Spokane Journal of Business

Cd'A developer to build 20 rental homes on 1.6-acre lot

Pocket-house designation for land use encourages infill on some city parcels

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Coeur d'Alene residential developer Jon Harper, doing business as Qualitas Co., has obtained building permits to construct 20 small rental homes on a 1.6-acre lot.

The project site is located at 3516 N. Mountain Lane, north of Lunceford Avenue, about three blocks east of a Costco outlet in north Coeur d'Alene.

The building permits, which were issued under an infill zoning classification called pocket housing, have a combined value of $1.6 million, Harper says.

"The lot is zoned for a 20-unit apartment development, but I thought we could build 20 small houses close together," Harper says.

Qualitas is acting as its own contractor on the houses, Harper says, adding, "We designed them in-house. They are simple one-story houses."

All Venture Drafting, of Hayden, has drawn up the designs, he says.

Qualitas is completing foundations for the houses and expects to frame them within the next few weeks, he says. The first houses in the project will be complete by early next year, weather permitting, he says.

Harper says each pocket house will have about 1,000 square feet of living space. Five of them will have one bedroom, and the others will have two bedrooms.

Rents will be set at market rates, likely ranging from $825 to $1,000 a month, he says.

The city of Coeur d'Alene's website says pocket residential development is intended to improve land-use efficiency and stimulate new housing by expanding development options. The number of houses that can be permitted in a pocket residential development is the same as the density allowed for any other type of residential or multifamily development under the respective land-use zone as long as the structures cover less than half of the site.

"A pocket house is a particular zoning classification in Coeur d'Alene that allows someone to fill in the blanks around town," Harper says. "If you have a house with a large enough lot, you could put small quarters in the back yard."

In such cases, pocket houses are also referred to as guest or mother-in-law quarters.

Harper, who incorporated Qualitas earlier this year, says the project on Martin Lane is his first experience with pocket houses.

"I've built individual houses for clients, including custom homes and condominiums," he says.

Mike McLean
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Deputy Editor Mike McLean has worked his entire journalism career in the Inland Northwest. Mike, who also lives to reel in fish and crank up music, has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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