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Temporary Victory in Round 1 for Property Rights in Kootenai County, Idaho

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Temporary Victory in Round 1 for Property Rights in Kootenai County, Idaho

“The county planners want to plan our lives and control our property, but they can’t even plan a meeting,” an angry property owner commented at the Kootenai County Planning Commission meeting at the Kootenai County Court House in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Monday evening, June 17. The expressions of anger and exasperation grew as the overflow crowd of nearly 300 tried to pack into a 150-capacity room to comment on the proposed new Unified Land Use Code, a comprehensive rewrite (and vast expansion of) the county’s existing land use regulations, which were already the source of much discontent.

The meeting was the first of a planned four-meeting series that was scheduled to run each evening from June 17-20, with each night covering several chapters of the new 500-page ULUC Draft. Sparks began flying (metaphorically) from the start. The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department came to the rescue a little over an hour into the volatile meeting, informing the Commission that the gathering was over capacity and in violation of the fire code. This spared county officials from more blistering comments from area residents. It also gave Kootenai County residents a reprieve, as Wes Hanson, the planning commission chairman, announced that the meeting would be adjourned and continued in a new series of meetings scheduled at a larger venue.

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