In the past twenty years, Kootenai County experienced explosive growth. This trend is likely to continue as more people populate the West and settle in attractive places like North Idaho. The county has beautiful rivers, lakes, and mountains, access to a nearby urban area and an interstate highway, and large expanses of federal and state land. Our population, property taxes, and land prices are relatively low but increasing.
A resistance to planning, in the form of unfettered property rights, creates problems. It produces traffic congestion, air pollution, and a frenzied pace of life. It allows the creation of isolated subdivisions that lack a sense of community and are expensive to supply with public services. It promotes development that strips hillsides of trees and invades wetlands, further degrading already imperiled lakes. It threatens to pollute and overuse the Rathdrum Prairie aquifer. It creates a checkerboard land use pattern that breaks up rural landscapes, communities, and wildlife habitats.
Only through a collaborative effort will improved land use planning result. The private property rights of all parties will be upheld, communities will unify, and landscapes that give people’s lives meaning, support wildlife, and make Kootenai County an attractive place to live will be preserved.