Looks like the Idaho Transportation Department not only holds the key, but they also own the door to the proposed Cliffs subdivision overlooking Lucky Peak Dam east of Boise.
Long time opponent of the project, Tony Jones, claims ITD owns land that Skyline Development has designated as primary entrance to the plateau. He says the 5 acre parcel cost taxpayers $90,000 and was acquired under condemnation proceedings in 1995. ITD got the land as access to a potential second bridge across the Boise River on Highway 21. Jones says it is worth $400,000 today.
Jones claims the property is worth as much as $400,000 and is concerned about the financial mechanism that will put it in the hands of the Ada County Highway District. Generally speaking it is the responsibility of a developer to pay for roads in new subdivisions and then turn them over to the ACHD once the streets have been built to ACHD specs.
The GUARDIAN thinks Idaho Transportation Department needs to sell the 5 acres to the highest bidder…creating a highway land speculation deal in reverse. The public already owns the land which a developer needs in order to dedicate it to the public for use as a road–a classic “Catch 22”.
Here are the options as we see them:
–State sells to highest bidder because the land is no longer needed.
–State transfers the land to county for “public purpose”–even though the developer is required to provide access to his subdivision.
–State gets the developer to make an offer in excess of the $90,000 they paid the original owner 11 years ago.
–State offers original owner first right of refusal on the land they took at condemnation.
We also hear that if the original purchase was made with federal highway funds the rules of the game are changed. Now that things are public, ITD will be hard pressed to release the land at less than market value of $400,000. Meanwhile ACHD won’t approve the plan.
While the state owns the door and the ACHD holds the key (they will not pay for the land they require of the developer) it looks like Tony Jones may be the locksmith who knows the combination or how to make a key for the lock. Stay tuned.
A reader called our attention to the following ITD rule for disposal of surplus property which could result in Ada County Highway District getting the land from the state. ACHD has told the GUARDIAN they will not invest any money in the project–it is the obligation of the developer.
302. METHOD OF SALE FOR PROPERTY VALUED AT TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS OR GREATER.
The department shall first offer the property at the appraised price to the following: State Agencies, County and City where the property is located, the Highway District in which the property is located.
The state agencies are given first priority to purchase the property, county second, city third and Highway District forth. If none of the above public agencies purchase the property, it will be offered at public sale. The sales price shall include an administrative fee.
Term sales of up to twenty (20) years may be offered at the discretion of the department. (7-1-97)
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