Regional Housing & Growth Issues Partnership

Overview

For a number of years, regional planning professionals have shared resources and been in communication about growth management, housing, transportation and have worked together on related planning issues. The year 2020 brought heightened concerns as in-migration numbers and housing prices spiked. In response, creation of a more formal group was spearheaded by Coeur d’Alene Council Member Kiki Miller and Community Planning Director Hilary Anderson.  Kootenai County, cities of Post Falls, Hayden, Rathdrum and KMPO joined to form the original work group.  They named the group the Regional Housing and Growth Issues Partnership.

The partnership structure includes a Working Group and an Advisory Group. The Working Group will include the regional planners, along with elected representatives and administrators. The Advisory Group will be comprised of representatives from a variety of organizations and community groups. Both groups may have additions as topics warrant.

Goals (defined initial goals of the partnership):

Establishing a diverse resource group that can provide factual answers to community and officials questions;

  • Put forward solutions and a framework for implementation based on data supported issues with inputs on what the community wants;
  • Provide education on what is/is not possible; and
  • Work together on regional topics that affect all regarding housing and growth in Kootenai County.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are listed below.

Prioritization Survey Information

ALICE Task Force

Mark Tucker

Aquifer Protection Board

Necia Maiani

Cd’A Press Growth Management
Advisory Group

Mike Patrick, Clint Schroeder

CDA 2030

Lindsey Beacham

CDA-EDC (Coeur d’Alene Area Economic
Development Corporation – Jobs Plus)

Loren Whitten-Kaboth

CDAIDE

Donna Brundage

Civic Engagement Alliance

Nash Mahuron

Coeur d’Alene Association of REALTORS (CAR)

Ali Taylor

Coeur d’Alene Chamber

Derrell Hartwick

Coeur d’Alene School District

Jeff Voeller, Scott Maben

Coeur d’Alene Tribe

Tyrel Stevenson, Jim Kackman

Habitat for Humanity

James Casper

Hayden Chamber

TBD

Hayden Lake Watershed Association

Barb Neal

Human Rights Education Institute (HREI)

Jeanette Laster

Idaho Farm Bureau

Bob Smathers

Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA)

Cory Phelps

Kootenai Environmental Alliance

Shelley Austin

Kootenai Farm Bureau

Linda Ryder

Kootenai Health

Jeremy Evans, Kim Webb, Danny Klocko

Kootenai-Shoshone Soil & Water
Conservation District

TBD

Lakeland School District

Dr. Becky Meyer

Lakeshore Property Owners Association

Greg Delavan

NAACP

Christine Harding, Dr. David O. Porter, Jan Studer

North Idaho Building Contractors Association (NIBCA)

Mike Moore

North Idaho College

Teresa Borrenpohl, Graydon Stanley

North West Property Owners Alliance

Jeff Tyler

Northwest Specialty Hospital

Barb Patton

Panhandle Affordable Housing Alliance
(North Idaho Housing Coalition)

Maggie Lyons

Panhandle Area Council

Nancy Mabile

Panhandle Health District

Erik Ketner

Post Falls Chamber

Len Crosby

Post Falls School District

Anna Wilson

Rathdrum Chamber

Ashley Moore

Responsible North Idaho Growth (FB group)

Ed dePriest

We the People of CDA (FB group)

David Lyons

 

City of Athol

Lori Yarbrough, City Clerk/Treasurer
Rand Wichman, Contracted City Planner

City of Coeur d’Alene

Council Member Kiki Miller
Hilary Anderson, Community Planning Director
Sean Holm, Senior Planner

City of Hauser

Bill Ray, Mayor

City of Hayden

Brett Boyer, City Administrator
Melissa Cleveland, Community Development Director

City of Post Falls

Council Member Alan Wolfe
Robert Seale, Community Development Director
Jon Manley, Planning Manager

City of Rathdrum

Council Member Steven Adams
Leon Duce, City Administrator
Cary Siess, City Planner/Planning and Zoning Administrator
James Agidius, Enforcement/Assistant Planner

City of Spirit Lake

Renee Eastman, Mayor

Kootenai County

Chris Fillios, County Commissioner
David Callahan, Community Development Director

KMPO

Glenn Miles, Executive Director
Ali Marienau, Senior Transportation Planner

Partnership meetings will be held once a month on Mondays at 3 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month. They will last only an hour and will be focused on specific topics.  They will be conducted as Zoom webinars with the Working Group as panelists and the Advisory Group as attendees with the ability to engage in topics presented. There will be a moderator who will keep time and agenda, and administrator who will monitor chat, live polling and Q&A portions. The meetings will be recorded for the public viewing. Agendas will be sent out prior to the meetings.  Local media and the Governor’s Office will be invited via zoom to observe the meetings.  Each meeting will conclude with next steps and action items based on input, which will be addressed at the Working Group meeting the 2nd Monday of each month.

