County

Line Up The Ducks BEFORE You Shoot Them

The following is a self-described rant by Activist Tony Jones after attending the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. His report:

“Some people think the reason roads, air, and water are deteriorating in this county, and taxes are increasing, is a big complicated subject. It may be as simple as one word: Messy.

Last night, the Ada County P&Z Commission heard Avimor’s application for phases two through six of their development in the foothills north of town along Highway 55. If approved, Avimor will have the right to put a combined total of about 1000 houses along Highway 55. That works out to about 2500 people in the subdivision and about 10,000 additional car trips per day on 55.

There are several problems with Avimor’s application. The most pressing are the perennial stumbling blocks of water and traffic.

Recently, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission denied United Water’s application to serve Avimor beyond Phase 1. The reason for the denial was that United Water is out of…..well, water.

On the traffic front, Avimor and Idaho Transportation department are sufficiently far from agreement on the design of an entrance road that, prior to the hearing, ITD sent Ada County a letter reminding the county that the problem is still unresolved.

Water supply and traffic issues are supposed to be resolved, BEFORE the county even accepts, let alone considers approving, an application. More to the point, workable solutions to both the water and traffic problems were supposed to be presented, in detail, and in writing, almost TWO YEARS AGO!

At the hearing, Commissioners Edgar and Tomkinson repeatedly assailed the applicant and development services staff with questions about the project’s many failings.

However, Frank Martin, the chair of the meeting, came to the applicant’s defense and dug in like a badger. . (Frank is also a real estate developer. His most recent project is the planned community called Hidden Springs in the foothills northwest of Boise.)

Even though life as we know it is impossible without water, and the valley’s supply is finite, Frank was unfazed. He didn’t think Avimor’s lack of water supply was a big deal.

And, totally ignoring his duty to make sure infrastructure problems such as roads are resolved before an application is allowed to proceed, Frank felt that Avimor’s self caused infrastructure problems are such a complex MESS that it would be unfair to hold it against them.

In English, Frank doesn’t think Avimor should have to fix Avimor’s own problems!

And that, my friends, is as close to the root cause of our urban sprawl as I have seen. The valley’s air, water, and traffic are deteriorating at a rapid rate. It is happening because decision makers like Frank Martin think problems such as Avimor’s, and by extension Treasure Valley’s, are just too “messy” to deal with.

Coming back to one of the main points posted to the Commish Edgar Moratorium story, many of the sprawl related problems around this valley could be managed if our “leaders” would simply enforce existing planning related rules, goals, policies, and ordinances. In this case, they need to enforce referenced policies of the Comp Plan that validate the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and requires infrastructure problems to be resolved BEFORE an application is accepted.

Postscript: Commissioner Hayes recused himself from voting for undisclosed reasons. Commissioner Aitken, meek as a lamb, voted with Martin. With four commissioners voting, the score was 2 for and 2 against. The application is tabled until August 9, 2007 at 6:00 pm at the Ada County Court House on Front Street in Boise when the other two (absent) commissioners, Ostolasa and Terteling, get a chance to cast their votes.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Ken Malgren
    Jul 13, 2007, 2:45 pm

    It is time to recall Frank Martin! He is probably appointed, but if there ever was a conflict-of-interest in government this is it. Who do we as citizens need to assail to get this done?

  2. Frank Martin, the chairman of the Ada co P&Z is interestingly enough, the ULI chair here in the Treasure Valley also.

    Based on Tony’s rant, it does not bode well for pressuring ACHD to accept the ULI’s findings, particularly those where everyone is supposed to work together for the common good and involve meaningful public participation to make projects better before they are approved and built.

    With all the transportation problems fully acknowledged by the State and knowing how much traffic will also be dumped on ACHD roads, if Avimore can get a green light from the guy who is supposed to help solve transportation problems, well God help us all.

  3. Newwwusseroutside
    Jul 13, 2007, 4:28 pm

    We have idiots in high places.

