The DAILY PAPER had a good story by reporter Sven Berg Sunday detailing plans by Boise officials to offer “developer welfare” for downtown apartments catering to young professionals. We see it as social engineering.
Efforts to increase population density — not to mention traffic and urban crowding — have not been particularly successful due to the high cost of condos in those lofty towers across from city hall, the Aspen Lofts on Front, and the Grove Hotel.
The Statesman story said, “City Council will consider a proposal to award grant money and loan guarantees for rented apartments and for-sale condominiums, Planning and Development Services Director Derick O’Neill said. As much as $150,000 for these projects would be available next year from federal grants and a Boise account that accumulates money by leasing city-owned railroads to Union Pacific.”
The social engineers at city hall seem bent on the idea Downtown needs more housing. They want to encourage private developers to build 1,000 residences – a round number they say would begin to fill demand. The proposal for grants and loan guarantees is part of the plan.
City Councilor Lauren McLean is looking for a variety of “products” so they don’t appeal to just one type of resident. The GUARDIAN has a suggestion: What about offering a downtown “product” for the thirty or more sex offenders living within a half mile of Shoshone Park near Canal and Vista. We count more than 20 convicted sex offenders at 2717 Vista alone. Downtown residences would make sense, especially if the other residents are expected to be “single professionals without children.”
The area referred to by some as “African Village” across from Jefferson School on Latah would be another good source of diversity for downtown apartments.
Whatever the motivation, be it economic, social, liberal or conservative, public officials have used the Boise Bench neighborhoods as a repository for refugees, sex offenders, mobil home parks, and low cost subsidized housing. Schools like Hawthorne, Whitney, and Horizon are a reflection of this social engineering. Why not attract some of these residents downtown and have their children attend Adams or Highlands schools so more than a single type of renter is attracted to downtown.
Whether they are aware or not, Boise officials are creating a huge split between BENCH and VALLEY RESIDENTS (Northenders). The obsession with downtown businesses, transit center, trolley, bike lanes, and specialized police and fire units, comes at the expense of Bench residents.
There is lip service paid to “urban sprawl, but Boise Councilors continue to provide sewer service, fire contracts and then annex thousands upon thousands of residents against their will into the higher tax zone within the city limits. Thanks to urban renewal laws, new developments and increased values on existing parcels provide NO REVENUES to the city of Boise. Taxes on those properties are deferred to the Capitol City Development Corp (CCDC), That means the widow on the Bench and the owners of Vista Village have to pay for police, fire, and roads in Downtown.
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