Insurgent Developers Invade Ada

There has to be some kind of analogy to the mideast situation with all these invanders imposing their will on the peace-loving people of Boise and Ada county.

The latest aggressor is Westpark Company with ‘Mayfield Springs.’ It is another of those mass subdivisions billed as a “Planned Community” proposed for land located northeast and adjacent to Interstate-84, approximately 14-miles east of Boise in unincorporated Ada County.

The primary access to the paving of the formerly flower covered desert
is at the Mayfield Springs I-84 Interchange and Indian Creek Road.

The proposed 909-acre community would include approximately
2,500 residential units presented in a variety of styles and price ranges desired by single-family home buyers, empty-nesters, and residents looking for condominium living opportunities. (That probably means cheap houses). The proposed project would be built in phases over the next 5 to 7 years.

The planned community application indicates the project is to be built
around an 18-hole public golf course….great use of precious water resources!!
The course is to be designed by’Audubon Certified Sanctuary’ criteria that requires special attention be given to sensitive and wildlife-friendly areas. The proposed plan calls for a large clubhouse facility, driving range and learning center…something the eagles and badgers will surly love!

The Mayfield Springs community would be divided into various village
styles that are linked by a network of streets and walking trails. One
proposed village style would provide several housing options desired by families while other village styles will cater to those living a retired
lifestyle. Each proposed village includes a developed walking trail
system, pocket parks and recreation opportunities…they forgot the equestrian trails, however.

In addition to the residential villages, the Mayfield Springs Planned
Community application also outlines plans for a mixed-use hotel,
conference center and spa. This complex would be located along with
other related commercial facilities proposed for the northeast corner of the Mayfield Springs Interchange. A community shopping center and
related retail opportunities are also proposed for the northwest corner of that same intersection. Does this somehow have the ring of swampland in Florida or those desert developments in Arizona where you get a free dinner if you come to hear the sales pitch?

Today’s submission does not mean Ada County has formally accepted the
developer’s planned community development application. It only marks
the beginning of the completeness review process to ensure the developer
has adequately addressed the appropriate local, state, and federal
regulations and ordinances as they pertain to the proposed development
in their application.

We need to do something friends. The enemy is aiming at getting us surrounded. We will soon be held hostage in our little communities unable to escapt to C.J. Strike to the south or Cascade-McCall to the north.

This is a no brainer. There is not enough water, sewage disposal, or roads to handle what these greedy developers are trying to do. Our only hope is to elect a few growthophobes who won’t sell out.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. My observation is that when it is Greed v. Growthophobes, greed wins almost always. My other observation, with tongue in cheek, is that the badgers and eagles are not the only “surly” ones. That said, when can we impress upon urban planners and engineers that latent demand dictates you cannot build your way out of congestion. More roads will not help, it only encourages more people to drive on them. More people on them means more houses for the driving people to live in. The Palouse is looking better by the minute.

  2. cheeky monkey
    Aug 7, 2006, 8:52 pm

    So let me get this straight. There’s absolutely no place in Idaho (let alone Ada County) for someone to move to. Call me stupid, but I’m just getting the BG-spin on things, “Screw everyone, and let the Ada County economy die on the vine.”

    Umm, makes sense – if you lived in a hive of fire ants.

    Check the county’s Planned Community ordinance a little closer, you’ll see that every such development has to build its own sewer treatment plant. And, absolutely pay for (or construct) every single other essential public service (including roads) – all at no cost to other tax payers. If only all development was required to do this.

    And as far as water goes, dig a little deeper. Most of the land ownership in that area was consolidated by five owners. These owners have significant ties back to Micron, and they bought the land for the massive underground water reserves – to protect their heavily water-consumpive micro-chip manufacturing investment. They’ve just begun to realize that the land (floating on an underground lake) is worth a lot more for living on than being sucked dry for a few silicon chips.

    If such a proposed Planned Community isn’t labled as an exclusive enclave of the uberwealthy, it gets slammed (as has this one) for proposing to build ‘cheap houses’ – implying poorly constructed homes, not easily affordable ones.