Agendas, recorded meetings, links to additional information will be housed at www.kmpo.net.

The group makeup and focus topics are expected to evolve with community input and goal achievement. 

(Please note, these meetings are not considered Open Meetings. There will not be any deliberations towards decisions and they will not be noticed or advertised as public meetings.  However, the recordings will be available to the public and participating organizations after the fact to ensure transparency and allow for sharing of information.) “

Cumulative FAQs received by the regional partner entities, along with a verified, consensus-driven response are listed below. This is not an all-inclusive list, and the FAQs are not listed in any specific order. The list may be added to and/or updated, as necessary. If you have a question not currently addressed here, please email kmiller@cdaid.org for consideration to be included in these FAQs.

Please Note: Questions specific to each city and/or the county may be posted on their respective city websites. Links available to date are provide below.

Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.  They are community members and households who earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but cannot afford a bare-bones household budget.  ALICE workers are educators, health care providers, hospitality workers, and others who make our quality of life possible, yet they do not earn enough to support their own families.  ALICE households often have to make tough choices such as deciding between paying the rent or having quality child care.  The majority of the hospitality industry in our area falls into this category, even when fully employed.

For more information, visit: www.unitedforalice.org/idaho

There is no one accurate response to ‘what is affordable’ as the variables are too vast.  Generally speaking, affordable housing is considered 80% of the area median income and spending no more than 30% of income on housing. Traditional financial industry parameters for mortgages would indicate the local median wage should have less than 28% of it as a mortgage payment and 36% on all debt including housing. There are many factors that affect buying power and what price of home people can afford such as debt load, interest rates and terms, and how much an individual or couple can spend on monthly mortgage rates (or rent). 

While “Affordable Housing” is frequently used, there are other terms that further differentiate housing prices and income. These include Workforce Housing, Attainable Housing and Achievable Housing as shown below. 

These numbers are based off of the Kootenai County Area Median Family Income for FY 2021, which is $65,500.

  • Workforce Housing:
    60-80% AMI* ($39,300-$53,050 income limit for a family of 4)
    Target $46,000 annual income = $187,000 home or $978/month
  • Affordable Housing: 80% AMI*
  • Attainable Housing:
    80-120% AMI* ($53,050-$78,600 income limit for a family of 4)
    Target $66,000 annual income = $335,000 home or $1,610/month
  • Achievable Housing:
    100-200% AMI* ($65,500-$131,000 income limit for a family of 4)
    Target $98,000 annual income = $486,000 home or $2,381/month

*AMI stands for Area Median Income. It is calculated and released every year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD).  A household’s income is calculated by its gross income, which is the total income received before taxes and other payroll deductions.  These numbers are specific to Kootenai County.

The LMI (low-moderate income) population has had housing needs addressed for decades. The middle income sector is seeing more unattainable housing options than the fixed lower income community members, especially as housing prices continue to increase.

Over the past year, the sales prices of homes in Kootenai County went up 40 – 45%. It is recognized that housing prices are not affordable in our area for many families and individuals, especially with the increasing housing prices.  This is impacting our local workforce and seniors most severely, and is impacting the region’s ability to recruit new businesses that provide living wages and also the ability to recruit and retain workforce for existing employers.  

There is a Regional Housing Assessment which will address the needs, inventory, accessibility and other statistics surrounding this recent shift in the housing market for Kootenai and Shoshone counties. The lack of housing at prices that the vast majority of middle income local workers in the area can afford is expected to be a focal point of the study and recommendations.

The Cities use KMPO’s growth numbers in their planning documents to be able to understand the needs of the community should the growth numbers be reached. Cities need to plan for infrastructure based on need. Cities are required to use a qualified source for population projects. The Idaho Local Land Use Planning Act (Title 67, Chapter 65) requires that comprehensive plans include a “population analysis of past, present and future trends in population including such characteristics as total population, age, sex and income.”  If an arbitrary (or lower) population calculation is used, community needs represented to decision makers would be misrepresented.

The primary data source for KMPO’s population forecasts is the decennial US Census data. KMPO uses inputs, such as population, number of occupied dwelling units, and persons per household, to populate existing population estimates. KMPO then calculates the 10-year rolling average of each jurisdiction’s annual growth. This growth rate is used to estimate the jurisdiction’s population over the next 20 years.

