Coeur d’Alene Can Easily Accommodate Higher Density Housing
The River’s Edge Apartment Homes development in Coeur d’Alene is situated along Seltice Way between Atlas Road and the US Bank Call Center. It encompasses about 26 acres of riverfront property and is currently slated for both commercial and residential uses. Construction is already underway for 384 apartment homes, and the city has also approved the construction of 28 single-family homes on the riverfront portion, as well as a public storage facility.
The River’s Edge Project has gone through several iterations of city approvals. One of the issues that seem to come up fairly often is the feeling some residents express that there is too much housing being built in Coeur d’Alene and that the River’s Edge development in particular, for some reason, will result in overcrowding the schools, the roads, and the City.
More Housing is Needed in Coeur d’Alene
First of all, while one can certainly appreciate that people want to preserve the small-town feel of the Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls communities, the building of more housing in the area is not happening in a vacuum. The housing supply in the area is woefully inadequate. If Coeur d’Alene simply limits the construction of housing, it will cause a host of other problems that are more serious than increased population density.
If the construction of housing is limited, housing prices will continue to rise sharply. This trend can price many of the young people and families who grew up here out of the market. It can even encourage local residents to “cash in” on the boom and move out of the area. Both of these trends will displace locals with people from outside of the area who do not have ties to the community. It will also make it much harder for local businesses to find employees, who need affordable local housing. This can force local businesses to close or to raise prices just to hire and retain workers. In other words, a lack of housing has repercussions throughout the local economy.
But second, and more importantly, the idea that Coeur d’Alene cannot accommodate more housing or more residents is not really true. Yes, the area is experiencing a bit of a population boom, but the city, state, and even the federal government have made important strides in updating local roads and infrastructure to accommodate the growing population.
The River’s Edge Development Will Not Overtax the City’s Infrastructure
The River’s Edge development is spread out over almost 26 acres of property. In the next few months, the developer will be seeking a special use permit from the City of Coeur d’Alene to change some features. The most significant change will be to replace the row of 28 single-family homes with a 40-foot wide public-access riverfront esplanade, with a landscaped trail, beach access, seating areas, and picnic tables. Some boat slips for apartment tenants to rent will also be added.
Construction will be shifted along the riverfront from a 40-foot setback to an 80-foot setback, to accommodate the public trail and to give both trail users and apartment residents some privacy. A public storage facility and part of the land along the riverfront will be replaced by additional apartment homes.
The impacts on traffic, schools, and to all infrastructure have already been taken into consideration in the River’s Edge plan. Before the development was approved by the city, all of the relevant agencies had to approve the plan, indicating that they had the capacity to serve the new development: sewer, emergency services, water, power, schools, and the highway district are already on board.
Density is Not As High as in Other Areas of Coeur d’Alene
None of the apartment buildings at River’s Edge will be higher than 4 stories, and the new plan will have a total of 680 apartment units spread out over 26 acres. When you consider the size of the plot – 26 acres – the density is higher than in some areas, but not so high that it is overcrowded. In fact, the density is even lower than or comparable to, some of the high-rise condos situated on 1- or 2-acre plots that already exist in downtown Coeur d’Alene, which are located on city blocks and not along major thoroughfares like Seltice Way.
It should also be remembered that these apartment buildings are not the size of single-family homes. The apartments are one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, and are not likely to be occupied by large families. The complex is situated on one of Coeur d’Alene’s major transportation corridors, and its residents will easily be able to access and work for local businesses. Vehicle traffic, at peak hours, has been estimated by city engineers to add the equivalent of only 1.3 cars per minute to Seltice Way.
River’s Edge offers a welcome housing opportunity for Coeur d’Alene residents, giving tenants the unique feature of being situated directly on riverfront property. Its location should present an ideal residential solution for individuals or couples who cannot afford to or prefer not to purchase homes, but who want to live in the area and work for local businesses. It will provide convenience, resort-style amenities, and riverfront living at an affordable price for many people, and will be a welcome housing option for local residents and newcomers alike.
To find out more about the River’s Edge development and to review the plans that are being proposed, please look at the maps and other information on the website. We hope you will support the proposed changes, and express your support to the City of Coeur d’Alene.