    Unfortunately, the average home in Ada County costs over $250K, yet the median income in the county is $50K. With this amount of income an ‘affordable home’ (defined in state code) is whatever house can be purchased by a family that earns just $40K/year (80% of the median income). At $40K, a bank would only be willing lend $140K-$180K for a mortgage (depending on how much money the family has for a downpayment).

    I don’t know about you, but if I had to buy my own home right now I couldn’t afford it. So by all means, lets trash anyone who proposes building affordable homes. And since supply determines pricing, what does everyone think will happen to current home prices if developers stop building homes. If you think the prices will go down, then I’ve got some sea-front property in Florida I’d like to sell you.

  3. Ask where is there any water out there. I know there are dry irrigation wells.

  4. We are thinking about moving to Jerome or that area….but I am sure there is a downside to that also. I actually like my house but the taxes and traffic are probably going to push us out of Eagle.

    Our leaders need to rethink the water, sewage and trash removel needs before they allow more growth in this area. I am very willing to conserve but I don’t want to make my lawn, which provides cooling for our property, into a gravel bed, which reflects more heat onto our house. I don’t see that as a good alternative.

    I fail to see why current residents have to sacrifice so that more people can move here. But, I guess us Americans always think the grass is greener in another pasture.

  5. Just what we need: another future slum.

  6. We have an election coming up in November. Any of these bad-development rubber-stamps up for re-election?

    Perhaps someone could compile a list. I believe John Franden, president of ACHD is on the ballot.

    If people are serious about this, picking one or two off in the fall would be a great way to send a message.

  7. Guardian, as much as I detest pretty much every new development announcement, I believe displacing foxtails and cheat-grass is preferable to displacing fertile farmland. Why didn’t they declare a moratorium years ago on building in pastures and fields, and instead direct the growth out southeast of town? Mountain Home is SPECTACULAR this time of year! (I wonder how many of those Columbia Village folks realize the old landfill is a few feet down, underneath their cracker boxes?)

    I’m mildly amused by the proposed new “Spring Creek” community 15 miles or so south of Hailey/Ketchum/Sun Valley, where supposedly the working-class rabble can afford to live.

  8. Dave is still out of town? Right? I can tell. He usually doesn’t publish the blog with typos. They can get corrected, however. Most blog spaces have ways to edit a post after it was published.

    In the meantime, we get entertained by the anti-growth author. Okay, I admit. I’m less than entertained. There has to be a better argument against new developments than just ‘growth’. Boise – and the entire Treasure Valley – WILL continue to experience new building. Many of our most treasured landmarks, including the Capitol building, the train depot, Warm Springs and any of the ‘lady parks’ are sitting on once was undeveloped property and desirable natural habitate.

    Besides, what is wrong with low cost housing or variable price ranges? Isn’t that what this city needs? The last thing I want to see developed is more McMansions (1/2 acre houses sitting on an acre of land). Maybe Mayfield Springs will even be dense enough to support a bus line for workers in and our of Micron or senior citizens to the fine medical facilities and shopping opportunities.

    EDITOR NOTE–Sorry about the typos. Hard to edit on hotel computers with no word program or download capability.

  9. Sounds like a little more than a little bias out of this publisher/writer.
    Would you rather have the people moving into the area and a lot of present residents just living out in the desert or wherever without any planning, sewers, services etc? The borders of the US can not be restricted or controlled between Mexico and the U.S. so why are you suggesting we do so between Idaho and California or wherever. You or your family came from somewhere other than from under a rock. I was born in Idaho, but I recognize the freedom in the United States of being able to move freely within its borders. Let’s allow responsible planning as the system allows.

    EDITOR NOTE–Jane, more than a little bias. GUARDIAN is a different SLANT on the news and that slant includes severe growthophobia! None of these so called PLANNED communities are aimed at solving a housing shortage. They are aimed at ATTRRACTING people to the area to buy land and homes…$$$. We then pay for the roads, schools, water, sewer, dirty air, cops, firemen, and dirty air. They have to pay up front they won`t develop.