For revisions to the projections between decennial Census years, KMPO utilizes a variety of sources to determine the best available data for updates to inputs, including Kootenai County GIS, Idaho Department of Labor, American Community Survey, and other local research reports and documents.

Yes, but there would need to be strong justification for this.  The population growth forecasts are not a “desired” population but rather a quantitative source, data driven, realistic target to plan for in the future.  These growth projections are critical for infrastructure master plans for water, wastewater, transportation, and impact fee calculations.

Idaho State Local Land Use Planning Act governs what cities can do, in many areas including growth, moratoriums, annexations, requirements for comprehensive plans and others. There are multiple sections of Idaho Code that dictate what local jurisdictions can do regarding land uses and decisions making.

The State of Idaho mandates that each city and county include 17 required elements in the comprehensive plans. This includes a future land use map and an implementation plan.  A community may choose additional items to include in the plan, which are guided by the priorities of the planning commission, elected officials and the citizens of each jurisdiction. The cities reach out to their citizens for direction on how their comprehensive plan is written to achieve those goals as directed by the community.

At this point in time, the State legislature does not allow schools to collect an impact fee. Idaho Development Impact Fee Act (Title 67, Chapter 82).  Some cities’ PUD codes allows developers to get a density bonus for voluntarily dedicating land to schools.

See Above. Growth numbers are based on qualified sources and studies. Planning for arbitrary numbers would put forth unreliable reporting to decision makers.

Municipality

Population

     (estimates) 1, 2

% change
per year 3

KMPO Population Projections

KMPO Projections
% change per year 4

Hayden

2020 = 15,803

2010 = 13,294

2.51%

2020 = 19,296

 

3.796%

Coeur d’Alene

2020 = 54,114

2010 = 44,137

2.26%

2020 = 52,069

 

2.499%

Post Falls

2020 = 43,475

2010 = 27,574

5.77%

2020 = 40,278

 

4.801%

Rathdrum

2020 = 9,365

2010 = 6,826

3.72%

2020 = 9,644

 

3.549%

Kootenai County Total

2020 = 173,481

2010 = 138,494

2.53%

2020 = 177,276

 

2.4%


1
2020 Population Estimates: City & County estimates based on U.S. Census, building permits, vacancy rates, and persons per household.
2 2010 Population is based on U.S. Census Numbers
3 Average Annual Growth Rate since 2010 US Census Bureau Data
4 Anticipated Average Annual Growth Rates based on Historical growth rate from US Census Bureau Data.

Municipalities are prohibited by the state to limit growth in this way, as it is essentially a moratorium once an allotment of permits has been issued. See moratorium codes above. Additionally, land use decisions must comply with the Local Land Use Planning Act I.C 67-6511 requiring that the standards for each type of building be uniform and this type of limit would treat residential permits differently depending on when they were submitted. Additionally, I.C. 67-6535 requires the denial of land use permits must be based on express standards adopted by the city so that denials are not arbitrary. I.C.67- 6519 also requires that the city advise applicants whose permit has been denied that they have a right to request a regulatory takings analysis to determine if the city’s denial constitutes a compensable taking of their property. Cities are also governed by I.C. 67- 6524 – Interim ordinances and moratoriums. If a governing board finds that a plan, a plan component, or an amendment to a plan is being prepared for its jurisdiction, it may adopt interim ordinances as required or authorized under this chapter, following the notice and hearing procedures provided in section 67-6509, Idaho Code. The governing board may also adopt an interim moratorium upon the issuance of selected classes of permits if, in addition to the foregoing, the governing board finds and states in writing that an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare requires the adoption of an interim moratorium. An interim ordinance or moratorium shall state a definite period of time, not to exceed one (1) calendar year, when it shall be in full force and effect. To sustain restrictions established by an interim ordinance or moratorium, a governing board must adopt a regular ordinance, following the notice and hearing procedures provided in section 67-6509, Idaho Code.”

The Idaho Land Use Planning Act requires that cities and counties consider how they will protect property rights as an element of their adopted comprehensive plans. Additionally, the Local Land Use Planning Act also allows a developer who receives a denial, or an approval with conditions that the developer finds objectionable, to request a regulatory takings analysis to determine if the decision equates to a taking of the developer’s property that can result in the city or county being required to compensate the developer for the property.

