At the Tuesday, July 9, 2013, Coeur d’Alene Planning Commission’s quasi-judicial hearing on the Port of Hope’s application for a Special Use Permit, Commission Chairman Brad Jordan made an interesting comment beginning at approximately 02:31:27 in the streaming video. Jordan, referring to the Port of Hope facility in Nampa, said, “Now, I understand they’re apparently operating fine in Nampa. One thing we don’t know about Nampa is what kind of an area they’re in in Nampa. It could be next to an industrial park. It could be out in some area, but we don’t know where they’re at in Nampa, so it comes back to a land use decision, I think. Is this an appropriate use for us in this location.” [emphasis mine]
Aside from the fact that Port of Hope’s location in Nampa is completely irrelevant to any decision of the appropriate use of land in Coeur d’Alene, Jordan’s reference to “an industrial park” was curious and remarkably prescient. Read on.
Readers who have not slogged through our September 18, 2013, post titled Subverting Port of Hope may wish to do so to better understand the significance of Jordan’s out-of-the-blue reference to “an industrial park.”
As we explained in Subverting Port of Hope, Coeur d’Alene attorney Dennis M. “Denny” Davis is the legal counsel representing a Washington state company competing with Port of Hope for a Federal Bureau of Prisons contract worth about $5 million to operate the Bureau of Prisons’ Residential Reentry Center in northern Idaho. Davis is also the Chairman of Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, the Lake City Development Corporation. As you can see from this link to the LCDC website, Planning Commission Chairman Brad Jordan serves on that board with Davis.
Recall Jordan’s “an industrial park” comment at the Planning Commission hearing on July 9th? Now read Davis’s July 12th email to Coeur d’Alene City Administrator Wendy Gabriel. After reading that, read the July 16th letter from Steve Woolworth, a vice president with Pioneer Human Services, Davis’s client and the competing bidder for the Bureau of Prisons RRC contract in northern Idaho. Even more significant than Mr. Woolworth’s letter, read Davis’s July 26th letter to City Planning Director Dave Yadon in which Davis requests:
… that the City of Coeur d’Alene consider three amendments to its zoning code to expand the definition of Criminal Transitional Facility to comply with current Federal law and to enable the siting of such facilities in the Light Manufacturing and Manufacturing zones. [emphasis mine]
Obligingly to the request from its urban renewal agency commission chairman Dennis M. “Denny” Davis, the City promptly scheduled a legislative hearing before the City’s Planning Commission on September 10, 2013, to consider the amendments Davis had requested. Now, pay particular attention to time stamp 09:02 in the City’s streaming video linked. At 09:02 Acting Planning Director/Deputy City Attorney Warren Wilson, delivering the staff report, explained that Coeur d’Alene’s industrial park is in the manufacturing zone, one of the zones Davis’s client would like to have available for locating a Criminal Transitional Facility.
It struck us as odd that at the July 9th Port of Hope hearing for a critical Special Use Permit, Planning Commission Chairman Jordan would make an unnecessary and apparently meaningless reference to “an industrial park“, and then poof! Just over two weeks later his fellow LCDC Commissioner Dennis M. “Denny” Davis asks the City to amend its ordinances to allow his client to possibly site a competing Criminal Transitional Facility in Coeur d’Alene’s industrial park.
It’s almost as if on July 9th, Jordan knew in advance that Davis would be back in front of the Planning Commission seeking changes to Coeur d’Alene’s zoning ordinances on behalf of his client. How prescient!