County

P&Z Commish Wants Growth Moratorium

GUARDIAN EXCLUSIVE

By STEVE EDGAR

Sitting as an Ada county P&Z Commissioner for over a year now, I have come to the conclusion that we need a moratorium on growth in the Treasure Valley. My reasoning is to allow time for catch up and create some breathing (no pun intended) room. I have arrived at this conclusion based upon my perception of the following constraints.
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AIR QUALITY On any given morning across the Valley, from the “Cliffs”/Hammer Flats to the bluffs above Can-Ada road, one can see the “air”. It is a brown haze which settles into our environment and unless the wind is blowing, remains there all day long. When I first moved here, eleven years ago, this was not the case. A long time ago, while serving my country in the armed forces, I lived in the high desert above the LA basin and, on occasion, I would travel to Anaheim to watch a baseball game, as I crested the pass prior to descending into the LA basin, I witnessed the same pollution phenomena. As recently reported in the Statesman, this degradation in air quality threatens our health and our access to federal funds to improve our infrastructure, something else we so desperately need.
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ROADS I travel all over North America on a weekly basis and have the pleasure of being transported from metropolitan airports into the cities which they serve. I pay attention to traffic, mass transit and other forms of “moving” people on a large scale. I must say that my most frustrating experiences are not in downtown NYC, Chicago, LA, DC or San Francisco but right here in the Treasure Valley. My drive home from the Boise Airport westbound on I-84 to the Eagle exit north on highway 55 to State street then west to highway 16 is a nightmare between the hours of 4-7 PM or conversely from 5:30- 8:30 AM. It is only a bad dream at other times. Bumper to bumper on inadequate roads, coupled with a lack of public transportation only serves to add to “seeing” our air. All the while taking away from our quality of life.

Water On any given day one can pick up the Idaho Statesman and read about a water issue; lack of it – fight for it – control of it – quality of it. In most cases these discussions center on adequate supply and quality for current residents across the valley floor. In many, if not all, of the applications for development that I review, this issue is only given a minor review and glossed over as if we have unlimited supply and access to this critical resource.
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QUALITY OF LIFE I moved here, as many new Idahoans have, for the quality life the Treasure Valley has to offer. I love the outdoors, hunting, fishing, camping and many summer and winter sports. In short, I love the environment that affords my family the opportunity to enjoy life outside of the drudgery of work. I do not wish to deny that opportunity to anyone; from the longest Idaho resident to the newest arrival. This is why we are ALL here. So what can we do to preserve this way of life before it is gone? My proposal is controversial but it does allow us to catch up and step back and look at the big picture.

MORATORIUM I propose a Valley wide moratorium on all projects for development under the “safety and health” umbrella which is supported by science and fact. We, the entire valley; cities, counties and the state must form a cooperative alliance to ensure the protection of the very quality of life which attracts us all. This is not a case of “NIMBY” (not in my back yard) nor a case of “I have mine now you can’t have yours”; it is a case of control and preservation. Both of which will allow growth and ensure proper levels of growth can be supported by our Treasure Valley environmental, infrastructural and cultural resources. The moratorium must be agreed to by all levels of government and is already being flirted with by many of the smaller cities who are beginning to “just say no”. This is not in an effort to stop growth, it is in an effort to control growth and create a breather to address the very important critical infrastructure needs and how to pay for them without continuing to ramp up individual property taxes of existing residents.
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WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY Current economic conditions have placed all of our agencies in a unique position. With an oversupply of homes, condos and apartments and with mortgage rates rising in a slowing market we have been provided a window of opportunity that must be exploited. These opportunities are few and far between, to not use them to our advantage is irresponsible. I suggest the moratorium be implemented for 120 to 180 days, beginning sometime this year so we can get up to date studies and analyses from ACHD; IDWR; DEQ; EPA; IDFG; Idaho Power; Law Enforcement agencies; Fire Protection Districts; Ada County Paramedics; School Districts and other critical resource agencies so that your fellow citizens appointed to these planning, zoning and development commissions and agencies have up to date and current studies to make informed and accurate decisions from. I am tired of approving projects because they meet “the rule of law” and “findings of fact”.

Let alone the ACHD traffic study on the project is 5 years old and the current population figures are off by ten fold or the water rights have yet to be resolved and the air quality is causing the elderly and children to remain indoors. I want to make accurate, informed and coordinated decisions based upon what is right for our valley and environment.

I want to complete my appointed task with the trust and with the due diligence my fellow citizens expect of me and my fellow commissioners. Health and Safety are my reasons for wanting this moratorium and I believe they are defensible reasons.

Steve Edgar

UPDATE 5p.m. MONDAY: ADA COUNTY COMMISH PAUL WOODS COMMENTS–

“While I agree with Mr. Edgar that protecting air and water quality, reducing congestion, and protecting Ada County’s quality of life are critically important issues facing County and City governments, I don’t believe a largely “symbolic” 180-day moratorium is going to resolve any of those issues. The county-wide Blue Print for Good Growth, the Treasure Valley Air Quality Council, and the coalition for public transportation all recognize these are complex issues. We must now all agree to act with urgency in getting our policies into action.

The leaders of the Treasure Valley already have ample data on these issues. We do not need any more studies to tell us what we already know. Developers must mitigate the potential impact their new projects might have on our communities. If they don’t, their applications shouldn’t be approved. As a County Commissioner, I take this approach with every development application that I review.

So while I may share Mr. Edgar’s frustration with the lack of progress on these problems, I believe the real thing we must all do is focus on implementing immediate and permanent change and resist the temptation of overreaction and perpetual study.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Great, great article.

    I’m going to think about it, and hopefully post some comments later.

    THANK YOU!

  2. Great! How do we contact you to let you know we support you, Mr. Edgar?

    EDITOR NOTE–You just made that contact, Teresa.

  3. Finally, someone in a position with power to do something about the growth mess going on in this valley “gets” what the public has been complaining about for months now.

    (The increase in angry letters to the Statesman has been fascinating to watch.) Let’s hope city as well as county politicians listen to Commissioner Edgar–if not, we the people will vote for those who are willing to not only listen, but to act.

    YES! A 180-day moratorium is needed now, and while it’s in place, we need to be writing new ordinances that will REQUIRE infrastructure to be put in place BEFORE developments are approved, assure that water is adequate, and that protect the foothills from high density “planned communities.” (Are you listening, Eagle???)

  4. On several occasions, I’ve heard you, Commissioner Edgar, ask hard questions, point out common sense implications and buck the tendency to approve projects along the most narrow lines (“rule of law” and “findings of fact”). Your proposal is sound and eminently reasonable. This approach, which would produce a context in which to assess development, is exactly what’s needed.

    Thank you for having the guts to deal seriously with the hard issues and for the sincerity of your commitment to dutifully exercising the public trust. I hope your fellow-commissioners see the light as well, and join you in advocating this course, which would serve all of us well.

  5. Super comments Steve. Practical, common sense approach. I don’t know why anyone in authority would argue for such a break in order to consider what’s best for Idaho.

  6. Commissioner Edgar,
    You have earned my respect. You are the first person in a political position to acknowledge and address this constellation of problems. The next step is for the cities of Boise, Garden City, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna and Star to follow your lead.

