A friend of the GUARDIAN discussed flood and growth issues over lunch recently and declared, “I don’t like it here anymore. I think I will move to Idaho!”
Idaho is really a state of mind–just like California. “Kalifornikcate” is a state of mind about people and developers ruining a once beautiful spot on earth–regardless of their origins, or the spot.
Based on comments to the GUARDIAN, callers to talk radio, and coffee shop chatter, we see a culture clash that has bubbled to the surface of the of local society as the water rises in the Boise River.
There is a flood of resentment, fear, and envy, as well as more water than greedy developers and homeowners can handle. Old timers secretly revel in the misery of the “rich Californians, who should know better than to buy in a flood plain.” Local officials are defending their decisions to approve revenue producing construction along the river.
Quaint street names with reference to “river, brook, island, stream or creek” have become reality.
Perhaps the most telling sight is a real estate “contract pending” sign surrounded by sandbags–no doubt the sale will go through!
Unlike the Midwest where folks come together routinely to save their communities with sandbags, slave labor from the Ada jail is used to ease the flood threats to homes along the river.
State and Federal water agency folks tend toward, “they built it, it is their responsibility, not ours.” A homeowners group has threatened to sue, but we don’t think they have the cash or the cajones to do it. They sound like playground bullies.
It is hard to generate much sympathy for owners of homes with three car garages, private fishing lakes, walking trails, club houses, and all kinds of private access to the river that many Idahoans consider a public asset for everyone to use.
To build on a flood plain in Idaho is like building in California without regard for earthquakes.
There is no doubt a tendency among the newcomers to look at the old timers as Idaho conservative xenophobic bohunks. (For you non-library types that means hicks who are afraid of outsiders). What they don’t realize is the tremendous impact their arrival has on a community.
Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade told the GUARDIAN many parcels of land will nearly DOUBLE their value in just a single year. That’s good news if you are selling, but if you just want to stay put on a place you own, brace yourselves for tax hikes–offset a little by the new increase in the homeowners exemption. This inflation is caused by the newcomers–mostly Californians.
We can’t blame the Californians for selling their little bungalows in Orange County and moving to their dream home along the river in Eagle, but they create traffic and then demand traffic signals. They get in the path of floodwaters and want to get bailed out. Their elegant (extravagant) homes fan the flames of resentment for those who have to pay increased property taxes, fund school bonds, and deal with traffic while living in modest homes by comparision.
Perhaps “immigration” is also a state of mind.
NOTE–All the photos were recently made in Eagle Island subdivisions.
MEANWHILE IN BOISE…
Here is a little tidbit offered by a reader from the May 5 agenda for the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. He (or she) claims the area in question is in a floodplain and floodway. Timing is everything. Anyone taking bets?
“CHARTER BUILDERS, LLC requests approval for a Conditional Use Permit to construct a Planned
Development consisting of 80 residential units on ±2.95 acres located at 444 E. Parkcenter Boulevard in an L-OD (Limited Office with Design Review overlay) zone. This includes a request for a height exception. CUP06-00035 Carl Miller”
“CHARTER BUILDERS, LLC requests approval of a variance to construct an underground garage within the Greenbelt setback located at 444 E. Parkcenter Boulevard in an L-OD (Limited Office with Design Review overlay) zone. CVA06-00011 Carl Miller”
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