North Idaho Slow Growth
Oct 3, 2022
We need some help understanding this. Something looks incredibly fishy about the assessed, taxable values of Lakeside Capital’s proposed “Coeur Terre,” 412 acre property. The public records from the Kootenai Assessor's Parcel Information website appear to show that the "Market Value" of the most coveted, conveniently located, parcels of rural-suburban land in Kootenai County is assessed at less than $2000 per acre. How can this be?
For comparison, the "Market Value" of buildable land in nearby Kootenai county runs somewhere around $400,000 per acre depending on location and zoning. And even in unincorporated areas, suburban rural, unsubdivided parcels are valued at at least $50K per acre. The “market value” of the 10-acre parcel immediately adjacent to the Coeur Terre property is $677,979, or $68K per acre.
We are not tax experts, so are there may be some sort of reasonable explanation for these absurdly low "Market Values" that we are unaware of But it appears that the assessed value of the all land owned by Lakeside Capital’s Real Estate Holding Company—that is intended to be annexed into Coeur d’Alene and turned into a colossal “planned development”,—is currently valued at a rate of only about $1600 per acre, vastly lower than its real market worth.
Assessed vs. Taxable Values
To be clear, we understand that if acreage is use primarily for agricultural purposes, it often qualifies for an agricultural exemption so that the “taxable” value of the land is often far, far less, than the assessed value. This is what we expected to see in the tax records.
That is why, when we created a spreadsheet to summarize these values, we labeled a column for “2022 Taxable Value” alongside the "2022 Assessed Market Value.” We expected these values to be different, and we would not be surprised if Lakeside had somehow qualified for tax exemptions. Investment firms who hold land as a "asset class" frequently qualify for farming, forest, or conservations exemptions, and these generous benefits are one of the main drivers of inflated land prices.
But that is not what we are seeing. There are no "agriculture exemptions" involved. There is no difference between the assessed and taxable value of this land because the assessed value is so low, there is no need for an exemption.
What we appear to be seeing is that the “Market Value” of some of the most desirable property in Kootenai county is being drastically undervalued at a time when thousands of residential property owners are seeing their assessments skyrocket. What the heck is going on?
According to the official story, this land was purchased in December of 2020 at a time when land prices in Kootenai were already rising precipitously. What price was the land purchased for? Certainly not the absurdly low prices designated as the “Market Value” for the property.
To make matters even more perplexing, the “Value History” is missing for almost all the Lakeside properties, and the assessed "Market Value” of the few parcels that DO have histories, is far, far higher than current value. The 2020 “Market value” of the 40 Acre LREV 29 Parcel was well over $3 Million and the 2020 value of the 20 Acre LREV 36 Parcel was almost $2.5 Million. These are far more believable values than the ~$1600 per acre indicated in current records. But how is it that the Market value of these parcels were drastically reduced at the same time prices were were rising throughout the county?
We Need an Explanation
Please Check Our Numbers. We do not understand these numbers, but would love to know what the heck is going on in the assessor’s office. And we’d like to know SOON. As in before the October 11, P & Z Hearing on the Annexations for the Property.
If Lakeside Capital,—being a fantastically wealthy and influential global investment conglomerate,—is being given Special Treatment by local government, Kootenai residents should know about it. And if there is nothing unusual about such deflated prices because they are a result of well-established procedural loopholes Kootenai residents should know about that as well.
For those who want to do their own research, information about individual parcels can be found by clicking on Kootenai County's Parcel map. Once you have identified the parcel number and owner, the assessed value of the land, and tax information can be looked up on the Kootenai Assessor's Parcel Search website.
Why so Many different LLCs?
The peculiarities of the Coeur Terre property acquisition by Lakeside Capital does not end with the strangely low assessed market values. There are other factors which seem peculiar. For example, although Lakeside Capital owns almost all the land surrounding Huetter and are planning to develop the entire site as an integrated "Planned Development", their real estate holding company has established a separate LLC for each and every 40 acre parcel.
Are there tax benefits to this? Was another layer of complexity added to inhibit transparency? We have no idea why a single entity needs over 30 independent LLCs to hold property. Clearly this separation of real estate holding entities was done for a reason, and we'd like to know what it is.
The Coeur Terre "Timeline" is Rigged
The "time line" for the development of the Couer Terre property is another aspect of the project that is deeply suspicious. It is obvious that the last minute purchase of the property in December of 2020 was organized in such a way that Lakeside could enjoy the benefits of not owning or being taxed on the property, while proceeding full steam ahead with plans for development.
Lakeside Capital began spending millions of dollars on site plans and consulting studies over ten years before the purchase was finalized. This could only have happened if the corporation knew with certainty, from a legal stand point, that the purchase was assured. For over a decade, while the property was being treated as an active investment, Lakeside paid no taxes, but actively worked with government officials to firm up plans for development. Lakesides' agents were even invited to participate in the development of the 2042 Comprehensive plan and the Plan was customized with Lakeside's development plans for Coeur Terre in mind.
The timing of property purchase seems to have been arranged to maximize Lakeside's influence with CDA's city government, while minimizing any opportunity for public input into development plans. Because "official" ownership was delayed, public officials could not be held accountable for decisions made by insiders in backroom deals, and complaints from concerned residents could be deflected.
Now Coeur Terre is being presented to citizens for comment as a "done deal" long after the opportunity for any real input into decison making has long passed. Yet another pro forma, fake and rigged "Public Hearing" where citizens can vent their concens, before being summarily ignored. It's all part of "The Plan."
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