Each development is typically required to construct, at no cost to the public, the infrastructure needed to serve the development. For instance, in a new residential subdivision, the developer is required to build all the water, wastewater, stormwater, internal streets, sidewalks, bike paths to support the development as well as improving the streets that border the development, including frontage improvements, and dedicate right-of-way if needed. Those improvements typically happen at the time of development. Additionally, the cities charge a combination of impact fees and capacity or capitalization fees to help offset the impacts of growth on public infrastructure. Impact fees are charged for impacts to streets, public safety, parks and recreation, and capacity/capitalization fees are charged for water and wastewater. These fees are collected at the time of building permit issuance and are pooled to pay for construction of additional infrastructure improvements to meet the needs caused by growth. This means some portion of the population increase/growth will occur prior to any particular infrastructure project being built. Some projects also require traffic or other mitigation for “extraordinary impacts” that are above and beyond what the impact fee covers if there is a traffic study done that shows the project is resulting in impacts that need to be mitigated. There are also the property taxes of the new development that pay for ongoing expenses. Some community members believe the infrastructure should be built before allowing growth to occur. This would require existing residents to approve borrowing the funds to pay for the infrastructure or other similar financial scenario.

Impact fees can be used for only projects listed on the Impact Fee Capital Improvement Plan in an adopted impact fee study.  State code dictates how impact fees are calculated and collected.   Impact fees can only be collected for streets/transportation, parks, and public safety (fire and police). Parks fees are only collected for residential uses. Other uses only pay transportation and public safety impact fees.

Fees are set by each municipalities’ governing body based on the costs incurred by the issuance of the permit and adopted fee schedules.  Permit fees include building fees (staff plan review and fees based on the type of construction and valuation), tap/hookup/meter fees, capacity or capitalization fees for sewer and water based on rate studies, applicable surcharge fees, and impact fees based on adopted impact fee study and type of use.

Developers are required to build the internal streets within a subdivision to city standards as well as improving the bordering external streets. These improvements are paid for by the developer. Additionally, the cities charge a street/transportation impact fee that can be used for transportation projects within the community that are outlined in a transportation master plan or capital improvement plan.  Traffic impacts are analyzed with annexation, zone change and special use permit/conditional use permit requests.  Some larger projects trigger transportation studies and potential mitigation measures.

There may be changes happening from the lending side that may limit financing of investment properties, and tools can be explored related to Short Term Rental and Accessory Dwelling Unit codes related to owner occupancy.  This can be discussed further with the group.

There are options through Short Term Rental codes and Accessory Dwelling Unit codes that could be evaluated.  There are currently incentives through the County’s homeowners’ exemption for homes to be owner occupied. Other tools and ideas can be explored with this group.

No. Cities in Idaho are currently allowed to increase their budgets to account for new growth and annexations. This essentially works as a “buy in” charge paid by the new growth to help the cities pay for the services needed by the growing areas. This charge is calculated before the city determines if it should raise its budget for the rest of the existing city. The cities have relied on these new growth dollars and have not raised their budgets for the rest of the existing city residents and businesses. Despite that, existing residential property owners have seen a significant increase in property taxes because the legislature capped the homeowner’s exemption in 2016. This cap shifted much of the tax burden from commercial and industrial users to homeowners because the values of residential properties are increasing faster than commercial/industrial properties.

Kootenai County offers the Property Tax Reduction program (formerly known as the Circuit Breaker) that reduces property taxes for qualified applicants.  The amount of reduction is based on the total household income minus total qualifying medical expenses for the previous calendar year. If you qualify, the property taxes on your primary home and up to one acre of land may be reduced by as much as $1,320. See income brackets. Solid waste, irrigation or other fees cannot be reduced by the Property Tax Reduction benefits per Idaho code 63-701. This is an option for some of our elderly community members.  For more information, visit: https://www.kcgov.us/191/Property-Tax-Reduction-Program.

The County also has a homeowners’ exemption for property owners that is capped at $100,000.

Each City/County has standards of approval and findings of fact that must be made in order for an annexation to be approved.  If the standards of approval cannot be met, then it is reasonable to deny or place conditions on a request.

The Idaho Land Use Planning Act requires that cities and counties consider how they will protect property rights as an element of their adopted comprehensive plans. Additionally, the Local Land Use Planning Act also allows a developer who receives a denial, or an approval with conditions that the developer finds objectionable, to request a regulatory takings analysis to determine if the decision equates to a taking of the developer’s property that can result in the city or county being required to compensate the developer for the property.

Commissioners and Council persons are required to disclose if they have a conflict of interest.  It is then the option of the public official to excuse themself from debate and vote. See Idaho Code § 74-404. The body of which the public official is a member would also be subject to the rules adopted by that body with respect to conflicts of interest.

