River’s Edge Will Be Compatible With the Landscape
The River’s Edge development on the south side of Seltice Way between the U.S. Bank Call Center and Atlas Road is under construction. As currently approved, the 26-acre parcel will be used for apartment buildings, single-family homes, and a rental storage facility. The apartments will be four stories high, and most will be arrayed along north-south lines, providing little visual obstruction to travelers along Seltice Way.
The developer is currently seeking a special use permit that would change the uses of the property. One feature of the change is that the builder would like to obtain a height variance that would allow the apartment heights to extend from 45 feet high to 55 feet high.
A Slanted Roof Line Looks Better and Is More Structurally Sound.
The purpose of the request is practical and sound. Contrary to what some people may imagine, the roof height variance is not to add any additional apartments or floors. The number of units for each apartment building will remain the same, and there will still be only four floors. The purpose is simply to allow the builder to use a building design that is more aesthetically pleasing. The roof-height variance will allow for the construction of an A-shaped roof with a dramatic slope – more like a traditional house as opposed to a commercial building.
In addition to being more visually appealing, there are practical reasons for seeking the variance: steeper roofs are better for handling the snow load that is common in north Idaho winters. A steeper slope allows for sounder engineering of the building as a whole, with less chance of snow damage or leaks.
The Land’s Topography Means Visual Impacts Will Be Minimal
From Seltice Way, the parcel slopes steeply down, and then down again to the river. The entire area has been altered significantly since it was part of the lumber mill property two decades ago, and it is being graded again so that the apartment complex can be situated on level ground. This means that the building pad will be considerably lower than Seltice Way, minimizing visual impacts from the road. The fact is, even with the height variance, the apartment complex will not be more imposing than other properties such as Mill River or the bank call center along Seltice Way, and considerably less obstructive than the apartments being built at Atlas Road.
To obscure the buildings even more, and to give privacy to the complex residents, there will be only three entries into the parcel from Seltice Way, and all of the driveways immediately slope down to the level of the buildings, which are 40 to 50 feet from the roadway. Along the rest of the frontage, there will be a split-rail fence, as well as trees and a landscaped verge along the entire length of the development.
If the City does not approve the River’s Edge proposal, from the river and the trail, people will see the backs of private houses along the river, rather than nature and the landscape.
However, if the City approves the new design for a riverfront esplanade, the first 40 feet of river frontage will be publicly accessible. Along the river will be the proposed sea wall and beaches. Above that, trees will line the 16-foot wide multi-use trail. And beyond that 40-foot public access area is another private greenway for the apartment tenants. In all, no buildings will be built closer than 80 feet from the shoreline.
All of the elements that are part of the changes being proposed by the owners of River’s Edge are designed to make River’s Edge a premier community, with a visual and practical appeal not only to those who want to live there but truly as an asset to the community in terms of aesthetics and amenities. If you would like further information on the proposed changes, please review the website. If you are in favor of the proposal, please share your views with the City of Coeur d’Alene.