    Perhaps that is where Guardian readers can take action. We can contact our elected officials in the towns we live in and ask them to impose a moratorium and convene a joint planning session. Any other ideas for how to keep this ball rolling in the right direction?

    EDITOR NOTE–There are city elections in November. Boise has a mayor and three council seats up. ALL have been pro-growth as incumbents.

  7. I do agree with what was said, and I hate to throw cold water ( boy I wish I had some today) on you, but even if you can get Ada county to put a moratorium on growth…. What about Nampa, what about Caldwell, and what about Boise County ( have you seen all of the houses going up there lately?)

    I think all you will do is help property values in those areas, and put more traffic on the roads.

    EDITOR NOTE–Porc, you are correct. Steve Edgar would like to call “time out” throughout the area, but his best shot is from the bully pulpit of his Ada P&Z seat.

  8. Finally, common sense!!!

    I still don’t know why people want to move here – where are the jobs? I will certainly put my two cents in with the Eagle mayor and councilors.

    P.S. – Correction re an earlier post – Hidden Springs has a row of commercial buildings – doesn’t look like anyone has moved in yet.

  9. Clippityclop
    Jul 7, 2007, 4:21 pm

    Commissioner Edgar,
    You’re the best!

    P&Z Commissioners and County Commissioners, ACHD and ITD, City Councils throughout the valley, do you all have the guts and foresight to follow this man’s lead? I pray you do.

    We’ve only got one chance to get it right and if we don’t take a step back to implement the Blueprint for Good Growth and pass an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance now, we’re done. We are at a crisis, but the good news is, together we can start to turn this mess around. Everyone, please, the Ada County Comp Plan will be going before the Ada County Board of Commissioners this Wednesday, the 11th, 6 pm at the Ada County Court House. Please come and tell them how you feel, or send an e-mail to the head planner, Jay Gibbons (jgibbons@adaweb.net). Everyone of us needs to speak up for the sake of this valley.

    Thanks again, Commissioner Edgar, for your truthfulness, integrity and courage, and for your devotion to this County. May you be a guidepost for others entrusted with the future of our valley.

  10. CynicalJohn
    Jul 7, 2007, 4:32 pm

    Mr. Edgar, I love this article.

    You touched on many things, but I believe that WATER is THE number one issue that should determine our future growth, and the Treasure Valley doesn’t have much of it! (water that is!). Yet as you say,”this issue is only given a minor review and glossed over as if we have unlimited supply and access to this critical resource.”

    But who cares, we can investigate sucking the Snake River dry 😉 This idea lets us know that even those that serve the developers can see the writing on the wall….that lack of water will ultimately limit growth. The developers want to build, build, build, as quickly as possible before someone wakes up to this issue.

    Mr. Edgar, you demonstrate great courage in writing this article. If I was a cynic I would say that the developers run this valley, and that your stay on the Ada county P&Z Commission will be very short lived. If someone who looks like Tony Soprano comes knocking at your door……don’t answer.

  11. In case anyone is curious, here is a study of the measures Boulder, CO has taken to combat growth. The other two sites are interesting as well:

    http://www.agoregon.org/page61.htm

    http://www.agoregon.org/page57.htm

    http://www.sightline.org/research/idaho

  12. Finally someone in a position of authority addressing an issue I have wondered about for awhile.

    Everyone always talks about traffic issues but since I’ve had the pleasure(?) of being on the Long Island Expressway at rush hour, I-84 isn’t so bad. Water seems to be the forgotten problem. Anyone on United Water knows how exorbitant water is and adding 10’s of thousands of new users can’t help but drive the costs higher and where in a desert is all this water going to come from?

  13. Newwwusseroutside
    Jul 7, 2007, 6:49 pm

    Mr Edgar,
    Won’t you please run for Mayor of Eagle?

    But you must hurry, as soon we may run out of dirt to build on as its quickly being snapped up! We are a city thats LOVES subdivisions, developments, gridlock, air pollution, lack of water and lack of trust. OH WAIT! That’s not the PEOPLE of Eagle who love those things, just the leaders.

    I heard about you on the Voice of Eagle. Voiceofeagle.com They are rallying for you!!

  14. Mr. Edgar is getting what I would have anticipated (pats on the back) from those opposed to growth by saying what they want to hear. Unfortunately, there’s also a need to be honest about the possibility of success in offering a proposal that is very likely not going to work.

    For one thing, his being tired of having to approve projects because they meet “the rule of law” and “findings of fact” may be a frustration, but the alternative is breaking the law and ignoring the legality of a judicial record when making decisions and that simply makes the functioning of the P&Z illegal if that’s the approach taken. Do you honestly think a developer requesting approval of an allowable project is going to walk away when it is denied because Mr. Edgar and other Commissioners decide they just don’t want to follow “the rule of the law?”

    And will a moratorium of 120 to 180 days REALLY provide time to catch up on the backlog of road projects, or identify the amount of water in the aquifer, when a lack of funds or scientific information is the real problem? (Even if the health and safety issue is a legitimate reason for a moratorium — and it very well might be — there are limitations on its use and a requirement for justification that can be challenged by those opposed to such an action).

    Further, even if the governmental jurisdictions in Ada County did stop the building of houses (thus opening the door to massive lawsuits from projects already approved), do we honestly think that Canyon County (where the shift in interest in continuing to build would likely take place) would follow suit with a moratorium — particularly when they won’t even acknowledge they contribute to the air pollution that’s a growing concern?

    I know it sounds like I don’t share in the frustrations expressed by Mr. Edgar (because I do in many cases), but I also feel there’s a need for responsibility by considering the difference between wishful thinking and what has to be looked at as legal realities that exist. I hope that elected officials will follow the suggestion by Mr. Edgar that they pressure developers to adequately fund infrastructure if they want to build — although I have my doubts that the so-called “growthophobes” would be happy were they to see any development take place no matter what the cost.

    The marketplace has created many of these problems through the interest of people to live in a good place that they want to call home. The marketplace is still going to drive growth no matter what the cost of a building lot if the desire exists to live in Ada County and outsiders have the money to pay for it. I don’t think there’s any simple solution beyond seeking to fulfill the call for “proper planning” — and even that’s a term that no one seems to be able to really agree upon insofar as definition. If the economy continues to slow down maybe that’ll trigger somewhat of a lull that will allow the area to begin catching its breath. I hope so.

  15. Dear Mr. Edgar,

    I knew you to be one of the better P&Z commissioners from the moment I first saw you in action. And, in the unlikely event that anyone has ever doubted your courage, it should never be an issue again. Using the M word is not a thing that is done lightly by a person in your position. I know you thought long and hard before making the suggestion.

    Virtually every one of your statements is true. The roads are a disaster, both in terms or maintenance and congestion. Our air, once the envy of the nation, seems stuck on orange alert, or worse. Indeed, Boise’s air is now often worse than the air in the perpetually maligned Los Angeles!

    Finite sources of water are treated with total neglect. Your list of growth related problems is spot-on correct. The ultimate insult is that residents are continually required to pay ever-increasing tax bills to fund the continual degradation of their qualities of life.

