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In re Application of Kirk-Hughes Development

June 2, 2010

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF KIRK-HUGHES DEVELOPMENT, LLC FOR PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT CHATEAU DE LOIRE
KIRK-HUGHES DEVELOPMENT, LLC APPELLANT,
v.
KOOTENAI COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS; ELMER R. CURRIE; RICHARD A. PIAZZA AND W. TODD TONDEE, RESPONDENTS, AND NEIGHBORS FOR RESPONSIBLE GROWTH, A NON-PROFIT UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION; NORBERT AND BEVERLY TWILLMANN, HUSBAND AND WIFE, SUSAN MELKA; BILL AND SYLVIA LAMPARD, HUSBAND AND WIFE; DAVID AND BARBARA WARDSWORTH, HUSBAND AND WIFE; AND HEATHER BOWLBY, INTERVENORS/RESPONDENTS.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. John Patrick Luster, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: W. Jones, Justice

2010 Opinion No. 62

The ruling of the district court is affirmed. Costs are awarded to Kootenai County Board of Commissioners and Neighbors.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The appellant, Kirk-Hughes Development, LLC (Kirk-Hughes), purchased five hundred and seventy-eight acres of land for development located in Kootenai County, Idaho. The land is on the eastern shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene and spans both sides of State Highway 97; of the five hundred and seventy-eight acres, about three hundred and ninety-three acres are zoned Rural and about one hundred and eighty-four are zoned Restricted Residential. Under the terms of Kootenai County Zoning Ordinance No. 348 (the Zoning Ordinance), the minimum lot size in the Rural Zone is five acres, and the minimum lot size in the Restricted Residential Zone is 8,250 square feet. Since purchasing the land, Kirk-Hughes has sought to develop a community consisting of no more than five hundred residential units. The community was to include single family units, condominiums, and villas; retail space; a championship golf course; a spa; an athletic center; fishing ponds; walking, hiking, and biking trails; an amphitheatre; a community dock; a fire station; and a helipad for emergency needs.

On April 12, 2005, Kirk-Hughes submitted its first application for approval of the proposed planned unit development (PUD); a public hearing was held before a hearing examiner. The respondent, Kootenai County Board of Commissioners (the Board), subsequently held a public hearing and denied the application on August 24, 2006. Kirk-Hughes filed a timely notice of appeal in the district court. Kirk-Hughes and the Board entered into a post-mediation agreement (the Agreement) on January 19, 2007. Under the terms of the Agreement, the appeal was stayed, and the Board agreed to consider a new application on an expedited basis. The Agreement also set forth actions Kirk-Hughes could take in order to obtain approval.

On March 14, 2007, Kirk-Hughes filed a second application that consisted of a modified PUD and a request to obtain subdivision approval. A public hearing was held before a hearing examiner who later issued a report recommending denial of the application. On November 19, 2007, the Board held a public hearing and on December 20, 2007, the Board denied the application. Kirk-Hughes filed a notice of appeal in the district court on January 9, 2008, and the parties, through a stipulation, consolidated the first and second appeals.

Kirk-Hughes subsequently filed a motion to enforce the Agreement and on March 4, 2008, the district court issued an order denying the motion. On April 22, 2008, Kirk-Hughes sought reconsideration of the ruling of the district court; the same day, Kirk-Hughes filed a motion to obtain a ruling on the first appeal concerning the denial of the first application.

Neighbors for Responsible Growth (Neighbors) filed a motion to intervene in the petition for judicial review. The district court entered an order granting the motion.

After a number of motions and objections were filed by the parties, supplemental briefs were submitted addressing both the first and second appeals, and a hearing was held before the district court whereat both appeals were addressed. On August 14, 2008, the district court entered a memorandum opinion and order and an amended memorandum and order-both in favor of the Board on all counts. In its opinion, the court reviewed the issues asserted in the second appeal. The district court did not address the issues raised in the first appeal because it found that even if the decision of the Board was in error, Kirk-Hughes's substantial rights had not been prejudiced. Kirk-Hughes filed a notice of appeal on September 19, 2008, appealing from the amended memorandum opinion and order of the district court.

II. ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Whether the denial of the second application by the Board was arbitrary or capricious.

2. Whether the Board was equitably estopped, when reviewing the second application, from raising issues that were not addressed in the Agreement or the written denial of the first application.

3. Whether the Board was barred by res judicata or claim preclusion from asserting deficiencies with the second application that were asserted when ...


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