A principal of the stalled SilverWing fly-in residential development in Sandpoint says he’ll likely start marketing the $28 million development again this summer, 10 years after breaking ground there.
While two court cases in which Silver Wing and Bonner County have traded legal victories are being appealed, SilverWing has the approvals it needs to proceed with the development, claims Michael Mileski of the Torrance, Calif.-based SilverWing at Sandpoint LLC ownership group.
“We’re free to move forward,” Mileski asserts. “I plan to start marketing it again possibly this summer, now that we’ve gotten more clarity.”
Scott Bauer, an attorney with the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office who represents the county in civil matters, couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.
SilverWing, an 18-acre hangar-home subdivision just west of the southern portion of the airport’s 5,500-foot-long, main runway, has been grounded over uncertainties regarding court actions in federal and Idaho state courts, Mileski says.
SilverWing originally was planned to include 44 fly-in homes with hangar areas ranging in size from 2,100 to 6,000 square feet and loft-style living space ranging from 2,100 to 4,000 square feet.
Prices listed on SilverWing’s website for prepared lots in the development range from $205,000 to $1.6 million.
The airport is operated by Bonner County, although it lies within the city of Sandpoint, which approved and permitted the SilverWing subdivision on private property adjacent to the airport.
SilverWing negotiated a through-the-fence agreement with Bonner County, giving the development a perpetual easement allowing direct airplane access for its residents between the hangar-homes and the runway.
Despite approvals from the city of Sandpoint and initial support from Bonner County, the development sputtered as the Federal Aviation Administration declared Bonner County had violated the airport’s master plan when it granted the SilverWing easement, putting millions of dollars in federal funding at risk.
Mileski claims Bonner County then attempted to revoke SilverWing’s access easement and intended to shift the runway alignment to accommodate larger jet aircraft, undermining the selling point of SilverWing as a fly-in community.
SilverWing sued Bonner County, alleging a number of claims that were elevated to federal court.
At the root of the court actions, SilverWing claims the county misrepresented its airport master plan, which the developer relied upon to plan the fly-in community, but which the FAA hadn’t approved.
Although several points in the case were dismissed in federal court, a key part of the case was remanded back to Idaho’s First District Court, where SilverWing prevailed.
SilverWing recently was awarded $1 million in damages and legal fees in the state case, and Bonner County was earlier awarded $727,000 in legal fees in the federal case.
“All I’m trying to do is develop what the city approved and what county supported,” Mileski says.
The market, however, might have changed during the last 10 years, he says, adding, “A lot of potential buyers who had interest in SilverWing aren’t there anymore.”
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