    I also concur with your desire for more concrete studies of water, traffic, fire, police, etc. More and better information is always desirable for decision makers. Where I part with you is on the need for a moratorium, at least one of the length you suggest.

    Let me explain. While the need for more and better information is great, common sense is often enough to carry the day. In the case of water, we don’t need DWR to tell us there is no water in the foothills, the southern desert, or Hammer Flat. The money crops around here have been potatoes and sugar beets, with rotations of corn, alfalfa, and wheat for at least 70 years. If, instead of those crops, a property is now growing sagebrush and bony cattle, you can go to the bank with the knowledge that the property owner looked hard, but did not find water.

    If an applicant tells you not to worry, WORRY. Any water they put on it will have to come from somewhere else. And, if we divert enough water onto the dry areas, it is only a matter of time before we start drying up the lawns on Harrison Blvd. We don’t need DWR to flesh out the concept that water is finite.

    One more example, traffic. COMPASS has excellent data on traffic generation. We know with great certainty that a typical house generates in excess of 10 trips per day. If an applicant, even with ACHD’s concurrence, tells you that their planned community will only generate 6 or 7 trips per day, they are spreading manure and should be chastised for it. Their application should be rejected.

    The problems that loom larger than lack of information are lack of moral integrity by the majority of decision makers, and lack of a binding comp plan.

    An example: At the Board of County Commissioners level, among a host of other failings, The Cliffs still did not have a designated entry road and Fish and Game was overtly opposed to the wildlife mitigation plan. A suitable entry road, and an accepted wildlife mitigation plan, two elements required for a PC application to be declared complete simply did not exist.

    As studies go, that is about as concrete as it gets. Tilman, Yzaguirre, and Peavey-Derr approved the deeply flawed incomplete application without a hint of concern.

    Better studies would not have helped. However, a real, detailed, codified comp plan and Foothills Policy Plan would have carried the day.

    Currently, the comp plan, and all the zoning maps and overlays, etc., are considered to be “advisory.” The situation is so bad that during one of The Cliffs’ hearing, in response to some dubious testimony by Ada County Staff, I asked county attorney, Ax Yewer, if staff were considered to be under oath. He said, “No”!

    For current commissioners Tilman and Yzaguirre (And former commissioner Peavey-Derr) fiction is enough. If the county commissioners like the cut of an applicant’s suit, their proposal is home free and everyone else in the county, cities, businesses, developers, and citizens alike, can go kick rocks.

    At this moment the county is in the process of rewriting and revising the comp plan. Generally, most of the changes are an improvement over the existing plan. To the extent we need a moratorium at all, (30 days would be more than enough.) it should be used to finalize, AND CODIFY, the new comprehensive plan.

    In particular:

    – The commissioners have, for the past couple of years, been indicating their intent to implement significant parts of the Blueprint for Good Growth. “Blueprint” needs to be included in the revised comp plan and the resulting document needs to be codified into law. It needs to be law, not just policy that is easy to sidestep, argue about, and causes unnecessary conflict between cities, counties, businesses, and individuals.

    – There needs to be a continuing effort with the all the cities in the county, with special emphasis on Boise and Eagle, to implement Blue Print provisions and other joint comprehensive planning goals

    – Make crystal clear by including it in Ada County Code that Idaho Fish & Game must approve wildlife mitigation plans just as ACHD or ITD does transportation plans. In the current situation, the developer hires a “Wildlife Consultant” who submits a plan that is approved by another “Wildlife Consultant” hired by the county. Ultimately, the developer or taxpayer is paying for both Consultants through application fees and county funds. Idaho Fish & Game is the state’s unbiased gold standard. Let’s use it.

    – Rewrite the current planned community ordinance 621, which is not focused on the rural tier and thus does not reflect the sensitive and different environment within a City or its Area of Impact.

    I have rattled on for far too long. However, let me again commend your for bringing your stature to this discussion. The intent and earnestness of your suggestion is markedly absent in too many of our elected officials. In my mind, the codification route is the more productive one. However, one way or the other, I could not agree with you more that the time to revise this valley’s development approval process is now.

    Regards,
    Tony Jones

  16. Clippityclop
    Jul 8, 2007, 10:52 am

    Watchout,

    The spectre of lawsuits run wild does not scare me as much as it does you, and frankly, I think it’s a cop out for failing to act before it’s too late.

    Disregard for public safety and health by government agencies and elected officials entrusted with these scares me much more, and is the far bigger issue. That’s really what we’re grappling with here, and I think that’s Commissioner Edgar’s point. We’re in big trouble in this County — he knows it, as does every citizen.

    Also, many development applications, if you look closely at them, violate the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, or at least significantly blur the margins as often the Commissioners rely on very poor evidence of compliance. Recall that nobody, including Ada County Development Staff, is under oath when they report to the Commissioners that applications meet the Findings of Fact and Conclusiions of Law. Now that’s scary.

    Let’s avoid all of this in the first place by CODIFYING the Comp Plan and the Boise Foothills Policy Plan. Let’s require truthfulness and evidence from the various agencies who sign off on these plats, and consequences for developers, that adequate public facilities are in place or will be provided in advance of development. Assurances and “Conditions of Approval” are not enough, obviously.

    We’ve got to start somewhere. I think it’s paralytic and a violation of public safety and health to think we can’t move forward for fear of a lawsuit. Right now, agency sign off and the fallback “Conditions of Approval” are something of a rubber stamp. Just look at the mess that has created, particularly for school districts who haven’t a prayer of passing bonds this magnitude of development would require.

    Codification is good for the public, land owners, speculators and developers, because everybody knows the rules. Best of all, it’s good for responsible growth in this valley and that affects every one of us.

    I couldn’t agree more with Tony Jones’ comments. We need a short hiatus to put together the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance and we need honesty and integrity from the agencies involved. We’ve been let down folks — it’s time to ensure accountability and adequacy by making it law and requiring staffers to be under oath when they advise the Commissioners.

  17. What??? I think we need some changes so building new subdivisions etc. cost more so we can support the infrastructure and growth coming to Idaho, but to say stop all building is silly really.

    The thought process that we will limit growth by saying yes to some developments and no to others will just cause corruption and/or the good ole boy network to kick into high gear. As far as I know there is no guaranteed fair way to limit growth.

    Doesn’t it make sense to make sure that building new homes no matter where they are built is self sustaining? In other words building new homes need to support roads, sewer, parks, schools, etc.. Let’s come up with new/old ways to support this like a decreasing home tax so if your home is newer you pay more tax, or higher impact fees for newly built homes.

    America was built on growth and competition. I’m all for making sure we can fund infrastructure, but not excessive government oversight!

  18. Unfortunately, P&Z is for the most part a clearinghouse for the county commissioners or city councils. They do not have final approval of most projects and when they reject anything it is open for appeals that are routinely RUBBER STAMPED for approval by the commissioners or city councils. Our elected officials suffer from a lack of political will and quail at the mere mention of a law suit from a developer. Developers call the shots and the elected officials let them get away with most anything they choose to do.

    With all the 20/20 hindsight on lousy development projects in this valley you would think that our elected officials would have more back bone and not repeat mistakes of the past.