  4. curious george
    Jul 13, 2007, 4:52 pm

    I must admit to occasionally submitting to a “throw the bums out” mentality myself. But, to quote Frederick Buechner,

    “Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back — in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”

    All of the P&Z Commissioners give of their personal time and expertise to render as fair and objective a recommendation as they can. In his defense, Frank Martin is one of the most highly qualified people to evaluate the merits and pitfalls of any large land use application. He’s dealt with such processes all around the United States, and many of the projects he’s been associated with have gone on to win accolades (by both residents and environmentalists).

    For the record, the Urban Land Institute is more than a local clearing house for rubber stamping – and Frank Martin was not on the panel that reviewed ACHD. For more information about the ULI visit its website.

    http://www.uli.org

    And, check out the bio’s of the people who did serve on the panel.

    http://www.achd.ada.id.us/pdf/ULI/ADACountyPanelBios.pdf

    Commissioner Martin is no more, or less, than a political appointee, and like any appointee he expressed an interest in serving on the P&Z Commission to the Board of County Commissioners. Those who feel as strongly about regulating growth as he does, need to update their resumes and politely ask the Board to appoint them to the Commission. But remember, you wouldn’t get to show up to vote only on the projects that might impact you – and your term of service is a minimum of three years.

    If the Commission membership was down to four people last night, it’s a fairly good indication that the membership isn’t as large as it should be to effectively operate. Per state law, a P&Z Commission can be as large as 12 people. 1/3 of the Ada County P&Z Commission’s membership can live within any of the incorporated cities in Ada County, but fully 1/2 must reside outside the cities’ Areas of City Impact.

  5. Clippityclop
    Jul 13, 2007, 6:07 pm

    Curious, please, everyone deeply appreciates the personal sacrifice the P&Z Commissioners make — did you not note the 60-plus responses to Commissioner Edgar on this site? That said, it escapes no one that this County is in deep trouble (yes, take a look out your window at that air quality) and for Commissioner Martin, credentials or no, to disregard the constraints of water and infrastructure when voting to vest development rights completely disregards not only the old Comp Plan, but the health and welfare of all County residents.

    The precedent he sets is hideous: Infrastructure problems that this development will cause (and others lining up behind it) is such a mess that we should not interfere with vesting development rights and just hope it all gets taken care of with conditions of approval before a final (building) plat is issued. What? Are you nuts? That’s why this County is in such a MESS in the first place. His logic and your defense floor me. I could care less what accolades this guy has been given in the past — his justification for his vote is pathetic and part of the problem. If this is good planning, give me somebody else… with common sense.

  6. Frank Martin was at a ULI conference on Wednesday night about how to properly “sell” your mixed use project in order to maximize rents and thus maximize your profits. This was not about “affordable housing,” nor was it about these “lame duck land use and zoning regulations” that are reportedly just horrible in Portland (these things were said by the presenters). He was there, eating it up.

    Suffice it to say, this wasn’t a forum for smart or responsible growth – this was a forum for milking the land and property in the treasure valley for all they can. Be warned, friends, for interest in piquing from all over the world in making a lot of money on development here at home.

  7. Like Curious George, I too have heard of Frank Martin’s resume and accomplishments. They tell me Scooter Libby, Jeffrey Skilling, and Ken Lay also have great resumes. Realistically, we could shut down a substantial portion of the nation’s prisons if we could get the MBAs to keep their hands out of their company’s cookie jars. Regardless of alma mater, resume and social status, a liar is still a liar, a thief is still a thief, and a crook is still a crook.

    And, please don’t pretend that people like Frank are not without fault. When they knowingly make decisions that lower the quality of the air you breath, the water you drink, your options for outdoor recreation, and so on, especially when they could have required the developers to reduce these impacts, they are, to some degree, enriching a developer at the expense of your quality of life. When they do that, they something from us even if it is not a material thing.