  10. When I voted for Dave Bieter for Mayor I thought I WAS voting for a growthophobe. Fooled again.

  11. Where would all these people work? Presumably in the confines of their “Planned Community.” Ha ha.

    We have a neighbor who came here from California last year. He has a wife and two kids. Both parents work full time but don’t earn enough to afford housing in this valley. They want to stay here but may have to leave to get jobs with decent wages. It doesn’t matter if housing is “cheaper” here if the wages are too low.

    I notice in today’s Statesman that the Chamber of Commerce has hired a guy to recruit businesses. That sounds like a “which came first” situation. You have to have businesses to create jobs but if there aren’t enough people to fill those jobs why would a company want to move here?

    Anyway, you can call me a certified “growthophobe.”

  12. Worry not on all the big box house or inexpensive high density house growth. This sort of thing has been going on all over the world for a long long time. The sky is not falling. Read a text book for Sociology 101. The very very good news is we in this country are a long way from running out of food production capacity.

    Furthermore, if one has a clear vision of the future. Might I suggest one drive the population bus rather than trying to stand in front of it. You’ll get very rich if you’re correct.

  13. There is not enough water, sewage disposal, or roads to handle what these greedy developers are trying to do.

    Well said!

    How about the simple fact; There aren’t any good paying FAMILY WAGE jobs here!

    We have radio ads touting jobs that pay $10.00 an hour and sounding like that is a good wage. When will Idaho wake up to the wage scam?

    Dear Developer, where will your people work?

  14. I hope we all realize that as long as the developers and groups like the IACI “own” our representatives, the decisions they make will be money tainted! They are not going to make rational , good sense decisions .Dollar signs get in the way of their vision! They sure don’t represent the citizens who elect them.. We all should check our candidates contributors out before we go to the polls in Nov..

  15. P.S. Developers pay no impact fees so the taxpayers of Idaho will be left holding the bag of extra taxes and negative impact on our environment.. And Boise city is working at expanding its area of impact and counting the extra tax money they hope to get..

  16. cheeky money
    Aug 8, 2006, 9:31 pm

    There’s good reason we’re all so jaded when it comes to ‘development’. When it’s like pulling teeth to get a developer to put in a stop sign down the street from his/her new subdivision, who can blame us for thinking that having ‘development pay for itself’ is nothing more than a real estate sales scheme. Ponzi scheme, more likely.

    Check out Ada County’s Planned Community ordinance – which requires that impacts on all essential public services (including, but not limited to): Roads, Sewers, Schools, EMS, Fire Department, Police, Parks, Natural Open Space, Air Quality, Historic & Cultural Resources, Wildlife, and Water (potable & irrigation) – be paid for, constructed, conserved, or rehabilitated. If the impacts of the proposed development can’t be mitigated, the development doesn’t get approved.

    And, to ensure that any Planned Community stays on track in meeting its financial, cultural and environmental obligations the county performs a top-to-bottom audit of the development every other year until the development is fully constructed (usually 10-15 years, sometimes as long as 20). This financial audit also includes personal interviews of the residents in the community to ensure that the developer is making good on his/her promises. If any such audit shows a system or mitigation beginning to fail, the developer must correct the problem – or no new construction will be permitted.

    If we could just get the cities to start implementing ordinances like this, growth will become a lot more manageable – and we would never have to worry about a crumbling infrastructure, declining levels of service, or a degraded human environment.

    Right now, that ordinance is the closest thing this valley has to a truly Green & Sustainable approach to regional planning. And, if you think the private sector will never go for what could be a huge upfront cost and a long-term financial committment, read the paper or call Ada County. Ask them how many ‘greedy’ developers are lining up to pay for all these efforts – last count it seemed like around thirteen. With each being at least 640 acres in size, and each with housing densities identical to Boise’s Northend, that’s a lot of houses and a lot of land.