    This also applies to the state legislature that will not pass impact fees for schools. Nor will they unscramble the rat maze of legal gobbly-gook that prevents easy implimentation of impact fees where they are allowed.

    Lastly, the state legislature, county commissioners and elected officails of cities are clearly not on the same page with trying to manage growth for the people who elected them to office. They suffer from chronic analysis paralysis.

  19. Newwwusseroutside
    Jul 8, 2007, 9:20 pm

    America was built on growth and competition? No it wasnt. Id like to hear you tell that to pioneers who watched out for each other, helped each other, and cared for each other. Growth and competion is what we have now that we have decided to plow over each other and step on the weaker man to get to the top of the money heap.

    Who’s goining to clean up the filthy air when you charge these developers for building roads and schools?

  20. It is disingenuous to call the rampant growth we are now experiencing, the result of free market and demand — it is greed and fear of missing the gravy boat before the “good times” run out the spout. Basically, it is snag every piece of property possible, get a plan going, run approval through the process and break ground quickly while the funding apears to be there.

    I asked a friend in banking why the earth-moving equipment was tearing up another piece of ground (without dust control by the way) to build yet more commercial structures while so many were still vacant (some without ever being occupied). My friend, who works in the banking business, said it was because they had gotten their financing and had one year to use the money.

    Yes, I think this area is badly in need of a moratorium to see what legal grounds are there to make new development at least pay part of their way; to assess infrastructure and examine how to bring it up to the current needs; to bring some rhyme or reason to where structures are plunked down; and to see if the various laws already on the books (like dust control) are doing their jobs.

    This valley is looking tired, dirty and a bit down at the heels and just plunking new structures about at random only makes it look junky.

    And, while we are at this proposed examination, our governments here in the high desert should put some kind of limitation on lawns and other water-eating landscaping — an entire subdivision of 2-acre-plus lots with “pile-o-houses” surrounded by lawn just doesn’t make sense.

  21. Thanks for the great article. I am from Eagle, Idaho. You know Mayor Nancy’s little play ground of growth!!

    Some people forget what we have and are losing. I am living in Vilnius, Lithuania. Great city. I really miss Idaho. What the hell will it look like when I get back? I have seen Eagle and Boise change. Guess what folks, the commissioners for both citys REALLY don’t care what you think. I have seen them with there blank stares during meetings when us regular folks are telling our point of view!

    As we all know its very frustrating dealing with city hall on growth issues. We see the traffic, more land developed etc. All the officals see is “green”

    Till my return! Verso Gero!

  22. Watchout:
    Everything you say is true. So?
    I’ve never seen a negative view or attitude accomplish anything.

    Had you been around in the late 1700s, I’m sure you would have told George and Tom and all those folks that there was no way the ragtag bands that passed for an army in the colonies could ever hope to stand up to, let alone defeat, the extemely well-trained, well-armed British Army.

    And you would have been right. And they knew it. And they didn’t give a damn — they were fed up with the situation, and they stood up to the big guys — and won!

    If they’d listened to you, I’d have to be writing this with somehing like, “I say, old thing, perhaps it is a spot of bother to …”

    Ooops, that’s all the English I know. So guess I’ll just have to talk American (or, more accurately, United Statesian) and say more power to Steve Edgar and any others who have the guts to tell the emperor he has no clothes.

    P.S.: Everybody knows the world is flat, Chris, and you’ll just fall off the edge. And Ben, lightning isn’t something you can just capture and use for something. And Tom, light comes from burning things, you can’t have it coming out of some kind of glass ball that doesn’t have any room in it for wood or coal or whale blubber or something. And no, you can’t capture a person’s voice and save it to listen to later. As for Sam’s idiotic idea that you can send messages by pushing a key over and over and somebody miles away will hear it clicking and know what you’re saying … jeeze, with nutcakes like you around, next thing you know, Al or some other fruitcake will think you can talk into one end of a wire and have somebody at the other end clear across the continent hear you. And someday somebody will get so crazy as to think people can control growth, or limit it, or make it pay its own way, or …. gee, who knows what?

  23. curious george
    Jul 9, 2007, 9:42 am

    Moratoriums can be successfully passed (and legally defended) when a specific goal or purpose is identified within the enabling ordinance.

    Commissioner Edgar is correct in his assertion that there is an abundance of certain types of housing stock – specifically, homes worth an excess of $300K. Unfortunately, in Ada County there’s only a two-week supply of homes worth $200K or less. Why is this of any concern? Homes within this price range meet the legal definition of “affordability” – which are homes that can be afforded (for purchase or lease) by a family that earns 80% of the average income of a family within the jurisdiction. In Ada County, this means a monthly rent or mortgage payment of approximately $900 – this will get a family a home worth between $148K-$180K (depending on the down payment made). So you can see why Ada County families that don’t earn what an airline pilot makes are now stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    Now it’s not unusual for the working man (or woman) to bear the brunt of someone’s political aspirations – and if a moratorium seems warranted by the political elite then so be it. Since Commissioner Edgar hasn’t stated that there should be exceptions to his moratorium for developments that would build homes or apartments for hardworking, but less economically fortunate, families – it seems he’s let his political slip show.

    He also needs to identify what the public will gain, other than some erstwhile hope that after yet another “study” is completed – one that will, hopefully, identify exactly what we don’t already know, and that will, hopefully, be interpreted exactly the same way by every jurisdiction – we will be better off than before. I know of no “study” that can possible achieve what Commissioner Edgar hopes to gain. Perhaps this is why he is releasing this phobic statement to such a friendly crowd – as a trial balloon, that he can refine before he announces for some post-airline pilot political career.

    Truly unfortunately, Commissioner Edgar seems very much out of the loop concerning the current status of the Blueprint for Good Growth process. Within the next 180 days the Implementation Phase of Blueprint will be ready for across-the-board adoption. This will identify a series of measures that (if adopted by the Ada County jurisdictions) will mandate concurrency within the planning approval process. This will have far more traction than a loosely worded, short-term, moratorium.

    According to Blueprint, “concurrency” will require that current water, road, and sewer capacity be assessed (within all of Ada County) – that all obligations will be taken into account (subtracting all allotted capacity from the system for projects that have been approved but not yet constructed) – and that system augmentations will be “hardwired” into the approval process (via the development and approval of a predictable 5-year capital improvement plan for water, road, and sewer improvements). Once concurrency is adopted, only developments that will be served by proven infrastructure capacity will be approved.

    If a moratorium is to be pursued, then let it be for the time needed to adopt concurrency ordinances for all Ada County jurisdictions – not to enable a P&Z Commissioner, or Board, or Council to approve (or deny) a project based upon their interpretion of a “study”.

    Frankly, air quality should be added to the Blueprint concurrency model also. But, given the tons of CO2, O3, and other carcenogens that blow out the tailpipe of a jetliner then we might have to limit the number of flights at the Boise airport. But, maybe this will help Commissioner Edgar along his way to a new career.

  24. Love your ChickenLittle imitation, Mr. Edgar. But you don’t have to worry because the Idaho GOP is so wrecking Boise’s economy…in 2 years it’ll be “last one out turn off the lights”. And you eco-freaks & spud-heads can have it all to yourselves.