    My only regret is that we are limited to throwing guys like Frank off their respective boards. Chasing them to the border, pitchfork in hand seems more appropriate.

  8. I hate to burst the bubble on Tony Jones, but you need to know the whole story.

    Mr. Jones is currently under contract with Kastera Development, LLC (recently split off from Kastera Homes). Mr. Jones has in the past and continues to work as the economic consultant for kastera development’s Shadow Valley Planned Community, including the Shadow Valley Golf Course.

    This development will include high density retail, commercial, and residential development on BOTH sides of Hwy 55 around the golf course. This information is public record and can be found in kastera’s planned community application which can be found at Ada County Development Services. Mr. Jones’s name is in the application as the economic consultant and his company Rocky Mountain Econometrics as well.

    Please be carefull of Mr. Jones. He is clearly operating on both sides of the fence. It is hard to trust a person that can adjust their morals simply for a paycheck. PLEASE ASK YOURSELF WHY MR. JONES IS SO AGAINST AVIMOR, BUT IS WILLING TO WORK FOR ANOTHER DEVELOPER WHO IS PROPOSING OVER 80O RESIDENTIAL UNITS OR 8000 VEHICLE TRIPS PER DAY FROM A PROJECT ONLY A COUPLE OF MILES FROM AVIMOR?

  9. curious george
    Jul 14, 2007, 2:36 pm

    One other thing,

    Before you can be appointed to a county P&Z Commission you have to have lived in the county for at least two years.

    A duly appointed commissioner can only be removed from a term of service by a majority vote of the Board of County Commissioners. Since it requires a majority vote to place the resident on the commission.

    If a county resident is concerned enough about environmental quality to believe that a single vote by a supposedly anti-environmental commissioner shouldn’t be the deciding vote on any development – then it is incumbent on that resident to get appointed to the commission.

    With a commission of twelve, following proper Roberts Rules, a tie vote would be nearly impossible. Six of the commissioners would have to live outside the various Areas of City Impact, leaving four that could reside within the various city limits and two that can reside within the Areas of City Impact.

    It might be worthwhile investigating the current composition of the P&Z Commission to find out what demographic would be missing to flesh out a 12-member commission.

    And, if a 12-member county P&Z Commission can’t be broad enough in its representation, then it is entirely legal in Idaho for a county and city(ies) to form a joint P&Z Commission. If we really want regional cooperation on land use, require landowners to seek approval from such a joint commission.

    Though it might get you elected to office in Idaho, I can guarantee you that whining about existing members’ voting records, or about being “forced” to act within the bounds of the law, is not a way to get appointed to a judicial body (either by a city council or a county board).

  10. Tj:

    What exactly would you have a land owner or a developer do? It’s their job to make housing, shopping, place of employment available and to maximize their profit in the process. Unless you live in a commune, North Korea, or work for the government (or all three of course), your livelihood also involves seeking maximum profits given prevailing costs – including labor. Whom or what, exactly, do you exploit in your own perplexing paradigm?

    And who exactly should be blamed here for the area growing as it has? MAYBE it’s all those people moving here from other states. They have money, they like the area, and they’re going to buy a house. Period. And good developers and bad developers are going to build and sell – they have mouths to feed, too. Period. Your approach to contain the problems you cite sounds a little like “if we destroy the coca plants, we’ll end the cocaine trade.” Wow – single-minded attack of supply has worked wonders there and with other things, hasn’t it?

    Regarding the ULI event on Wednesday, I was there and you clearly know nothing about what was spoken. The point of that presentation was about two things. First, that mixed-use residential projects DESIGNED to accomplish smart growth/vehicle reduction goals – goals coveted by the City of Boise and smart growth enthusiasts I might add – usually rely on SUBSIDY in other places, and Portland was discussed specifically. Second, that in order to make them work, if there is no subsidy possible, specific types of shopping opportunity in the development help more than others. How exactly is public subsidy or wasted private resources “smart” development? Avoiding both was the point of the presentation I witnessed with my own eyes.

    So my question for you, Tj is this: Did you move to Boise from somewhere else? What land had to be exploited for you to have a shingle over your head? What developer have you willingly benefited by living and working in what they built? Was it recent while the valley has at least identified the need to grapple with issues of growth? Then you’re clearly and hypocritically part of the problem in your own odd reality, aren’t you?

    Or were you born here or moved here a while ago when “planning” was an enemy Soviet concept in Idaho? Back when land could REALLY be exploited because no one cared about traffic, land use and air quality? I suppose that makes your ignorant comments even more hypocritical, doesn’t it? So which is it?

  11. Mr. L is correct. I am an Economist, and proud of it. My company is called Rocky Mountain Econometrics. And, I am able to work for a wide range of employers, ranging from environmental groups, public agencies and a few select private companies, because I refuse to bend the facts.

    And, I feel pretty good about my credibility. In fact, I feel good enough about my credibility that I am the only one here signing his or her real name.

    If any of you have questions about my clients, my code of ethics, the way I do business, or a list of references, please feel free to contact me at tjones@rmecon.com. My web site is http://www.rmecon.com. I look forward to discussing things we can do to improve the valley, and the process by which development applications are processed. I even look forward to helping credible developers produce legitimate applications. And, thanks for the chance to promote my company.

    The said, Mr. L’s attempt to turn the discussion to me is a red herring. 

    Please read the original post again. The main point of my story is about the PROCESS by which the county reviews projects. I genuinely feel sorry for Avimor, or any company that has to work with Ada County. More on this theme below.

    Whether you are Avimor, Skyline, Kastera, or Joe Blow of the general public, you should insist that Development Services, P&Z, The County Commissioners, and the various other agencies in the area, process every application by a consistent set of rules.

    All the facts should be explored. All the issues should be resolved consistent with the various ordinances. Everyone, businesses and individuals alike should insist that the “process” operate in a thorough, open, fair, and consistent manner. 

    If Avimor, Kastera, Skyline, your clients, my clients, or whoever, can present a convincing argument that their development is consistent with the comprehensive plan and that it will mitigate all its impacts, with a fair chance for examination and rebuttal by agencies, businesses, and the public, at a fair hearing by the various review boards, it deserves to go forward.

    However, everyone, businesses, individuals, and other developers as well, should have a huge problem with things like: Commissioners meeting in secret to discuss applications; The county ignoring their own comprehensive plans and their requirements for declaring an application complete; Commissioners and staff having ex parte communications during the application process, even during the hearing process, designed to prejudice the final outcome; Staff and commissioners denying contestants their constitutional rights to due process; and on and on. 

    You should have a huge problem when one of the principal hearing officers throws the entire hearing process into the dumper on the grounds that resolving the major issues is too “Messy.” (FYI, if you bother to read my Kastera analysis, you will see that I state outright that many of the infrastructure issues remain unresolved and that more work in that area needs to be done. I enjoy working through and resolving the “messy” bits.)

    It is natural to want the people managing the review and approval process to cut your personal project a break. The trouble is, your break today, is your ox getting gored tomorrow, and the public’s ox getting gored time and time again.

    In parting, let me leave you with this thought. Idaho in general and Boise / Ada County in particular, pride themselves on being a “Great Place to Do Business.” However, to the extent I talk strategy with current or prospective developer clients it is usually limited to the following: “If you have the option, go somewhere else. Don’t attempt to build anything in Ada County. Many of the people in county government, from development services up to and including the commissioners, will want to help you. And you, looking for all the breaks you can get, will want to let them. But in the process, as Mr. Martin so clearly demonstrated on Wednesday night, they will bend the rules, violate the code, and break the law. As a result, anyone in the county with $20,000 and a grudge (Can you say, “Retired Micron Millionaires?) can take the county to court, with your application in tow, where it will rot for years and your profit margin will fade from black, to deep…deep…deep red.” 

