Quasar Proposes Illegal Development

Quasar Development continues to push for an illegal condo project on Park Blvd. at Park Center.

City zoning law limits buildings to 45 feet at that location, but the developer wants to disregard the law and build a structure nearly double the legal limit at about 80 feet. They also want the city to let them ignore the law that requires 20 foot setbacks and place the structure 10 feet closer to the sidewalk.

Boise’s Downtown Business Association supports the illegal building proposal in a letter, calling such projects the “key to quality development.”

The GUARDIAN and growthophobic neighbors have opposed the project for some time. In March the planning and zoning commission rejected the project because it was outside the law in violation of the height restriction.

The latest application is typical of developers in Boise. They ask for outrageous things–like 119 feet height exceptions and then claim, “we lowered the Wright by 40 feet.”

Variances to zoning laws should be made only for minor adjustments. For example,when a lot has been compromised by a street expansion and is a few square feet short of required size. Variances should not be allowed for wholesale hop scotching of existing zoning laws. Exceptions for developers
makes a mockery of our laws and is an insult to those who planned and passed them.

This thing proposes to add 90 living units, 300 parking spaces and more retail in an area already choked with cars. We say build within the law or find another city to ply your trade.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Ok, let’s do a thought experiment. Time travel to 1970 or so when the Strawberry Lane condos were first proposed. Note, they were the ones complaining about the height of the Quasar proposal.

    Now, in that time era, I’m a neighbor and I complain bitterly about the massive Strawberry Lane condo project. Wah, wah, wah, I cry. It’s too big. Too much traffic, my whine steadily increases.

    So it doesn’t get built, the city comes to their senses and doesn’t allow those evil developers to build the Strawberry Lane complex.

    Time travel back to the present, there’s nobody to complain about Quasar. Quasar gets a 500 foot building.

    Now we time travel to the future. I can envision developers adding a clause to any sales contract that forbids future nimbyism in perpetuity. They’ll have to, to protect their ability to earn a living in the future.

  2. junkyard dog
    Oct 5, 2006, 10:27 am

    Right on, Dave. Variances should not be handed out like Halloween candy to developers who whine about self perceived “hardships”, but rather, be doled out sparingly. Has it not occured to anyone in the City that sooner or later, we will see a bunch of out-of-area mega developers and their legal staff arguing precedence?

  3. Here we go again. Strawberry Lane needs to be re named smallminded ave. Has anyone dug up whether there was any exemptions made in the construction of strawberry lane condo complex? Seems a little outta place in itself?

  4. curious george
    Oct 5, 2006, 10:37 pm

    A request to build a building higher than what is identified in a community’s design standards isn’t a request for a legal Variance (not in Idaho). To process a Variance requires a very strict adherence to protocols, all of which relate to hardships that are present (and endemic) to the site – something that is wrong with the site that prohibits the owners from being able to avail themselves of their existing development rights.

    Deviations from height standards CAN be granted without having to prove such hardships and are termed “height exemptions”. A lot of legal splitting of hairs, but when someone throws out allegations of illegality it’s best to be clear.

    Unlike height exemptions, deviations from setback standards MUST be processed as Variances. Now, I’m an advocate for allowing architecture to engage a street – and this can be done in a number of ways. Only one which involves bringing the building closer to the street – and such a street MUST first be able to respond to such a gesture by being walkable, gracious, and appropriately scaled. Unfortunately, this screwy intersection (with its wide, one-way streets) is anything but capable of responding to such a humane gesture.

    And before anyone should call a development proposal “illegal” – look first at all the “legal” development that gets built. You don’t have to look too far to find 100% compliant development – all that stuff west of the Mall, those cul-de-sac developments in west Meridian, and everything up and down Chinden Blvd are all good examples. And if a developer wanted to build something like Boise’s northend or Nampa’s depot district – it would all be contary to our “excellent & legal” design standards. It seems our standards have built up a glass house, and proposals like Quasar’s put rocks in our hands.

    What developers like Quasar need are better designers, not feedback from the “nattering nabobs of negativism”. Can you believe I’m quoting Agnew!?

    EDITOR NOTE–Thank you George for your insightful comments. You should have been a barber with your astute ability to split hairs. 🙂

  5. Lets put semantics aside and focus on the fact that the existing zoning limits building on that site to 45 feet and the developers are asking for a variance from the zoning. The city simply needs to say “No”.

    And without having seen their parking plan, I can speculate that they are probably trying to cram too many vehicles into too small an area, as in the new BoDo garage, and as in most other new developments. Parking lots are too small and individual parking places are too small.

  6. Inside City Hall
    Oct 6, 2006, 9:42 am

    Planning and Zoning (and the City Council) does hand out “height exceptions” like candy and plays games with “hardships”. It all depends on if the developer is a “friend”.

    The neighbors better get on this or it will be “handled” just like all the other rubber-stamped mega projects.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: