Yet another monstrous and ill-advised development proposal is approaching approval, this time in nearby Bonner County. The proposal would place more than a thousand housing units on 12,000 acres just north of Kelso Lake and the Kootenai County line. Called “Clagstone Meadows,” the sudden city is proposed for Stimson Lumber timberland northwest of Athol. It is the largest development ever proposed for Bonner County.
At a meeting Tuesday night, nearby residents gathered to discuss the proposal and what impacts it would bring to their rural community. Our regional conservation colleagues from Idaho Conservation League and Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, Susan Drumheller and Jennifer Ekstrom, helped facilitate the meeting.
Any development of this size will have an enormous impact, but the impacts will be particularly acute on wildlife and nearby waterways including Beaver Lake, Kelso Lake and Hoodoo Creek. Many of the developers’ plans are still vague, with no concrete answers to how traffic will be managed, how fire protection will occur, and how water rights will be transferred and whether those rights will be adequate for the development.
The proposal has preliminary approval from the Bonner County Planning and Zoning Commission which held hearings in July. The Board of County Commissioners in Bonner County are being asked to give their approval to the large conceptual plan, which will then allow the development process to begin in phases.
Written comments are due by October 8th to the Bonner County Commissioners, who will hold a public hearing on the project October 19th and 20th. Kootenai Environmental Alliance will submit comments and will join with our colleagues and neighbors in support of the newly-organized (and tough-sounding) “Clagstone Meadows Resistance Coalition” and their efforts to block this enormous boondoggle.