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Just one Cougar Island lot sells at auction

Payette Lake

The auction of an island owned by the state at the northern end of Payette Lake ended without much action Wednesday with just one of the five lots on Cougar Island sold.

The auction lasted just a few minutes, with the current leaseholder of the only developed lot on Cougar Island bidding on the property.

Jim Laski, a Bellevue attorney, paid $2 million for the land.

He declined an interview with Boise State Public Radio Wednesday. But in comments before the state land board in June, he said the property has meant a lot to his family since he began leasing it about 10 years ago.

“Since then, my family and I have spent as much time during the summer as possible enjoying the island and the unique beauty an Idaho mountain lake has to offer,” Laski said at the time.

During that hearing earlier this summer, he outlined how he’s been trying to purchase the land under his home for the past two years, spending thousands of dollars in the process to comply with the state’s program.

Lanski had warned his financing for the lot might fall through if state officials didn’t hold the auction in August. According to the McCall Star-News, he told city council members last month he was “skeptical” he’d be able to complete the deal.

“I think you’re going to be dealing with a new owner after Sept. 14,” Lanski said, according to the newspaper.

The other four lots on Cougar Island failed to sell. In all, the entire 14.2-acre island was valued at $10.3 million.

It’s unclear what will happen to them – an Idaho Department of Lands spokesperson said the agency will evaluate its next steps.

The Payette Land Trust raised $1.2 million to try to buy adjoining lots on Cougar Island to halt further development and protect the lake’s water quality, but it didn’t bid on any of the parcels.

The island is part of the state’s endowment lands portfolio, proceeds of which go toward funding public education.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!