  25. MD BUTCH GROOTHUIS
    Jul 9, 2007, 2:49 pm

    My wife and I are in full support of a moratorium on building in Ada County. It is way out of control, with no idea how to support the necessary infrastructure or who is going to pay for it. Mr. Edgar, let us know how we can support this effort.

  26. I have been watching these comments all day. Some of you take this issue very seriously. The argument on both sides is both emotional, factual and rational.

    While I think it is a noble cause to retain a quality of life that we are all seeking, we must not deprive anyone of their due process whether for individual property owners or large landowners/developers.

    A couple of points to ponder

    1. As Curious George seems to be in the know, a moratorium could be detrimental to housing priced under $200K.

    2. Would an APFO have more teeth than full implementation/codification of the Blueprint for Good Growth?

    3. Are we allowing the developer enough tools to get the job done ahead of time, instead of relying on Memorandums Of Understanding(MOU’s). Why not try expanding impact fees for schools and other vital public needs? And my favorite, local improvement districts for those new developments impacting our quality of life. These would get the needed improvements done ahead of home sales instead of waiting for the government to spend the impact fees after home sales.

    4. As Curious and Paul Woods question, what will another study get us that we don’t already know?

    5. Water supply will be the ultimate deciding factor in who lives in the Treasure Valley.

    6. As for air quality, daily miles driven is a major factor in the deterioration. Mileage to and from work should be factored into every mortgage, thus promoting live close to work. For those naysayers, add up your vehicle cost and compare to somebody that lives within two miles of work.

  27. Tom. I like that idea! When do you leave?

  28. RealtorWonk
    Jul 10, 2007, 9:04 am

    Note to Curioius;

    As of this morning there are over 1,100 mls listings in Ada County for homes priced between $90,000 and $210,000 (Homes that could legitimately be expected to close for less than $200k in this market.)

    For the last twelve months, only about 270 homes in this price range have sold.

    If it is low income homes you want, looks to me like we have a FOUR YEAR Supply. That’s nearly 1,500 days. And, with Micron starting to dump employees, that number will only get bigger.

    Yo Edgar, need 120 days for your moratorium? Take a thousand. We got extra.

  29. Clippityclop
    Jul 10, 2007, 9:43 am

    Clancy,
    Codification of the Comp Plan begins with an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance — it’s also Phase 2 of Blueprint.

    Special improvement district bonds are a non-starter — they leave all the risk with the County and the taxpayer if the developer skates. What we need are good old fashioned performance bonds for provision of infrastructure as it’s not the taxpayers’ obligation to underwrite the developers’ risk. Sorry, but that’s the way land speculation works.

    School funding will have to find another way other than endless bonds which will no longer pass. Recall that a single outfitted high school in 2007 dollars is about $50 million.

    I’m glad that Commissioner Woods (and hopefully his fellow commissioners) understand the gravity of the situation here in Ada County and therefore will not need further studies to convince him. I believe we’ve now reached nonattainment status re: air quality for this entire valley. Per the legislature this last session, that fact should have significant impact on further growth.

  30. A co-operative effort with enforceable results signed by the independant city leaders in the valley? How’s that worked for us so far? Some of us remember the Ada Council Of Governments.

    It went by the wayside as soon as one of the local community leaders felt it was in the best interest of his (her) local community to ignore it. I seriously doubt that we will ever reach an agreement that will embody the “vision” of the Blueprint for growth. While this subject has been discussed over the last three days, an additional 2-300 homes have come before the Planning and Zoning people and/or the County Commissioners. And that figure doesn’t include the Avimor process that is going full speed ahead.

    I don’t understand why there would be a problem with “let’s take a deep breath here” while we address the most pressing issue that we will face over the next 10-20 years. I believe that the purpose of Mr. Edgers post was an attempt to tell us that we better wake up real soon before the reason we live here is justa memory of “how good it used to be”!

  31. I am sort of curious about Curious’ comment about their being a shortage of homes under $200,000. He’s right that there are not many brand new houses/condos/etc. on the market in that price range. However, if you include older homes (the traditional housing of first time home buyers and the poor), there are well over 1,000 active listings supporting sales of only about 40 – 50 per month. It looks to me like Edgar’s moratorium is unlikely to excessively impact the poor.

    I am also curious about the lack of comment by Fred and Rick. The Guardian posted Edgar’s piece on Saturday. It was picked up by the Idaho Business Review and KBOI on Monday. Woods posted the minority position on Monday. Unless they have been hold up incomunicado in the Arid Club since Saturday, Tilman and Yzaguirre have to know about it. And, Since Edgar was appointed by Tilman and Yzaguirre, we can presume them to be unhappy about it.

    Isn’t it about time the majority members of the Ada County Commission tell us why they to favor a system that is rife with uncertainty and forces their constituents to pay ever higher taxes for ever lower levels of service?

  32. Boise Banker
    Jul 10, 2007, 2:14 pm

    If a moratorium is proposed as a way to solve some of the long term problems that growth has had on the valley you might think again. We need at least 3 years to get road infrastructure to where it needs to be and also to get sewer/water treatment and distribution to the levels they need to be at.

    A temporary or even more permanent moratorium will only increase property values. (it will cause land/housing to be more scarce) This only helps those who own homes, not those who can’t afford current “values”…. no pun intended.

    I am not sure of an answer for that issue. Most mid-west & southern states have property values half of ours. It’s the same lumber and concrete so don’t tell me it’s a materials cost thing because it isn’t.

    The water issue can be solved at the same time as the issue of building a coal power plant to benefit California power grids. Ban the coal, but make them build another hydro-plant. They need the electricity and we need the water. Now if one could only solve the environmental concerns with building a new dam.

    Boise and Ada county already instituted a “Comprehensive plan” that was supposed to account for the future growth for 20 years. They are already about 5 years off of the predictions and are doing very little to make up lost ground.

    Its not as if growth sneaks up on you and all of a sudden jumps out when you aren’t prepared. We allow it to happen and then claim we didn’t know it was going on. Didn’t anyone look at the “Comprehensive plan” to see how far off track we are?

    I am all for change and making things better so we can all enjoy our lovely state, but we need to make sure the changes will actually do what political leaders tout they will do. The valley is facing some grave, not so distant, problems because we have cancerous growth instead of controlled growth.

    I would liken it to running as fast as you can with your head down. By time you see the brick wall coming it is too late to stop or change directions. Hopefully with up coming elections and getting everyone’s voice heard the leaders of the valley will look up just a little bit more so they don’t run us into the wall looming in front of us.

  33. I cant believe the city meetings are not “standing room only”! Where are you all when it comes to actual testimony to city planners and leaders? We need to get together on this, and simply posting on a blog isnt enough (great start, but now follow through!)
    People: FLOOD your town hall meetings with opinions and outcry!
    You have EVERY RIGHT TO SPEAK UP.
    Email them.
    Write them.
    Call them.
    And most important, attend those meetings… and take your neighbors with you!

    And if you dont like the plans Eagle has going on, go to their meetings too! They’d LOVE to see half of the Valley turn out for their show.

