| Just a few minutes drive west of Sandpoint, on Hwy. 2,
sits the quiet little town of Dover, with its post office,
and Dover Joe’s, a delightful espresso and pastry stand that
opened recently to serve the many commuters who pass through
on a daily basis.
Like most who drive this route, I had never turned off the main highway
to explore Dover further, but today would be the exception.
Wanting to see what everyone was talking about, I turned in
and followed the Dover Bay signs. And, from now on, when I
hear the term “hidden jewel,” I’ll think of Dover.
Who knew this tiny, unassuming town had so much hidden beauty? It was a
view to die for. I couldn’t help but wonder what took the
developers so long to find this place? Luckily, it wasn’t
just any developer. It was a local. Ralph Sletager, born and raised in Sandpoint, purchased the
285 acres of wetlands and riverfront property in and around
Dover in 2002. He then took his visions and ideas to Tom
Runa Designs in Sandpoint, and together they came up with a
very ambitious plan.
Sletager’s dream is now
manifesting into a community consisting of eleven
unique neighborhoods of high-end homes, cabins, condominiums, and waterfront home sites.
There will be a marina and small village area… islands and
inlets… wetlands and riverfront… two public beaches…
and little waterways meandering through the
community with quaint stone bridges. There will be
four public parks for all to enjoy, and nine miles
of pathways that will trail under the new Dover
Bridge when it’s completed, and tie into the North
Idaho Bikeways’ path that leads to Sandpoint.
There’s even a big old barn that’s been saved and
renovated, that will be available for weddings,
receptions, family reunions, etc.
Sletager felt strongly about using local businesses to build his dream.
The architects for the condominiums at Dover Bay’s
“Bayside South” and “Marina Town” neighborhoods are
Miller Stauffer Architects of Coeur d’Alene, with
Pucci Construction of Sandpoint already building
them at a great location right on the water.
“Bayside North” where the “Cabin in the Woods” project is going on, is an
area where the mature trees were saved and the
cabins nestled in amongst them. And let me tell you,
these cabins aren’t the kind you stayed in as a kid.
They are spacious two, three, and four-bedroom homes
with huge wrap-around
Dover Bay Photos: Courtesy of Dover Bay
sporting wonderful log accents and an outdoor
fireplace. Oh… did I mention the granite
countertops, hardwood floors, and garage?
The “Cabin in the Woods” project was put together by DSS Construction of
Sandpoint, a fourth-generation, family-owned
business run by Doug, Steve and Larry Smith.
As I drove the newly paved roads that wind through the development, I
gazed across the river to the mountains, and the
blue sky beyond, and wondered how many shades of
blue there can possibly be? I couldn’t get over the
fact that I had driven within a hundred yards of
this beauty thousands of times before, and never
knew it was there.
To date there have been thirty-three waterfront parcels sold, six cabins,
and thirteen condo’s pre-sold. And, according to Tom Mehler of Dover Bay Realty, “Most of the buyers are
from out of the area, and these are second, third,
and fourth vacation homes for many of them.” Mehler
also predicts that this will be a seven-to-ten-year
I asked Gail, the Dover Postmistress, how people around town felt about
the changes. “I think most people are okay with it,”
she said. “There haven’t been a whole lot of changes
yet, but they’re coming.”
Several of the other people I talked to expressed concerns about their
taxes going up, as they most likely will. You can’t
put a wealthy community with million dollar homes
next to such a small town and expect taxes to stay
the same. But the Dover Bay Project is doing their
best to make the sting less painful.
“We built a new city hall, and we are donating over nine miles of public
trails,” Mehler said. “We’re giving the town a city
beach with several thousand feet of water frontage,
and a park which will be landscaped, have public
restrooms and recreational facilities at the beach.
Plus, there will be three other public parks
throughout the community.”
I have to tell you about this new city hall. It’s right on the river—a
gorgeous structure with huge log beams in the
ceiling, three offices for the use of the mayor and
his cohorts, a kitchen with all the amenities,
restrooms, a giant stone fireplace, and a large
meeting room surrounded by windows to see the view.
They’ve even furnished it with desks, chairs, and
It has a deck facing the water, and it is so nice that I walked through
it and wondered if I could rent it for my son’s
They even saved the old Dover schoolhouse bell, over
one-hundred-years old, and mounted it in the
Dover Bay’s developers also agreed to have the old sewer system
engineered and upgraded to handle future use. The
water treatment plant will be upgraded by the
project to handle the increase in volume as well.
And, because of the increased tax base, the city
will qualify for the Urban Renewal Plan. Through
this, they can apply for money for new paved
streets, a fire station, or a new city utility
57% of the 285 acres has been designated as wetlands and open space. It
will be preserved and left as a wildlife and bird habitat.
For more information about this project, you can
Or call: 208-265-1597
Three longtime local residents—Henry
Mire, his son Joe, and Eric Skinner—have plans to
put in a new quality development at the base of
Schweitzer Mountain. “We’re trying to do something
really nice. Our families are from here and we want
to build something they’ll be proud of,” says Henry.
“We’re developing seventeen lots on seventy acres,
so there’ll be plenty of privacy, and over 180
degrees of breathtaking views.” Sixty percent will
be common area, seven acres of which has beautiful
old-growth forest, with extremely large trees. There
will be a waterfall at the entrance, a park with
gazebos, benches, picnic tables, and hiking trails
throughout. There will be two or three phases to the
project. They hope the
first phase of three lots will be finished by the
end of the year.
“We’re very pleased with the location,” says Mire.
“You can get from your home to downtown Sandpoint in
minutes, and to the top of Schweitzer in about ten
minutes. And, we hear that there may be a new golf
course going in at the
base of Schweitzer, so that would be nice.” For more
information contact Eric Skinner at 208-255-3800 or
contact via email