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    Allison Wildman

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    Aaron Qualls

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Mayor Rognstad

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News from the desk of the Mayor:

Lunch With The Mayor #6: Envisioning Sandpoint's Future

Post Date:12/20/2017 12:56 PM

At last month’s LWTM we discussed short term rentals, the future of the university of Idaho property, and the city’s new opengov platform for transparency and citizen involvement.  Further updates will occur as these issues continue to develop over the next couple months. 

We also discussed the proposed smelter in Newport and its potential impacts on our community.  I met with the Kalispel Tribe last week to discuss the proposal and signed on to a letter, with the tribe and other government officials in the region, requesting WA Dept of Ecology permitting decisions be based on accurate data, particularly with respect to transboundary impacts caused by the smelter.  I also requested the opportunity to review Ecology’s proposed methods of determining impacts in our jurisdictions prior to any analysis being performed.  Next, we will collaborate on an informational panel in Sandpoint to discuss the proposed smelter.  This is a topic that I will address in greater detail next month.

This month, I want to wish all of you a happy holiday season.  I also want to thank downtown retailers and business owners who contributed their time and energy to decorate downtown with holiday lights.  This is a previous benefit of the Business Improvement District that will sorely be missed.  Fortunately, Sandpoint has a dedicated group of entrepreneurs that take pride in their storefronts and it shows!

Through 2018, this administration will continue to focus on public engagement, economic vitality, quality of life and affordability.  The opengov platform, live since November, is at the core of the City’s Financial Transparency Initiative.  If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can find it by clicking on FINANCES on our homepage (https://operate-production-stories.s3.amazonaws.com/published/test-financial-transparency).  I’m very excited about the OPEN TOWN HALL platform that will soon integrate with opengov and provide the public greater opportunity to be informed and provide feedback on important issues facing the City.  Citizens will be able to log on to the City’s website from the comfort of their homes and provide comment or ask questions as if they were participating in a public meeting.  I’m confident that these tools will dramatically improve public engagement and participation on all important decisions within City government.

The council recently approved a revised sub-area map of the comprehensive plan for the North Boyer area.  The revision was the result of several workshops, public hearings and an open house inviting public input to craft a 20+ year vision to guide future zoning and development.  The City has posted a Request for Proposal to facilitate a site specific broad-based community visioning process to consider future development at the UofI site specifically.  The series of workshops will occur in January and February of 2018.  Through the comprehensive plan revision process the public clearly placed high value in parks and open space, workforce housing, education, mixed use commercial and light industrial use.  Any future request for development or rezoning of the area will reflect these community values. 

It is important to recognize that the City can only regulate development of the property through zoning or purchase.  For this reason, the City is pursuing two parallel paths to ensure that the public interest is protected as growth happens in this area.  The sub-area review creates the opportunity for future revised zoning to more accurately reflect the community’s vision for highest and best use.  The City can up-zone to a more intense use, such as high density housing or mixed use commercial, to leverage a park, trails, or land for a rec center.  

Paralell to this process, the City is pursuing funding opportunities that may enable purchase of the property.  More space dedicated to park, wetland and open space is possible when development is not solely market driven.  Whichever path growth takes, it is essential that the City develop a good plan to guide development in the best interests of its Citizens.  I invite you  all to participate in planning workshops as they are announced.

I hope to see you at Lunch With The Mayor on Thursday, December 21st to discuss these topics and more.  This will be the last meeting of 2017, 12pm at the Cedar Street Bistro.
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Mayor Rognstad at deskShelby Rognstad was born and raised in Lewiston, Idaho.  A fourth generation Idahoan, Shelby moved to Sandpoint in 1999.  Shelby first came here to practice permaculture after graduating with a liberal arts degree from the University of Idaho in 1998.  In 2006, he opened Common Knowledge Bookstore and Café.  In addition to selling new and used books, it served breakfast and lunch using locally sourced and organic foods. In 2013, Shelby co-founded The Hive, an entertainment venue in downtown Sandpoint.  Since 2012, Shelby has worked in real estate holding and private lending in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. 

Shelby served on the steering committee and Board of Directors for Sandpoint Transition Initiative (2007-2008) and has supported other local nonprofits, including Sandpoint Community Radio, the Public Forum on Sustainability, Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper and the Eureka Institute.  He practices yoga and Vipassanā Meditation and has volunteered at Vipassanā Meditation Centers in Washington, British Columbia and Puerto Rico.   He is active year round in sports and outdoor activities. 


Shelby’s public service began in 2007 when he was appointed to the Sandpoint Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee.  In 2009, he was appointed to the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission.  He served as Vice Chair until he was appointed to the City Council by Mayor Ogilvie on January 18, 2012.  Shelby was elected City Council President in February of 2014.  In November of 2015, he was elected Mayor and was sworn in on January 6, 2016.


Education and Workforce Training: 

While in office, Mayor Rognstad intends to work with employers, educators and community leaders to develop workforce training and higher education opportunities in Sandpoint.  The Mayor recognizes the importance and value of North Idaho College and the PTECH (Pathways to Technology in Early College High School) program in Sandpoint.  Sandpoint is fortunate to have excellent options in K-12 education.  However, more needs to be done to foster greater opportunities for youth and to develop an educated, skilled workforce in Sandpoint’s growing technology and health care industries.  For these reasons, supporting PTECH and the growth of NIC locally are high priorities.


In recent years, Sandpoint has seen significant growth in technology related industries.  Aerospace, biomedical and information technology, in particular, have taken a foothold.  High tech employers provide high paying jobs that serve a global market.  The result is an increasingly diversified economy that ensures economic stability.  The Mayor intends to continue to support these growing industries and attract new employers to Sandpoint.  By serving the needs of existing companies and leveraging assets, the City will retain quality employers and attract the right kind of growth and development in the future.   


Mayor Rognstad is committed to improving the quality of life in Sandpoint.  This requires a commitment to sustaining environmental health for which Sandpoint has taken many steps in recent years.  We’ve partnered with Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper to develop an herbicide-free weed management program for the lake.  We’ve created a city-wide zoning code which encourages multimodal connectivity, energy efficiency, community oriented design and reduces our carbon footprint.  Looking forward, the Mayor intends to reduce herbicide use in city parks, complete the implementation of the City’s storm water management plan and ensure long term protection of the City’s watershed. 


From the mountain to the lake, Sandpoint boasts many recreational opportunities.  Residents and visitors alike have long enjoyed the benefits of our signature assets: Lake Pend Oreille and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort.  However, recent additions like the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, the Sand Creek Trail and the Watershed Crest Trail have been welcomed additions to our world class park system.  Mayor Rognstad will continue to develop opportunities like these in the future. 

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