  34. costaprettypenny
    Jul 10, 2007, 4:26 pm

    The issue of growth in the valley needs to get legs………Those of us who care must keep this discussion going. At some point maybe the local media will see this is an issue and assign an adult to do some real reporting. Hopefully the elected officials that are selling the valley and our way of life down the drain will not be around next election cycle. Thank You Mr. Edgar and Commissioner Woods.

  35. Idaho.Pirate
    Jul 10, 2007, 4:31 pm

    OK….

    I think this just shows that there are MAJOR concerns out there — whether you are a developer, a city or county resident, a commissioner, a non-growther (Growthophobe) or a not in my backyarder. Oh wait… forgot the environmentalists…. Or are we/should we really be one in the same?

    We have MAJOR problems in our valley and I say “OUR” valley. We ALL live here and we all have an opinion.

    The problem is that most of the opinions are not getting to the people who need to hear it!

    I applaud BOTH County commissioners for PUBLICLY talking. Many people in this valley have full time jobs PLUS. Not everyone can sit and watch every county or city meeting, especially when some go into the wee hours and THEN make decisions!

    I like places like Boise Guardian and VoiceofEagle.com where people can post their comments.
    I like media like Valley Times and Boise Weekly that keep you up to date on the doings in the area.

    I can’t sit at every meeting or try to find meeting notes/minutes for:
    • Ada County
    • Ada County Commissioners
    • ACHD
    • Meridian, Eagle, Star, Boise meetings around P&Z, Council, Parks and Rec, Traffic, urban development and historic preservation, etc. etc.

    Who am I missing?

    We need to have more public access to information and more citizens who are looking at what is REALLY going on in our valley.

    We can SEE (or not see) that there is an air problem.
    We can SEE (for many lights) that there IS traffic
    We can SEE (or get ran over) that there are a lot more construction vehicles
    We can SEE (or overlook) that our schools are over crowded

    What can we not see?

    The people who are elected or not elected (volunteers?) that are making decisions around our CITIES and COUNTIES.

    As citizens most of us have gone on with our lives thinking the CITY or the COUNTY was taking care of business.

    WAKE UP…. Whose business do you think they are taking care of?

    You won’t know unless you get involved, ask questions, speak up…..

    Thanks to Mr. Edgar for getting the public and the media more involved in OUR Valley.

  36. A voice of sanity from the Dept of no planning and zoning?

    Sadly, it is only one voice. Perhaps it will soon be joined by another? Could it be possible?
    N,. after all it is a government paid for by the people to serve the developers and businesses and other good ol’ boys.

    sniff

    thank you for the dream

  37. Teresa: I agree. I call upon our local media (television and print) to start disseminating a little more loudly and a little more frequently information as to how, when, and why. In this particular matter I see no reason why they need be “objective” – do you duties as citizens of this valley and tell people to get out there and start speaking up for the well being of our home. They have that power.

    And as many of our leaders are now well aware that we face some concerns, perhaps they won’t simply gloss over these minor trifles as they approve yet another project. START HAVING SOME GODDAMN FORESIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITY, please sirs.

    This valley is not your playground or experiment for some grand vision. We don’t need this to be just another sprawling, congested, Californicated mess like a million other places no matter how much money a handful of people are making. As Boise Banker pointed out, this is cancerous growth, not controlled or productive growth. As soon as these developers and speculators make their money, they’ll be off to new places to exploit and profit off of (how many of them are out of state, anyway – why not keep projects like these in state, at the very least?).

    Right now the quality of life in this valley is at a tipping point, and you have the power to protect this quality of life. Please do so, sirs.

    The solutions certainly may not be simple, and we all may not agree on them, but at least let their be debate, instead of unilateral decision making. That is not your place, and it never will be your place. You serve the people, and it would be best you don’t forget that.

    All this said, I’m really excited for the stir that Commish Edgar has made, and hopeful for what impact it may have.

  38. TJ- Very finely stated!

  39. John Mitchell
    Jul 10, 2007, 7:00 pm

    Edgar should run for Mayor of Eagle and send Nancy back to her egg farm where she can do less damage. She and the city council have already done enough damage to “fill every available space” Eagle. I will donate the first $500 to his campaign…..

  40. Great post Steve!! I so agree. Coming from a place that has an overabundance of homes and no buyers left, I see the same exact thing happening here and it saddens me.

    And every time I read in the Idaho Statesman about Boise’s low unemployment rate, I think “Come on folks. Who are you really trying to fool?” Most jobs here pay under $10 an hour and are in retail. All is have to do is look at The Idaho Statesman classified section on Sundays to see how few jobs there really are here and how little they pay.

    Let’s just see where all these laid off Micron workers find jobs and how much they get paid:-0 Check out the Boise airport on Sunday evening to see how many Idahoans fly out of state to work because they cannot make enough money here to support their families!!!

    Boise has FEW good paying jobs and every company that was paying well is doing poorly (HP, Micron, MPC, Albertsons, etc.). And when I say poorly, they are not increasing their presence here, they are decreasing it.

    Whatever happened to ‘highest and best use’ for property? Is this concept ‘foreign’ in Idaho? It certainly appears so;-0 Why isn’t land being set aside so that large companies can move to where the workers live? Most of the large employers seem to be in SE Boise or downtown area which makes for a very bad commute for all concerned.

    And who in heavens’ name is going to buy all these homes that are being built??? I’m sorry to tell you but the folks aren’t moving here in droves any more and some like myself may be packing up and moving out of state to some place that has more jobs.

    Lastly, besides talking about it and taking business trips overseas, what exactly is our lovely government doing to be proactive and tell Corporate Heads about our great state??? Why aren’t we seeing large HiTech companies move here?

    In the Eagle area, all I see being built is retail and Real Estate (Title Companies, Land Development, Mortgage Companies, Realtors, etc.).There is plenty of land out this way which would be perfect for HiTech. Can someone please tell me if monies are being set aside to develop HiTech Business Parks in Eagle?

    Boise and the surrounding areas need more housing like a hole in the head! We’ve got enough housing for years to come. What we do need are more good paying employers (~$50K annually)and we need them located all throughout ADA County ASAP!!!

  41. The keynote speaker at the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce 2006 Leadership Conference was Grady Gammage, a Western growth expert and fellow at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy. Please see highlights from his presentation below:

    Boise metropolitan area could resemble Phoenix in several decades.

    In describing his hometown of Phoenix, “Some say it’s a sea of red tile roofs and stucco – like Taco Bell ate the town.”

    By 2025, more people will be leaving Arizona than arriving.

    Gammage said the transience suggests people live in Phoenix for a while to cash in on the economy.

    “But Phoenix may be something you want to avoid. I don’t know if encouraging population is all there is.”

  42. Clippityclop
    Jul 11, 2007, 9:16 am

    Once again, the public hearing on the Comp Plan is tonight, 6 pm, Ada County Court House. Let the Commissioners hear your concerns for the record, and not just Dave and your fellow bloggers (no matter how much we appreciate them).

    And thanks once more, Commissioner Edgar, for your post — you have really helped to engage the public (and at least one County Commissioner!).

  43. InTheMiddleOfIt
    Jul 11, 2007, 11:10 am

    As was mentioned by “Clippityclop” there is a hearing tonight at the Ada County Courthouse at 6pm, and the Ada County Comp plan is on the Agenda.

