Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Developer Dirt

I mentioned Dusty in yesterday's posting. Well, just south of his old place, smack-dab next to the Sandpoint Airport Runway, the dirt piles are growing in what's been a hayfield for my 57 years.

A temporary metal fence enclosure went up a few days ago to protect some heavy equipment. Boyer Road's been torn up off and on for at least two weeks. Development dirt has moved north. From what I was told by the previous owner, George Roberson, who's building a fence to block out his view of the mess across the road, 15 houses will go in on what has to be no more than 5 acres of land.

I've also learned that home buyers will be asked to sign off that they, indeed, know they're moving right next to the airport runway. It would be interesting to know what kind of material they're going to put in those homes to muffle out the sound of lear jets taking off or landing just over the fenceline.

At the north end of the runway, another developer has received permission to dig up dirt and put in 30-plus houses on ten acres of what used to be the Hudon's place. That's where I went to 4-H meetings as a kid.

The old Best place that I mentioned yesterday started turning into a housing development last year. I've never seen such use of every square inch of available soil. Would hate to live in one of those houses and have to yell at Bill cuz their proximity to one another is mighty cozy. It's feasible another "Bill" three houses down may think HE's the one in trouble.

I learned at lunch yesterday that the Sand Creek Angus Farm just up the road from my childhood home sold for millions and will turn into an 18-hole golf course at the base of Schweitzer. During my formative years, I attended 4-H livestock meetings at the Paulets, who owned this property.

I knew about the millions paid for the 160 acres and knew about the golf course, but I didn't know until yesterday that Coldwater Creek founder Dennis Pence, who built his estate on the old Beauchene place (bordering Sand Creek Angus Farm), financed developer Ralph Sletager in the deal.

The golf course, reportedly, will encompass both the Paulet place and Ralph Sletager's property (the same place where I spent hours in Eleanor Delamarter's bedroom trying to learn how to sew).

Tomorrow night, the Sandpoint City Council will extend its final blessing to a Spokane developer, who calls himself Terry Lee but reportedly has another last name, to go ahead and start digging up piles of dirt for 29 homes on my folks' old farm just up the road from where we live. Bill and I lived on and loved that farm for our first three years of marriage.

Yesterday, while my mother and sister were here, a neighbor to the north called and said someone was driving their pickup around my mother's newly-planted field. My sister went off to check it out and the neighbor said he'd "kick ass" if I'd give him the go-ahead. I told him to approach the situation calmly and see who it was first, thinking maybe it was the guy who farmed it.

Turned out it was actually in the field adjoining Mother's. The guy had driven off the road and across the ditch to get into the field and was teaching his kid how to drive a stick shift. The neighbor (not knowing it really wasn't Mother's spread) said, "That lady paid $30,000 to get this place farmed. Get your ass out of here."

Even though it wasn't our field, this brazen behavior does make a person wonder what kinds of attitudes are hitting town when they'll drive on to someone's farm field, without permission---to teach driver's training.

Within the next month, a 56,000 square foot metal building for Quest Aircraft's manufacturing facility will rise up and block our kitchen view of the Cabinet Mountains and dwarf our charming old red barn.

I'm wondering if it's time to leave the old neighborhood and look for greener pastures where there are no piles of developer dirt.


H.D. Johnston said...

It is both sad and exciting to hear that Sandpoint can attract developers like this. I've been watching the new apartment complex go up across the street from my apartment here in Moscow and a developer from Pullman just announced plans to build $17 million in apartments in the Moscow/Pullman region over the next five years. I guess that we can't keep the beauty of North Idaho a secret forever - but then again if it's not developed right there might not be much beauty left.

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