Updated Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 11:31 PM
BOISE, Idaho — The Citadel, which arose on the Internet, envisions a walled and armed community in the mountains.
The plan calls for a fortified castle and firearms museum in addition to typical city features like a bank, jail and library. The complex would have 3,500 to 7,000 families on about 2,000 to 3,000 acres in Benewah County south of Coeur d'Alene, according to the website.
The group picked Benewah County because of its sparse population and "shared worldview" of independence, self-sufficiency and patriotism, the website said.
The group has purchased 20 acres atop a mountain in the county and hopes to break ground shortly after summer 2013, the website said. More than 200 families already have applied to join the Citadel, according to its website.
The project would be a "martial endeavor designed to protect residents in times of peril" and "built as a fortified bastion of liberty," the website says.
Members already created at least one Idaho company to make firearms and employ residents, but the fate of the project is uncertain, one member said in an email to The Idaho Statesman. It isn't clear yet whether it would even be built in Idaho.
"Currently we are a loose collection of several hundred people with a germ of an idea," the representative wrote in response to an interview request.
At least one core member lives near Coeur d'Alene, the group said. "It is our hope that the residents of Benewah County will quickly learn that our intent is to be an asset to their lives, not an intrusion," the website said. But the project could move to Montana, Wyoming or a different Idaho county, it said.
At the center of the development is a firearms-manufacturing company, III Arms, that would employ residents and raise money to help fund the Citadel. The company was incorporated in Idaho in August, its headquarters listed in Gaithersburg, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C.
The company website offers firearms for sale starting at $1,250. A woman whose name is listed as a representative of the company could not be reached for comment.
III Percent — seemingly a reference to the "three percenter" militia movement — and Citadel Land Development were created in Idaho last month, according to state records.
One or two square miles of the Citadel would be protected by walls and towers, the website said, adding that the community "intends to become a premiere tourist destination for Americans from sea to sea and border-to-border."
Residents would have to agree to conditions that include: Following federal and state constitutions. Being able to shoot a man-sized steel target at various distances with a handgun and a rifle. Having an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle variant, at least five magazines and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Keeping every household stocked with a year's worth of food, water and supplies. Taking courses on such topics as basic medical care and firearms safety. Carrying a loaded sidearm when visiting the town center.
The application, with a $208 fee, asks if the person plans to raise livestock, farm or start a business at the Citadel. Residents also can choose to live inside or outside the community's walls.
According to its website, The Citadel started as an idea in the "patriot blogosphere" in early 2012. It will not have a leader.