Back to
Back to Lifestyle home page
Golf Courses of the Panhandle
From the Fairway to the Green
Brenda Bauer
Featured Artist
The Art Spirit Gallery
Gallery Review
Breaking Ground
New Area Developments
The Residence Club at Priest Lake
A hidden jewel discovered in Dover, Idaho
Home Sweet Home
Lyman's Anavo
North Idaho's Extreme Kayaking
Kayaking the lakes, rivers and streams
Who's Who
Tim Christie, A Passion for Teaching
Schweitzer, What's in the Name
Jill's Cafe
The Wine Cellar
A short story by Stefanie Freele
On Stage - Local music reviews
  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

decks 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 project.

 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 tables.

  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 wedding.
They even saved the old Dover schoolhouse bell, over one-hundred-years old, and mounted it in the entryway.

  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 building.

  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 visit:
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 under five 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 at | | | |
Sandpoint Idaho Arial Photo Guide

________Copyright 1998-2006 by - All rights reserved