Future shopping center on the prairie, neighborhood projects are OK
POST FALLS – The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved three projects on Tuesday night.
Two residential subdivisions, Boyd’s Landing and Blue Spruce Meadows, as well as the Prairie Crossing subdivision for a shopping center at the corner of Highway 41 and Prairie Avenue, all received jury approval.
Infill construction, affordable housing options and the increase in the number of commercial businesses in Post Falls were important talking points.
Only two members of the public addressed the commission on Tuesday evening.
The 11-acre Boyd’s Landing Subdivision will be divided into 43 single-family lots equivalent to approximately 3.6 units per acre.
Previously zoned R-1, Boyd’s Landing will consist of single-family dwellings.
Located at the north end of Bogie Drive between Greensferry Road and Cecil Road, when completed it will connect to the Corbin Meadows development to the north.
“I think they’ve done an admirable job creating connectivity,” Commission Vice-Chairman Ray Kimball said. “In terms of development for the future, they have done a very good job; they met the requirements, the lots meet the zoning code for width and height. I think it meets all the approval criteria.
Eight specified conditions were met and approval was granted.
The Blue Spruce Meadows subdivision has been submitted to the commission to modify an already approved plan.
Wildflower Properties LLC had been granted permission to construct 18 duplexes and two twin houses on the land.
Representative Ethan Porter has applied for permission to develop 38 lots of semi-detached homes instead.
Duplexes and twin houses are two separate houses in the same building.
The difference between the two is that of ownership, Porter said.
Duplexes are generally owned by one person, often as a rental investment. A twin house will have two separate owners.
Porter told Commissioners that in this case, the party wall dividing the two halves will be placed directly on the property’s lot line.
“It will be a duplex with just a lot line in the middle,” Porter said. “They are asking for more lot lines but the same number of units in that area.”
The project site spans 5 acres west of McGuire Road and south of Midway Avenue and is zoned for R-2 development.
Commissioner Nancy Hampe said: “I like the idea. This allows them to be owner occupied where duplexes would most likely be rentals.
Commissioner Ross Schlotthauer approved the plan because it “creates other affordable housing options”.
“It’s a victory,” he said.
There were no comments or questions from the public about the project.
Jon Manley, Planning Director for the Town of Post Falls, presented the Prairie Crossing Subdivision.
The 44-acre lot was annexed in 2006 and previously zoned for community commercial use.
Prairie Crossing will be a shopping center with 19 shopping lots. Approval allows the subdivision process to begin.
“Eventually 19 different sitemaps will go through the administrative process over a long period of time,” Manley said Wednesday.
“The real estate developer needs the lots to be prepared so that they can then be marketed to business owners,” he said.
Rumors of retailers already showing interest in the property have been heard, but none have been specifically named.
Local resident Bob Flowers spoke as a neutral part of this plan.
“I like commercial projects,” he said. “More is better.
The problem I have is with zoning this property as CCS. We could end up with a bunch of more apartment buildings than businesses here. “
That’s not quite correct, said Jack Smetana, engineer at Frame & Smetana PA.
“For greater clarity, the zoning is defined at the time of annexation,” he said. “Any type of residential building in CCS zoning requires a special use permit which would require a separate public hearing.”
Planning and zoning commissioners responded enthusiastically to the project, although traffic issues were discussed.
Kimball, an engineer by training, said that “commercial traffic generation is different from residential traffic generation – they are almost opposite”.
Having business development where there isn’t currently will point people in a different direction, relieving pressure from other traffic points that are already having problems, he said.
“I am happy to see construction work on Highway 41,” said Commissioner Vicky Jo Carey. “We would like to keep our dollars here by bringing in some good stores. ”
The land was already zoned for commercial use; the request was to start the subdivision process.
“Without even doing a subdivision today, they already have the right to build a Lowe’s if they want to,” Kimball said. “It’s a little more carefully planned and it’s a long time to come.”
In the eyes of Planning & Zoning, the 13 criteria points were met and the plan was unanimously approved.
Planning and zoning meetings are advertised on the Town of Post Falls website at postfallsidaho.org.