    I do strongly agree that it is important to have a good community presence at such a hearing. Coincidentally, also on the agenda tonight is the proposed development on my street that is attempting to put a 12 home “subdivision” on two acres in the middle of a street that consists of single homes on 2/3 acre lots. With all that was mentioned in Mr. Edgar’s editorial, we just don’t understand the urgent need to cram a bunch of houses into our neighborhood.

    After witnessing and perhaps participating in the Comp Plan hearing, if you want to see a neighborhood in action that has been working very hard for the denial of a good example of the type of development that contributes to our woes, then stick around for the rest of the hearing. See what happens.

    See if the county commissioners really are willing to deny a project that doesn’t fit and doesn’t, as Mr. Woods eloquently stated, “mitigate the potential impact” it has on the immediate neighborhood and the community. I am hopeful.
    We are item #5 “9966 Arnold” under New Business. You can see the full agenda in the Commisioners section of adaweb.net.

  44. I agree that we should all attend tonight.
    If everyone who is against all this attended the important meetings, this wouldnt happen on this scale.

  45. Inthemiddleofit:

    I have a question for you (and anyone else, really). I think the commissioners are in a bind with some points you raise, specifically, between trying to contain and control outward growth, and “not cram[ming] a bunch of houses into [your] neighborhood.”

    I understand the desire to have lower density neighborhoods with a unifying character or quality, and some of the arguments against urban redevelopment and infill housing, but you really can’t have it both ways: either you grow outward, or you redevelop within existing growth.

    Am I missing something?

  46. Clippityclop
    Jul 11, 2007, 2:23 pm

    I have heard from other sources late this morning that the Comp Plan hearing scheduled for tonight might be tabled and I don’t know why. Before you head down to the Court House (200 W. Front) on this hot, hot day, call Ada County Development Services (287-7900) to confirm whether or not the hearing will proceed, and if it’s tabled, why? When will it be rescheduled?

    EDITOR NOTE–We called at 3:50 p.m. and got a recording saying they were too busy to talk to us and to “hang up and call some other time.”

  47. Note to Teresa and others interested in the Comp Plan public hearing tonight. Jay Gibbons in Development Services tells me the Comp Plan agenda item will be tabled until a later date. The body of his email is listed below.

    _______________________________________

    Tony,
    We will be tabling the Comprehensive Plan to a hearing in August. I will know which date, the 8th or 22nd in about an hour. The purpose is to give staff, and the Board a chance to review our Prosecuting Attorney’s review of the proposed comp. plan. The application is on the agenda for this evening, however, I plan to ask to table it up front to a date certain.

    The public (comment period) is still open and will continue to be held open. We will not be taking public testimony, simply tabling the application. I will have our website updated first thing Thursday morning to reflect the next hearing date. If you have any further questions, please give me a call. Thanks.
    Jay A. Gibbons

    _____________________________________________

    It is my understanding that the public record is still open for comment. I suggest we keep the momentum going that is being generated in venues such as this by using the additional time to get everyone’s concerns entered in the record.

    To let the commissioners know what you think regarding revisions to the Comprehensive Plan, Mr. Gibbons’ email address is: jgibbons@adaweb.net.

    Regards,
    Tony Jones

  48. Notice: Folks, it looks like tonights meeting has been changed. Not sure yet, but you should call. 287-7900

  49. EDITOR NOTE–We called at 3:50 p.m. and got a recording saying they were too busy to talk to us and to “hang up and call some other time.”

    I seriously doubt that.

  50. Teresa:
    The Comp Plan will be tabled to sometime in August, with public testimony still open for tonight.
    The Heather Davis project is being tabled to a date certain, as requested by the applicant.

    Everything else is according to the Agenda.

    Link to tonight’s agenda:
    http://www.adaweb.net/body.asp?SN=Commissioners&url=http://www2.adaweb.net/ComAgen.nsf?OpenDatabase&ss=4000

  51. Mr. Gibbons at Ada County Development Services graciously called me at home to let me know that the public hearing on the Comp Plan has been rescheduled to August 8th and that the Board looks forward to hearing comments. (They very much want to get it right and avoid amendments later.)

    For those poor souls who don’t get this message, the Board will do everything they can to accomodate anybody who shows up to testify. My advice? Make a pitcher of cold mojitos, take the night off and reconvene on the 8th!

    Thanks again, Commissioner Edgar, for spurring your community to become involved. You’ve done a very good thing for every citizen of Ada County.

  52. Seconding “Questions” question, which is a good one and shouldn’t get lost in the on-again-off-again world of the Ada Co. Comp Plan hearings (was there TOO MUCH public interest, perhaps?)…why have we heard nothing from Tilman & Yzaguirre on the overwhelming growth in the County or the moratorium proposal?

    The Statesman, radio & TV have all covered this issue. Are those two Co. Commissioners so unimportant no one thought to contact them? Or, have they suddenly gone camera shy? Or are they afraid to admit they just LOVE all this growth in the rural tier (which, per their voting record, must be the case)?

  53. I agree with the basic concerns. That said, I am pretty tired of people who CHOOSE to live in the boondocks (yes that is you, Eagle, Star and most of Meridian) whining about their traffic problems. You cannot have it both ways–no new development and let me live in the boondocks in peace.
    If you do not like traffic congestion, live somewhere where most of what you need to do is in your own zip code.

  54. With everything about Micron in the air, now is a perfect time to take a step back and decide what is best for the community, and I do not think unrestrained growth during a time of economic uncertianty (or really anytime) is a good idea. Steve, keep up the good fight.

  55. The keynote speaker at the 2006 Leadership Conference of Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce was Grady Gammage, a Western growth expert and fellow at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy. He said the Boise Metropolitan area could resemble Phoenix in several decades and drew many parallels between the two cities.

    In describing his hometown of Phoenix, “Some say it’s a sea of red tile roofs and stucco – like Taco Bell ate the town.”

    By 2025, more people will be leaving Arizona than arriving.

    Gammage said the transience suggests people live in Phoenix for a while to cash in on the economy.

    “But Phoenix may be something you want to avoid. I don’t know if encouraging population is all there is.”

  56. InTheMiddleOfIt
    Jul 12, 2007, 9:57 am

    Just to update my earlier post, we unanimously won our hearing (3-0) last night. I was very skeptical entering the hearing, and, though this is difficult to say, I need to give credit to the commisioners. They listened patiently to us and apparently heard us.

    How did we do it? It is nothing you haven’t heard before. We made phone calls, wrote letters, researched documents, and most importantly, we showed up at the P&Z hearings and the commissioners’ hearing. The P&Z and Commish panels verbally acknowledged our efforts and attendance at the hearings.

    You can’t just talk. You have to show up! I’m not saying this to be critical. I really want people to get involved and know that there is hope.

    In response to TJ:
    You are missing a lot. There is much more to it than I can explain here. Trust me, I could go on for pages. I completely agree with your statement about the difficulty of dealing with growth and managing density. We are simply looking for a happy medium, and asking for good planning and forethought.

    Be persistent and Keep your heads up!

  57. Inside City Hall
    Jul 12, 2007, 10:08 am

    With the current agenda of the Mayor and City Council there will be no slowing or stopping of growth. You cannot have a massive urban density build-up program and slow growth.