    In economics jargon, a corrupt review process increases the developer’s risk. (And the public’s ire.) 

    In English, Everyone wins when we play by the rules.

    The county’s process has got to change. I think you’ll find agreement on that subject broad enough to include builders, developers, business entities, conservation groups, and the general public.

    Regards,
    Tony Jones

  12. Ah, Scrootaype, judging from your post, you are certainly well named! Plus, you’ve aligned yourself with developers. I always thought there was a whiff of sulfur around some of their proposals.

    It’s interesting that neither you nor Logicskier defend the merits of allowing Avimor to continue forward with development despite problems with water, electricity, roadways, sprawl, wildlife mitigation, and withdrawing from the Wildland Urban Fire Interface (WUFI). Guess it’s easier to attack the messenger than admit that there’s a severe problem with the county’s approval process, development services, and those P&Z commissioners who are closely connected with certain developers and then don’t have the decency to recuse themselves from decision making.

  13. Clippityclop
    Jul 15, 2007, 1:38 pm

    Logicskier,

    I’ve read the Kastera Shadow Valley economic analysis — what Mr. Jones replies is correct. He acknowledges that the transportation issue is entirely unresolved and remains a huge question mark.

    The developer-sponsored traffic impact analysis of the SH 55 corridor has not been made public yet, and therefore not peer reviewed, but you don’t even have to be a traffic engineer to estimate that the necessary upgrades will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Those infrastruture realities will enormously impact the economic analysis. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if developers began to think twice about the exhorbitant cost of developing in the foothills (and the denser they make it, the more infrastructure upgrades they have to provide). There comes a point when chasing your tail just makes you dizzy, and not a profit.

    If Ada County Development Services tries to push the Kastera Shadow Valley application forward as complete without the traffic impacts acknowledged and mitigated, it won’t satisfy the Comp Plan and the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, just as Avimor hasn’t. I suppose that if Mr. Jones doesn’t agree with that, then you have every right to impune him given his reponse to playing it both ways. Frankly, I can’t see the Kastera application nor any of the others eyeing the SH 55 corridor as satisfying the fiscal impact requirements of Ordinance 621 (neither ITD nor ACHD has the funds to provide infrastructure, and the Ordinance clearly states that all fiscal impacts are to be borne by the development and not the overburdened public).

    I think that’s the whole point of the editorial. If good policy and ordinances were applied as written, burdensome developments (which would injure all of Ada County with inadeqaute public facilities) wouldn’t even come before the P&Z — and certainly not have a P&Z commissioner make excuses for them.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but two years ago when Mr. Martin was a Commissioner, I believe he recused himself and testified as a private citizen in favor of the Avimor application. I suppose now it’s just easier to cut to the chase and vote for it as a P&Z Commissioner. To the point, I don’t believe he disclosed any potential conflicts the other night, unlike Commissioner Hayes (and given Commissioner Hayes’ voting record, I would bet the farm he would have voted to deny this application, and therefore the vote would have been 3 to 2). Is something rotten in Denmark?

  14. Jus_the_Facts
    Jul 15, 2007, 3:51 pm

    “I must recuse myself in this matter due to ex-parte communication in September. The topic was a potential waterline extension from Hidden Springs, and also, because of potential economic benefit to Hidden Springs, I will have to recuse myself.” Frank Martin, 10/06/2005, Avimor P&Z Hearing. (1)

    On 11/10/2005, Frank Martin, in the capacity of a private citizen, testified in favor of Avimor’s application at the P&Z Hearing. On that night, he was the only person who supported the application. (2)

    Frank is the current chairman of ULI – Idaho. (3) One of the ULI Idaho Chairman’s (ie. Martin’s) goals is to, “Procure at least $40,000 in annual (non-program) sponsorships.”(4) Suncor, the parent company of Avimor, helped Mr. Martin meet his goal by donating $2,500 to ULI Idaho. (5,6,7,8,9)

