Land swap nears realization

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Hayden resident Steve Casey asked questions about a proposed land swap at the Hayden City Council meeting Tuesday night. (JUDD WILSON/Press)

HAYDEN — City Council members approved a memorandum of understanding with the Coeur d’Alene School District at their Tuesday night meeting. The move clears the way for the city and school district to swap land parcels, which would allow the school district to inch toward a proposed new school.

According to the MOU, the school district owns 5.5 acres of land at 9650 N. Government Way in Hayden, which it hopes to subdivide into two parcels. One parcel with 42,759 square feet of land contains the existing Northwest Expedition Academy. The second parcel will be used for constructing a new school in the future. Nearby, at 9766 N. Government Way, the city owns 76,840 square feet — or 1.76 acres — of land.

The MOU proposed to exchange the school district’s Northwest Expedition Academy parcel for the city’s parcel no later than Sept. 15.

“What costs will the city incur?” asked Mayor Steve Griffitts regarding the land. The land itself will cost nothing except staff time, said city attorney John Cafferty. The MOU is a step toward the land exchange, he added. More details on the land exchange will be worked out by the July 10 City Council meeting, said city administrator Brett Boyer.

Following completion of the land exchange and prior to the school district vacating the existing Hayden Lake School building in favor of a new school building, the school district will lease the property for $1 per year, said Cafferty. The school district will keep adequate insurance on the building and pay its utilities while leasing it from the city, he said.

Hayden resident and former Coeur d’Alene High School principal Steve Casey spoke at the beginning of the meeting to ask the council how the city planned to pay for costs associated with the land swap. According to Casey, school district documents said Hayden would have to come up with more than $547,000 in expenses.

“I want to know where the money is going to come from to make that deal,” he declared.

According to the MOU, the city will waive planning and zoning fees, as well as permitting fees, for the school district’s subdivision application. Currently, the city parcel has 12 flow factors, or 72,000 gallons of sewer per month, while the school parcels have a total of 7.2 flow factors. At the end of the land swap, the city will have 5.2 flow factors and the school district will have 14 flow factors. The school district shouldn’t require more flow factors, but if it does, it will purchase them at its own expense, said Boyer. Cafferty explained that the flow factors are paid for and attached to the properties.

An existing sewer line will be relocated at the school district’s expense, said Boyer. The city will upgrade 800 feet of the sewer line located within Hayden Avenue and south of the existing school parcel from an 8-inch to a 15-inch diameter pipe at its own expense, according to the MOU.

Though more details still have to be worked out, the MOU put the city and school district on a solid basis for collaboration and progress, explained Griffitts.

“Based upon the school district’s needs and timeline for a new school, the council and mayor are happy to provide a partnership to help the school district reach its goals and objectives. Growth in the community will lead to new schools. Wherever the school board feels they should be built is its decision. If it feels a new school should be built on their property here, it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to support them in that endeavor,” said Griffitts after the meeting.

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