    With the agenda to fill every single empty parcel of land in the city limits with as high a density as it possible both growth and infrastructure degredation are guarenteed.

  58. Newwwusseroutside
    Jul 12, 2007, 1:48 pm

    Craig- are we supposed to keep moving and running away from things we dont want? I dont understand what you are saying about people in Eagle, Meridian etc whining about traffic? Are you proposing that we all stay in our own city and never go to events, doctors, hospitals, stores in Boise etc? Maybe you Would like me to move next door to you with my horses and goats and chickens and cram them into my backyard for you to smell and listen to at your next bbq? And maybe we could haul dirt to the top of our roof to grow our crops? (and can I use your roof too, since one roof top is not large enough for what I grow?) Are you saying since we chose to live outside of town, we must now accept that town is moving on top of us? Frankly, I dont get your point.

  59. Newwwuseroutside:
    Yes…I think the point is exactly that…you (as did the prolific Mr. Edgar) made a lifestyle purchase choice when you decided where to live. Now you (like Edgar) are pissed that you either a) made a bad purchase choice or b) were not willing to pay the higher price for a close-in home. So now you have discovered that it takes you too long to get back into Boise to attend events, doctors, hospitals and stores. You have several choices:
    1. Shut up and accept your mistake
    2. Get a job closer to your home
    3. Get a home closer to your job
    4. Support services closer to your home
    I can only surmise from your post that you have acreage and animals and a garden? That’s great…spend your time at home tending to them instead of driving around clogging up the overcrowded Treasure Valley road system!

  60. Getaclue & Craig,

    So, someone who decides to live in a rural area is at fault for his decision, not those who change the zoning to provide dense developments? I’m guessing that you both probably live in residential areas in a city. If a developer tears down your neighbors’ homes and puts in tall apartment buildings, clogging your streets, blocking your light…guess it’s your fault for making a bad decision to buy there in the first place…right? Would you shut up and accept “your” mistake? This argument is just plain silly.

  61. I’m sure the traffic doesn’t bother Edgar too much. After all, it’s much better than what he must experience in San Francisco, where he spends the rest of his time when he isn’t in his nice Star home.

    Here is a thought: larger lot subdivisions may create less density but will create more sprawl, more roads, more utilities, etc… Denser subdivisions in the city will actually help meet the demands of the market without taking up much more land or water, without the need to create new roads and utilities. What is wrong with that again?

  62. Clippityclop
    Jul 13, 2007, 10:42 am

    Nothing, Tex. Dense subdivsions belong in the cities, and not miles and miles outside of them in the sagebrush, far outside of the city’s area of impact.

  63. Newwwusseroutside
    Jul 13, 2007, 6:30 pm

    …and shall I purchase that air mask today as well?
    Even angry folks like you need to come up for air once in a while. You might spend some time thinking about something besides being angry that you live in the city. THINK REGIONALLY! Get out of your own backyard and wake up to whats really going on. BTW, I work from home. 🙂 You know not what you talk about!

    getaclue said:
    Newwwuseroutside:
    Yes…I think the point is exactly that…you (as did the prolific Mr. Edgar) made a lifestyle purchase choice when you decided where to live. Now you (like Edgar) are pissed that you either a) made a bad purchase choice or b) were not willing to pay the higher price for a close-in home. So now you have discovered that it takes you too long to get back into Boise to attend events, doctors, hospitals and stores. You have several choices:
    1. Shut up and accept your mistake
    2. Get a job closer to your home
    3. Get a home closer to your job
    4. Support services closer to your home
    I can only surmise from your post that you have acreage and animals and a garden? That’s great…spend your time at home tending to them instead of driving around clogging up the overcrowded Treasure Valley road system!

  64. The air is poor in quality due to the smoke from fires in the western US. Every major intermountain valley is covered in smoke from various blazes.

    EDITOR NOTE–
    Tex, you are so correct. Combine that annual event with the spew from hundreds of thousands of humans, their cars & toys, and you have filthy air. The fires are an annual event, but we don’t need to add to it every year.

  65. I don’t disagree one bit with that statement, I was thinking the same in regards to the “toys” when I was in the Sawtooths this past weekend.

    My point was the smoke is much more visible than the pollution from vehicle emissions. I’m not saying it’s any less of a reason not to work on making VMT(s) less than what they currently are. I’ve been riding my bike everyday to work and on small errands around town (southeast, downtown, northend). But, I’m only one man.

    Granted, I contributed to pollution by driving to the said campground with my PZLEV wagon and no fuel-powered “toys”.

  66. To Pirate and TJ and others

    The traditional job of a newspaper like the Statesman, considered the newspaper of record, was to cover governments at hand — in this case local and state. Well into the 1980s, the Idaho Statesman made a college try at covering the state government, county governments (Canyon and Ada), city governments (Boise, Garden City, Kuna, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa and Caldwell and ACHD) as well as law enforcement and courts. (In the 1960s and into the 1970s, the paper had also covered the rest of Treasure Valley, including Payette, Fruitland and Ontario, plus Elmore County and Twin Falls; there was a network of bureaus and correspondents to do this.)

    Gannett first axed the correspondents in the late 1970s, then the bureaus in the early 1980s, and finally deemed that government was boring and that people didn’t want to know about it in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s — until you have what you get today. Some coverage of isolated issues but no day-to-day coverage of any of these entities that determine so much about our lives. A change in ownership has apparently done nothing to change that policy. (The Legislature is an exception but when the legislature goes home, how much consistent state government news do you see?)

    Unless people on their own can assign individuals within a larger group to attend and report on happenings at specific meetings, it is impossible for single individuals to achieve enough consistently, widely enough, to be familiar with local governments on the level that used to be provided by newspapers.

    Not sure what the answer is but somehow, we need some type of institution that enables the gathering and dissemination of consistent government coverage. Not because it is exciting but because we, the citizens, need to know.

  67. Wow, I have been away from the Guardian for a while only to come back and see it getting pretty heated up around here. That’s good, about time we have some two-sided debates.

  68. costaprettypenny
    Jul 17, 2007, 11:18 pm

    Thank you Anne,
    For those of us that know how government works, it is a shame the (third estate) the local news media doesn’t do a better job of understanding and reporting on government at all levels. In the old days, a message to call back a reporter cause a lot of nervousness, not any more. They role out their former TV personalities who know how to deal with their media mates. Prime example of this lax of depth in reporting is the issue of the little wars between Meridian and Kuna, Boise and the County and of the tiff between Eagle and Star. Now lets watch as ACHD tries to pull everyone together to once again try and solve the county’s traffic issues. The press should be all over this one. I would think this topic would be a series of in depth articles to include public officials that don’t compromise nor work toward the ULI recommendations and why. The press better be at this groups first organizational meeting and all subsequent meetings.

  69. Newwwusseroutside
    Jul 18, 2007, 8:19 pm

    Nancy Merrill, Mayor of Eagle, announced today she isnt going to run for Mayor again due to something like newly formed anti-foothills development groups saying she should get out. WHAT? Eagle finally hears something, and it’s “get out”? If she’s trying to do what the people want… she better take the city council members who vote for all this development with her.

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