    At the 7/11/2007, P&Z Hearing, Frank Martin voted to approve the Avimor (Phases 2-6) application.
    ___________________________________
    (1) http://216.239.51.104/search?q=cache:UIIpJU7IQ-QJ:www.adaweb.net/departments/developmentservices/documents/10062005pzminutes.doc+avimor+minutes+martin+recuse&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us&client=safari
    (2)http://www.adaweb.net/departments/DevelopmentServices/documents/11102005pzminutes.doc
    (3) http://idaho.uli.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=ULI_Idaho_Leadership
    (4) http://idaho.uli.org//AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home39
    (5) http://idaho.uli.org//AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home39
    (6) http://idaho.uli.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Sponsors27
    (7) http://www.avimor.com/
    (8) http://www.suncoraz.com/residential.htm
    (9) http://www.suncoraz.com/aboutUs.htm

  15. Tony, I’m so glad you’re such a noble creature and sign your name. But it doesn’t hide your hipocrisy.

    Tony, you live in the worst possible example of sprawl. You live in the middle of a sensitive wildlife area, poop in the ground with a groundwater-spoiling septic system, befoul the air and water with a dirt road and have to drive 10 miles to find a store – in an SUV, no doubt.

    Boise City even sent fire trucks last year, at Boise taxpayer expense, to bail you out with the range fires. Did you ever pay them back, since you are so concerned about growth paying its own way? You want others to adhere to planning rules, yet you live in an illegal subdivision. You work for developers, including Tamarack, and gladly accept their money. Your only response to all of this is duck and cover and say, “I’m just a humble economist. I have a Web site. There are public records.” But you won’t address the content of this information.

    Yet you proudly stand up as a noble, square-jawed defender of all that is good. Puh-leeeze. You have no credibility. Even with a name.

  16. Sleuth:

    I’m not siding with developers, but the claim that I side against developers would be even more inaccurate. I look at the facts on the ground and calls it like I sees it.

    And I don’t defend any process, jurisdiction, or public commission behavior. My point is that it takes a remarkable amount of chutzpah – sorta like a certain transplanted Californian on a certain P&Z Board – that somewhat arbitrarily and very hypocritically determines it’s time to raise the bridge over the moat until the masses of the unwashed look elsewhere.

    And that’s the problem, right there. Mr. Edgar and the rest that would rather see Ada County put development through far more hoops forget one thing: it has several other counties in the vicinity that will happily take the growth. And if that happens, it doesn’t change the fact that Boise is the core of employment and commerce. Only now, all those employees and households are Canyon, Elmore, and Gem County tax payers using Ada County roads and other infrastructure extensively without paying a single dime.

    Does that seem like smart growth to anyone else besides those counties?

  17. This is all but comical–the pro-development gang is out in force. We’ve got Scrootaype (that’s the devil in the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis for those who miss the reference) and now Sprawler–I guess that’s to show what he’s in favor of!

    But again, instead of defending “all that’s good” (the way Sprawler admits Mr. Jones does), they think that the public should care how Tony Jones earns his living and where he lives. Their venom really leaps off the page. Makes me think the quality of his argument have gored them badly.

    Uh…hate to bring up the SUBJECT of this piece…but just exactly what does their finger pointing have to do with Frank Martin’s allegiance to Avimor? Commissioner Martin knew enough to recuse himself the first time around (see testimony links by Jus_the_facts above for some interesting reading). I want to know what changed? If nothing changed…was Frank Martin wrong to have recused himself initially…or is he wrong to NOT have done so this time around? And if wrong THIS time, doesn’t the public deserve that he act fairly at the next P&Z Hearing on Avimor?

  18. I think Mr. Jones’s well-stated point was that “[t]he County Commissioners, and the various other agencies in the area, [should] process every application by a consistent set of rules.” Seems reasonable, whether you are “fer” or “agin” development. Apparently, even Sprawler agrees with this premise since s/he could only provide a splenetic ad hominem attack (which presumes that the substance of the argument is valid).

