For a while, the developers behind the River’s Edge project along Seltice Way in Coeur d’Alene became regular visitors to the Planning Commission and Coeur d’Alene City Council. However, a few years ago, the City finally approved development, and a plan is currently under construction which will develop the entire property.
In the past, some Coeur d’Alene residents have opposed the development for various reasons. One bone of contention that resonated with us at River’s Edge was the complaint that new developments along the Spokane River, including River’s Edge, could curb the ability of the public to enjoy the waterfront.
Responding to this concern, River’s Edge is proposing a land use plan that will provide greater public access to the Spokane River. But since the current plan has already been given the green light, the only way to bring about any change is for the City of Coeur d’Alene to approve the new plan. Accordingly, River’s Edge is asking the Coeur d’Alene City Council to rezone the property.
The gist of the new proposal is this: River’s Edge would eliminate single-family homes along the river that would have cut off the public’s ability to reach a long stretch of riverfront. Instead, the development will include a 40-foot public access area along the entire length of the property, providing a meandering and picturesque walking/biking trail, with trees and seating areas for the use of the general public as well as the residents in the development.
Our hope is that city residents will see how this new vision for the development can bring added value to the area, giving young people and newcomers an affordable and attractive place to live, and providing a welcome recreational venue for the local population.
The Best Use of Riverfront Property
The majority of the River’s Edge property, which is a little over 25 acres, is currently zoned for commercial use (C-17). This allows the apartments that are currently being developed, as well means that the commercial uses are allowed. The riverfront property is zoned residential.
The plan approved by the City of Coeur d’Alene includes a two-story storage unit and RV storage facility on roughly western one-fourth of the property. In addition, the current plan provides for building 28 single-family homes along the river, barring access to the public on most of the waterfront. All of this is consistent with the current zoning. However, the River’s Edge developers do not think that either the storage unit or the single family homes represent the best use of these portions of land.
The Spokane River is an attractive and valuable resource for recreation, and the land has beautiful views across the river to the wooded hills. It does not make sense to put a storage unit facility on this riverfront property; it is unsightly in itself, and does not provide any means for the public to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. As for the homes, they will be much desired and valued by those who live in them, but the enjoyment would be limited primarily to these 28 homeowners, and not the public at large, who would only have two 50-foot wide parcels from which to access the river.
The new proposal asks the city to grant an R-34 special use permit. In practical terms, this would mean that all the property would have just one use: residential. The end result is that the overall plan would eliminate the storage facility and the waterfront single-family homes, and portions of that land would instead be used to build additional apartments units similar to those currently being built.
More importantly, this new plan would move all building development 80 feet from the river – 40 feet more than the city currently requires. This would allow River’s Edge to establish a 40-foot public access area along the river, as well as an additional 40-foot green space between the public easement and the additional apartment buildings.
The narrow trail in the current plan, which runs between garages and parking lots and which is crossed by vehicle traffic, would be shifted and expanded to run through the 40-foot wide riverfront easement. This arrangement is not only much safer for those who use the path, but will convert a boring, unattractive path into a riverfront esplanade, and make the River’s Edge trail area a recreational destination for local residents, with full river access and areas to walk, bike, sit, and play on the beach.
Support the River’s Edge Rezoning Effort
Coeur d’Alene is an attractive place to live for many reasons: it’s beautiful scenery, warm personable people, and four vibrant seasons. As the community grows, it will be important to preserve the city’s natural resources for all to enjoy, not just those who already live here, but for the young people growing up here who want to launch out on their own, and for newcomers who appreciate what this area has to offer.
This new River’s Edge plan will create an esplanade, or large open area beside the water, with a tree-shaded path and ample area for relaxation, river-viewing, and people-watching.
For more detailed information about the proposal, and to see plot maps that explain the changes, please review our website. We welcome your input, and, if you support our new riverfront esplanade, please show it by letting the Coeur d’Alene City Council know that you favor our proposal. Together, we can keep this region beautiful for generations to come.