There are already plans in place and efforts to recruit companies and help local businesses start up and expand. The cities and county work closely with CDA-EDC (Coeur d’Alene Area Economic Development Corporation) on recruitment efforts and assisting local business to expand. Those efforts require housing to support the jobs. So, by limiting or slowing growth, it may actually hinder creating better paying jobs.

Mello-Roos is a state law in California. It is inapplicable to Idaho and something similar would have to be enacted by the Idaho state legislature and signed by the Governor before local governments could impose such a tax. It is the law in Idaho that local governments cannot impose a tax which has not been authorized by the legislature. This is an item that would have to go before the legislature.

From WIKIPEDIA:

History[edit]

The Community Facilities Act was a law enacted by the California State Legislature in 1982.[2] The name Mello-Roos is derived from its co-authors, Senator Henry J. Mello (D-Watsonville) and Assemblyman Mike Roos (D-Los Angeles).

When Proposition 13 passed in California in 1978, it limited the property tax rate and the ability of local governments to increase the assessed value of real property by not more than an annual inflation factor. As a result, the budget for public services and for the construction of public facilities could not continue unabated. New ways to fund local public improvements and services were considered and adopted by the California State Legislature.[2] A Mello-Roos tax is a species of parcel tax that circumvents Proposition 13 (which limits property taxes based on the assessed value of real property) because it is not levied on the assessed value of real property.

There are many benefits to concentrating development rather than having it spread out, or requiring all large lots that consume more land.  Benefits include reducing costs related to providing utilities and infrastructure (including long-term maintenance expenses), as well as emergency services.  Concentrating development in certain areas can also help preserve land for open space and recreation.

From a planning/development perspective, if the goal is to preserve some open space on the prairie, the open space should be identified for preservation and mechanisms put into place to set aside and manage that land.  Some considerations are identifying a management structure, such as a recreational district, identifying possible funding sources, and incentives for preserving the land and still allowing development to occur elsewhere.  Otherwise, it will be developed in some form.

Other communities in Idaho have successfully implemented this if it is incentive based, rather than mandatory. Exploration of code modifications can be done.

The City of Coeur d’Alene has an incentive option within the Downtown Core zoning district that allows four (4) square feet of floor area be allowed for each square foot of workforce housing provided within 1.5 miles of a project site and within the city limits. So far, no projects have taken advantage of this incentive. 

The challenge with affordable units can be with enforcement and management over time to ensure that they are continuing to be “affordable” and reserved for families making less than area median income, rather than being rented out at market rates. This is most effective if the development is managed by a non-profit or agency who oversees such things.

This is not legal. Idaho Code § 34-1801B(22) provides: “Each city shall allow direct legislation by the people through the initiative and referendum. Cities shall follow the procedures set forth in this chapter subject to the following provisions: * * * (22) This section does not apply to any local zoning legislation including, but not limited to, ordinances required or authorized pursuant to chapter 65, title 67, Idaho Code.” 

Additionally, citizens are given the opportunity to provide comments and opinions during comprehensive planning process and at judicial and quasi-judicial hearings for annexations, zone change and special use permit/conditional use permit requests.

The City of Post Falls owns 645 acres on the Prairie to be used for Wastewater Land Application and zoned as Public Reserve. The City of Rathdrum also owns 314 acres to be dedicated for future land application. With the exception of the land the City of Post Falls and Rathdrum own, the prairie is owned by private citizens, many of who used to farm the prairie and grow things like grass, lavender, etc. Currently, some of these property owners are seeking to sell their property since they have discontinued or are planning to discontinue their agricultural activities. In order to preserve the open space, a person, business or agency would need to either purchase these properties to continue agricultural operations or plan for some other type of open space activity. One option that has been discussed is to establish a recreational district in Kootenai County that would acquire the land for recreational purposes. There are also opportunities to explore a land trust model, transfer of development rights, and fees or a sales tax to pay for open space. This is one of the issued this group is looking into.

The Citizens Planning Academy (CPA) is a collaboration of Idaho Smart Growth and the University of Idaho’s Bioregional Planning Program. CPA is designed to help citizens throughout Idaho become effective advocates on a wide range of planning topics. https://www.idahosmartgrowth.org/citizens-planning-academy/.

The cities of Hayden, Post Falls and Rathdrum have also conducted their own versions of Citizens Academies over the years, and have discussed resuming them to discuss such topics as growth, housing, infrastructure, urban renewal, future annexations, development standards, and basic planning and zoning.