  19. Public officials, and I would include appointed officials as well, have a duty to declare when they have an interest, particularly financial, in any project that comes before them. This could be an affirmative interest, like I’m going to make kazillions off this, or a negative interest, such as this is going to cost me kazillions.

    It must also be disclosed if a close family member or a business partner is going to have a financial interest. This is true if the interest is substantial or de minimus.

    It is good form, though not required, that an official disclose other links such as I used to be a partner with one of the parties but no longer or that I own property two doors down or the like.

    If Frank Martin has disclosed a conflict and nothing has changed in his employement etc, then he needs to declare that conflict again and recuse himself.

    Oftentimes, those who serve on P&Z commissions seek those appointments because it can help their businesses. This is perfectly ok if they declare any conflicts and recuse themselves to avoid any impropriety and conflict of interests.

  20. I find it really validating when people don’t dispute the content of what I said, but rather that I should say it at all. I never knew a distaste for hipocrisy and sanctimoniousness made one pro-developer. Really, hipocrisy can be found on all sides of an issue and no side has a lock on the high or low ground.

    It’s a free country and Tony Jones can live as he pleases. When he starts lecturing others about growth and sprawl, however, he invites comment on his own habits as they relate to his crusade. People who live in illegal subdivisions in sensitive habitat without basic services and far from jobs and stores have no standing to rail against sprawl and bad development. If they do it, they should fully expect to get called on it.

  21. The hearing for Avimor Phase 2-6 was for recommendation to the BOCC for the Preliminary Plat. The entitlement of Avimor, all phases, has already been approved. Not a hearing for the project as a whole, but for the plat.

    If the planned community has already been approved, should every subsequent phase be denied so that the phases including infrastructure(roads, utilities, water and wastewater systems), institutional buildings, commercial, etc.. not be completed. Then you have an unfinished project that will end up costing taxpayers more money. This usually occurs when the developer runs out of money and can’t move forward.

    If you wanted Avimor or any other subsequent PC to be denied, that should have been done at the entitlement hearing.

    I would have to agree with Scrootaype (I do enjoy the pun) that if the development doesn’t occur in Ada County, it’ll occur further out where ordinances and commissioners are less restrictive on such growth. Canyon, Elmore, Boise, Payette, and Gem are not prepared for what is being planned in those areas and are scrambling to have something to give developers. But until then, cheap homes will be built and will create the need for taxpayers to fund more roads, utilities, and deal with higher rates of pollution. More VMT=more emissions from commuters. The jobs will still stay in Boise, as there are plans for more office space in downtown.

    I think there is opportunity for development processes to become more restrictive in Ada County…I don’t want to live in another large, sprawling city(especially one without zoning).
    In my opinion, a planned community is much more restrictive, in what the county allows, than traditional subdivisions. Some commercial and institutional services allow for less trips onto major arterials and maybe even less trips using vehicles.

  22. Clippityclop
    Jul 16, 2007, 4:09 pm

    Tex,
    Avimor has had more than two years to address the infrastructure constraints on SH 55, which they must have known existed when they first applied. They didn’t form a developer/landowner consortium to deal with this until pressed by public concern on late 2006.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to deny a preliminary plat for a phased development when such a crtitical issue has not been resolved, not to mention the water issue and fire protection. Should the County just keep making a bad mistake over and over and over again? Avimor/Suncor probably has more horsepower than any other developer along the SH 55 corridor. If they have not resolved this and are allowed to move forward, I feel this sets a very bad precedent and does nothing but gut Comp Plan policies and contribute to the problems we already have here in Ada County.

    Ultimately, this choice will be far more costly to taxpayers than a case of “arrested development.” The developer needs a time out to get it right, and every developer lining up behind needs to know that adequate public facilities are expected.

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