City Government

Build It And They Will Come!

The same folks who promoted the Foothills preservation plan are bent on growing as many houses as possible in the rolling south hills…far away from the cozy North End.
Desert 2.jpg

Recent “cover stories” in the Statesman about city-owned land and Boise’s plans for growing into the southeast desert should sound alarm bells for growthophobes–like the GUARDIAN.

Cynthia Sewell did a nice job reporting the dreams and desires of Boise’s government elite as well as the old and new money developer elite who have “visions” of paving and populating the sagebrush desert south and east of town.

Lots of money to be made by the land holders, some of whom trace their roots back to the sheep and cattle ranching heritage of the area. All tolled five groups are talking about developing nearly 20,000 acres.

Who is quoted as seeing the area as a “blank canvas” for planned development? None other than the captain of “Team Dave,” Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. This is the same guy who is AGAINST planned development at Avimor along highway 55. He also wants to annex the planned development at Hammer Flats above Lucky Peak.

We aren’t ready to totally condemn Team Dave, but to oppose a development Boise is unable to grasp with its massive tentacles while promoting development which will have more impact–admittedly with tax revenues–rings hollow in our ears. This is the same guy who preached to city employees the virtues of having a “livable city.”

Encouraging growth by providing sewers under the guise of “planning” and encouraging people and businesses to locate in Boise is like the Pope telling the starving masses in Africa to refrain from birth control…well intended with inhuman results.

The Brad Hem story about Boise land holdings is also a well done piece which points to the sins of the past administration. It also shows us that meeting in secret to conclude land purchases is counterproductive–the city can end up with land they don’t need and sometimes cannot unload. It is also off the tax rolls.

The economic development office of Team Dave has taken to using the citizen/taxpayer land to entice development in the city. They “lease” land to commercial enterprises like the ROCK CLIMBING GYM and the controversial MOUNTAIN VIEW POWER PLANT to get around the law which requires land be SOLD to the highest bidder. By leasing, Team Dave can eliminate any fair access by businesses they don’t like.

While most development is bad in the view of the GUARDIAN, there are exceptions. We don’t like to see blight created by poor decisions–like the vacant parcels along Fairview at 25th and also at 2900 Fairview.

Each purchase was the “perfect location” for a police building and now Chief Mike Masterson is aiming to get smaller stations located in the growth areas instead of a huge central complex…council is split over what to do with the property. One plan calls for selling the land and using the revenues for libraries. At least they wouldn’t have to include the citizens if they paid cash.

Then there is the “railroad to nowhere,” the industrial park near the Outlet Mall and thousands of acres of undeveloped “future park” land–all without a defined public purpose or need.

The current mood of City Councilors is to get out of the land speculation business and own land identified with a specific purpose only.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Growthophobe – defined in my dictionary as: “A tiny minority of the citizens of Boise before the population size and density caused the quality of life index to reach zero. They are extinct now because nobody would listen to them.”

    Guardian, we shouldn’t fear growth (-ophobe being deriviative of phobia, or fear), we should be steaming mad. What’s the word for that?

  2. Urban sprawl and sewage problems were a major concern for Ada County Planning Director Lynn Rogers? when I was reporting on city and county government in the mid to late 60s. I think Boise city officials had another view. I also was concerned that downtown redevelopment would be done without a nod to historic preservation.

  3. All I can say is Boise is blessed in that it is one of the few city’s left with a rural atmosphere, that is , it’s a city resembling a large town without urban sprawl.If Boisean’s want to keep down the violence,pollution, and traffic stress you better make sure your city,county and state politico’s make severe building and zoning regulations for all would be ” get rich quick developers” who see your town as ” easy pickins.”

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