    Seems to me that the county’s approach has struck a chord in the development community.

  17. Guardian,

    I know the Google Ads are providing a meager income to subsidize the cost of running the Guardian. I and many others appreciate the work that you do. But you seem to be taking a little money from the greedy developers also. A huge percentage of your ads are for developers and estate agents or “Growth Enablers”

    One of your top “advertisers” is Kastera Homes, the same Kastera Homes looking to develop the Foothills a hop skip and jump away from the Northend. You might see yourself in a predictment, when Kastera homes goes to Boise with their plan for development. You probably should look at revising your Google Ads account to reduce this conflict of interest.

    EDITOR NOTE–This has come up before. We thought about killing the ads and going strictly local, but there is a certain irony in taking a few cents off the developers everytime someone clicks!

  18. Bravo, Guardian!

    Keep up the great campaign of bashing all growth and especially “Mayfield Springs.” As a current Mayfield resident (yes, there are a few of us out here in the weeds…) I can’t thank you enough.

    The reason we live out here is because we abhor the “Stepford Wives” type Hidden Springs communities and revel in our privacy and solitude.

    To the uneducated, we work where everyone else does – in Boise, and my commute takes half as long as my co-workers living in Meridian and Eagle…

    Aside from that the place is a desolate, arid and lonely purgatory. There is absolutely no water, it’s brutally HOT, and there are millions of snakes! Snakes EVERYWHERE!

    I can’t imagine anyone (else) building or buying out here.

    Although, a golf course in my back yard might be nice… -)

  19. Jon Q Publique
    Aug 10, 2006, 11:52 pm

    I can see the advertising brochures now. Mayfield Springs, conveniently located midway between Boise and Mountain Home. Minutes to work or play (think C.J. Strike). Doesn’t the sound of that name rank right up there with Twenty Nine Palms, California, Mountain Home, and Garden City?

    What a quaint name – and an oxymoron. Certainly sounds better than Mayfield Stage (no offense Regina :-)). A better name might be Mayfield Springs North.

    Toward the end of June, The Statesman published a list of proposed planned communities in southern Ada County. The story even had a graphic showing the approximate locations. Mayfield Springs appeared in two locations – one north of the freeway and another south of the freeway off Orchard Access Road. Both locations were about the same size although the one to the north appeared to be slightly larger. Makes one wonder if only one shoe has dropped.

    Add the to sounds of snakes hissing, and the winter “breezes”, the roar of the track – as in War Eagle Speedway. It’s proposed to be built right over the county line (literally) south of the freeway in Elmore County. It has the potential of being a backyard neighbor to Mayfield Springs South. Talk about NIMBY. Then there are the two or three new feedlot operations coming on line soon. At least they are a little further south on Simco Road in Elmore County. Hope there aren’t too many “breezes” coming from the south.

    Mayfield Springs North basically is surrounded by government owned land – at least in Ada County. There is some private land to the east in Elmore County but even that is surrounded by public lands. Seems this will be an isolated community cut off from Boise and Mountain Home at least in terms of annexation. The land situation for Mayfield Springs South is a little better but not much. It’s still surrounded by public lands. Remind anyone of The Cliffs?

    Just where is the water going to come from? Certainly not from some springs. Add this development, another one proposed just over the county line in Elmore county, the speedway, and the cattle operations and one has to wonder just where the water source is and how big it is. And who else is accessing it.

    And then there is the question of where EMS and fire services will come from.

    (EDITOR NOTE–both the Cliffs and MF had wildfires last night)

    Enough people for a bus line? Folks I know who have been in the bus business say this development doesn’t even come close to the density needed for a bus line. Heck, Boise barely makes it. Vanpool maybe, but not a bus line. But then the Union Pacific tracks aren’t that far away, maybe we can rebuild the Orchard Townsite and have a light rail (or would that be heavy rail?) station there.

    Isn’t it great when there is a county line and on one side of the line a developer wants to build homes and on the other side of the line the area may become industrial? Ah, regional planning. Got to love it.


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