Tale of Two Cities

Eagle and Boise represent a tale of two cities when it comes to development philosophy.

A proposed high end development in Eagle built around a designer golf course along with a designer swimming, tennis, and soccer sports programs is a far cry from Boise’s penchant for “infill.” Boise provides those amenities at taxpayer expense.horizntl Infil.jpg

Both philosophies have the same goal: accommodate developers and increase tax revenues. To increase revenues you either raise prices or increase volume.

Eagle may have found a dirty little secret as they cater to big houses on big lots. Here is a simplistic, but accurate example of how it works:

EAGLE divides 10 acres into 10 parcels with $1 million homes. They collect taxes on $10 million worth of property and provide roads, sewer, schools, sidewalks, and water lines to 20 people.

BOISE divides the 10 acres into 40 parcels with $150,000 homes. They collect taxes on $6 million worth of real estate, but serve 80 people…four times the people for almost half assessed the value. This results in higher tax rates in Boise.

Part of Boise’s desire to cram more houses into existing neighborhoods is to increase the tax revenue–make up in volume what they lose in price. If they can jam 80 homes into that 10 acres they can grab taxes on $12 million worth of real estate value, BUT they have to serve 160 people.

Boise officials think it is a good deal because the roads, sewers, schools, sidewalks and water lines cost the same if used by 20 people in Eagle or 160 in Boise.

The result is Boise has even more $150,000 houses–and people who can afford them. Folks who don’t want to rub elbows with the neighbors and grow a garden not shaded by a two story “skinny house” flee the city, but come back in the daily commute to earn a living.

Eagle would be hard pressed to “lower” its standards and Boise is finding it a difficult sell to “raise” its standards with the perceived “need” to increase density to increase the bottom line.

Meanwhile, when you read reports on the Wednesday IDAHO ENVIRONMENTAL FORUM discussion about “infill” bear in mind there is a fair amount of incest.

Here is a rundown of speakers:

GARY ALLEN is a lawyer who represents developer BILL CLARK who is a director of Idaho Smart Growth which employs ELAINE CLEGG who is on the City Council which employs Planning Director BRUCE CHATTERTON who works with neighborhood association advocate ELLIOT WERK who is also a state senator.

Who’s your daddy?

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Nicely done, Guardian. (Although “fairly incestuous” is a bit of an understatement.) I hope readers will take the time and spend the $12 to attend the IEF infill forum tomorrow.
    DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006
    Buffet at 11:30 a.m.
    Program: 12 noon to 1:15 p.m.
    PLACE:The Crystal Ballroom in the historic Hoff Building in Downtown Boise.
    802 West Bannock Street, 2nd floor. Catered by Villanos.
    RSVP is [email protected].

    Bring your questions – maybe it time Daddy does some spanking!

  2. Dave,

    Not everything has been rosy in the City of Eagle during the past decade.

    Just to refresh your memory:

    Here is a link to a news story dating back to August 1996:

    If you read the story, you will note that residents of the City of Eagle faced a crisis in March of 1996 – a lack of wastewater treatment capacity that forced imposition of a building moratorium.

    That moratorium temporarily halted construction of new homes.

    Indeed, some Eagle residents who had purchased new homes couldn’t inhabit them.

    Eagle’s pace of growth simply out-paced that community’s ability to treat the increased wastewater volumes.

    After studying a variety of costly alternatives, the Eagle Sewer District turned to the City of Boise for assistance.

    Consequently, wastewater generated by homes in the City of Eagle today undergoes a “preliminary” measure of treatment at Eagle facilities before finally being piped to the City of Boise’s “West Boise Wastewater Treatment Plant” – near HP – for “tertiary” treatment.

    As a result of this cooperative, contractual agreement, residents who live within the boundaries of the Eagle Sewer District pay the City of Boise for “tertiary” wastewater treatment services.

    Here is a link to the explanation on the Eagle Sewer District Web page:

    Here is the link to the City of Boise news release about the deal struck in 2001:

    When one reads about those $1 million homes in the City of Eagle, one should be aware that the growth spurt that led to their creation posed some difficult, complex and costly challenges.

    Ultimately, Eagle resolved the problem by relying on the City of Boise for wastewater treatment services.

    I think that’s an interesting bit of historical information that adds some perspective to what you have mentioned.


    Jerry Jones

    ED NOTE–All true!

  3. One way for Boise to raise its standards is to, uh, raise its standards. By that, I mean code enforcement. City leaders should take code enforcement much more seriously.

    I propose a 3 strikes and you’re out approach to code enforcement, i.e., 1st violation $50, 2nd $500 and 3rd violation , you do some jail time. (let’s say in 3 year period)

    People are fleeing to Eagle and Hidden Springs etc. to escape the junk cars, abandoned cars, unkempt lawns and garbage strewn alleys that are typical in many areas of Boise. I my opinion, this is just as valid a reason for suburban flight as any other mentioned in this forum.

    Much ado has been made over those shotgun houses parked on Euclid St, however, I counted 20 code violations within 2 blocks either direction of those homeless homes.

    To single out those 3 houses on Euclid as code violators is as narrow (minded) as the houses themselves.

    One lot that I know of in the west side of the North End has 2 trailers in the front yard. They are not residences, one is used as storage and has been there for years and the latest addition is for sale. Where’s Channel 7 on that one?

    How about a daily report on code violations?
    The tagline could be “…and now your Ch. 7 first alert, crass-cast, where your junk is always in view”.

  4. I think I will be looking for another state to move to in the near future. Couldn’t stand the traffic in my old home area of the North End, and the taxes were ridiculous – moved to Eagle and found the out-of-staters were bidding housing prices out of sight – which, of course, results in higher property values which equals higher taxes. Guess us old folks will have to buy manufactured homes and move where the wage earners can’t move because of the lack of jobs.I just love this country.


    The only way it has any connection to the enviornment is that eveyone listed would like to see every nieghborhood in Boise crammed to the gills!

    The “Forum” should be re-named:

    The Idaho Kill (Boise) Neighborhoods Forum” or

    The “Idaho Promote Massive Condo’s Forum” or

    The “Anti-Idaho Quality of Life Forum”.

    Every person on the “Forum” is LITERALLY getting paid by someone else on the Forum!!!!!!! There is NO CHANCE these self proclaimed know-it alls about ubanization and infill have anything but their own interests to serve. And then they pay each other to go out and promote each other! GAG!

    By the way . . . . are these folks “transplants” from other cities they have helped destroy?

  6. Incest is only relative.

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