you notify owners though the KEEPING KOOTENAI web site. Having never heard of the website, I started reviewing it. I have asked over 100 people and less than 5% have even heard of it. The public is not getting this valuable information because they don't know it exists.

After studying your website, I found out that you failed to mention to me that you had the existing Kootenai LUDC Ordinance amended on Sept 9, 2021with ORA 21-0001 and ORA 21-0003. These amendments changed the overlay timeline from 180 days with a 180-day extension to a 2-year timeline with a 1-year extension.

You were very disingenuous when your presentation to the County Board was "the ordinance is a housekeeping measure and makes the language cleaner." With no other public testimony "The Board of County Commissioners agreed they had no issues with ordinance amendment as it makes the process easier." I would like to know if you pointed out that the amendment changed the timeline from 180-days to 2-years with possible extensions or if the Board just accepted your recommendation.

Until the completion of the environmental review process, the proposed Huetter Bypass corridor location is only a KMPO's recommended location that might never be approved by ITD. I must point out that this project is not currently funded and might never be funded. It would be unconscionable to approve the Huetter Bypass LUDC Overlay Corridor and have the location never approved or the project not being built. More input from the community is needed before it is passed without a just cause.

In your April 8, 2021, Growth Management Strategies Report, you stated


To engage more of the community you should do the following:

  1. Mail notices to all property owners within 500 ft of both sides of Huetter for all public meetings. This 500 ft. is far less distance than the potential noise and air pollution will travel. This public notice should also inform the owners of the existence of the Keeping Kootenai website that could be used for additional information.
  2. A picture is worth a thousand words, I therefore request that you have the proposed Huetter Bypass LUDC overlay put on the County GIS. (KC EARTH). The property owners should be able to see the location of this bypass and overlay in relation to homes and landscaping. KMPO can not furnish a map showing the location of the overlay zone in relation to their property.
  3. As a retired GIS Coordinator, I can appreciate how much money the County has spent developing this system. It would be a waste of public money not to use it for the public good at this time.
  4. You should postpone the proposed LUDC Huetter public meeting until the community has 30-45 days to review the important Keeping Kootenai information and see the overlay on the KC Earth. You should then have a special public input meeting to hear the people's opinion before this project overlay is just pushed through.

I have read "you are in an unsustainable development pattern with no end in sight." I realize the frustration, however, you must make the time and take the action to get the public opinion now. You are spending their money and many feel the Huetter Bypass is not necessary and the money should be used on more cost effective projects that are actually needed.

I attended a ( group meeting on Oct 14, 2021. This group is active and growing. The input I received was, a high-speed bypass is not needed or cost effective, the KMPO and Planning/Zoning are not listening or responding, the Commissioners are not getting the whole picture and the obvious environmental concerns are not being addressed. One of the biggest complaints and concerns was using COVID FUNDS for the study. I am sure the KMPO, Kootenai County ITD, State and the Feds will hear a lot more from this group in the near future.

This group impressed me as being very logical. I believe they are aware that the growth and traffic problems are real and something has to be done. People drive and see these problems every day. They know how important freight traffic is because they eat, buy and use the products that are delivered. Their children need schools, parks and playgrounds. They want to protect the prairie, the water aquifer and environment in general. They are very concerned with noise and air pollution. They know their local, state and federal taxes must fund the above and realize there is not enough money or time to do everything. They feel strongly that this is a poor location to install a high-speed corridor and Want A Chance To Be Heard!

My personal opinion is Kootenai County needs

  1. Two East/West corridors should be updated. (Hwy 90 & Hwy 53) They are only 3 to 9 miles apart. Hwy53 would be an alternate route if Hwy90 is blocked.
  2. Three North/South corridors should be upgraded with less stop signals. Hwy 95, Hwy 41 & Pleasant View are only 5 miles apart and could handle the N/S traffic
  3. An airport expansion should be considered. The Huetter Bypass would hinder the expansion to the west.
  4. The property on both side of Huetter between Prairie and Hwy 90 should remain residential. A high-speed corridor in the area is ridicules!
  5. I but do not want to see the maintenance of HWY 95 through town become a local expense. The following May 13, 2021 KMPO Board meeting comments are of great concern!
    1. "Mr. Miles said he had discussed the corridor with ITD staff in Boise last week and that they are more comfortable taking over the corridor with the idea that it would become the alternate US-95, Appleway Avenue to Boekel Road would be turned over to local jurisdictions as a local road/business route."
    2. Mr. Damon Allen, said the Huetter corridor project is unique in that it is local road. KMPO has been lead agency in starting and planning the Huetter corridor in general. ITD has partnered with KMPO and would until such time the ITD Board designates it as a state route, he commented on the possibility of US-95, agreement, being turned over to the locals.

To recap, I again request you postpone the overlay zone meeting to get more public input or consider putting the project on the ballot again.

I would appreciate a timely response to this letter.

Thank you for your time.

Ronald C McGhie

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