Craig Hermsmeyer was the property owner who received two stop-work orders from the county earlier in the year.
The lawsuit concerns constructing an RV park with multiple spaces and removing natural vegetation along a section that runs alongside the Pend Oreille River without obtaining permits.
Craig Hermsmeyer was named as the plaintiff. He was previously issued two stop-work orders earlier in the year by the county. Hermsmeyer was sued by the county on July 13, after it became clear that construction had not stopped at his private development at Bishops Bay.
Milton Ollerton, Bonner County Planning Director, stated that they are just following the court’s system at this point.
The property owner was also requested to have everything removed. He also said that Hermsmeyer could apply for permits, “but it’ll be pretty extensive.”
According to a media release by Bonner County on July 16, Hermsmeyer’s project has been lacking permits from Bonner County IDL, Panhandle Health District, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Hermsmeyer purchased the land off Camp Peine Road in December 2019. The proposed development violates two county ordinances as well as a third that prohibits stop-orders.
The first ordinance deals with the construction of an RV park. This is contrary to the 5-acre Rural/Residential zoning.
Another concerns the removal of natural vegetation along the Pend Oreille River. This was done by creating a sand beach at the shoreline. Bonner County Code requires a 40-foot natural vegetation barrier without disturbing non-invasive natural plant species already present in the area.
The third ordinance that was broken was when construction continued on the project despite two stop-work notices by the county.
Hermsmeyer will need to respond in writing to the six-page civil lawsuit filed by the county within the next month. The county wants the court to decide in its favor. This would mean Hermsmeyer must pay court and attorney fees and remove the sand from the vegetation buffer area to restore the site to its pre-existing condition.
The county is also requesting an injunction to prevent the RV park from operating without a conditional use permit to “afford the county respite from uncertainty and controversy regarding the disputed property.”
“It’s over,” said Hermsmeyer in an interview with the Daily Bee. He also said they have decided not to move forward after informing their neighbors of their plans and the latter “not being happy with it.”
The construction of a dock, boardwalk, and two piers on the land is not included in the criminal complaint. In April 2020, Hermsmeyer applied for a permit to construct a dock and boardwalk across Bishop’s Bay. Robert Payne, the previous contractor, submitted photo evidence of the project to the Daily Bee even though the property owner did not receive the permit.
Hermsmeyer stated that they “want to do the next right thing.” “This includes answering all the county’s needs, and we’re going do it. We’ve ceased and desisted over a month ago. We’re not doing anything else out there.”