Weekly Features Guardian Editor

In a well written and fair piece about the cities of Idaho vs the citizens right to vote, Lora Volkert wrote about the perils of urban renewal in the current issue of BOISE WEEKLY.

The decision in Third District Court is still pending, so no comments here further than the court record reported by Volkert.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Nice write up. If a URD should not be able to go into long term debt without a voter approval, can they save their pennies in the piggy bank to pay for $30 million projects?

    EDITOR NOTE–Clancy, the question is a no brainer. If PRIVATE enterprise wants to step up, they can go for it. If they want the City to step up, they have to ask for permission. Question to be resolved is are URDs private or public?

    For starters, check into who paid for and who owns the GROVE STREET GARAGE…look for more on that issue soon.

  2. Well written and obvious that Ms. Volkert did some homework. But it falls short. Where are the actual numbers, and how about more of a historical perspective?

    Don’t any of you remember what downtown Boise used to be like? I’ve only lived here since 92, but I’m well aware of the vacant and derelict warehouses that were everywhere downtown. Nobody can argue that downtown hasn’t improved greatly since the creation of its URD. And new sources of revenue have been generated—sales tax, gas tax, income tax, etc., all of which already existed but were not collected because downtown Boise was a ghost town.

    As I’ve stated many times, vacant/under-utilized properties are ALREADY not paying their fair share. Here is a real world example. Goodman Oil property at 2817 W. Fairview zoned C-2D, a high use zoning, and having river frontage, was billed $17,149 for 2007 for 3.43 acres of land and several improvements. (hah!)

    That works out to 11.5 cents per square foot and that’s without a homeowner exemption. With the HO exemption, I paid 16.5 cents per SF for 2007 on a much lesser zoned R2 property without river frontage. I pay close to 50% more per SF per year in the same neighborhood! How is this fair?

    Urban decay/renewal is not solely an Idaho problem, it’s been happening for a long time in cities all over the USA. Part of the problem is federal. Feds have financed interstate highways which have directly subsidized suburban expansion which has directly lead to dis-investment in many downtown locales.

    Another reason for suburban flight, many, given the choice, do NOT want to live near run-down properties. I’ll support the Guardian in the fight against URDs if the Guardian supports much greater code-enforcement ability and licensing of landlords and certain minimum standards for rental properties.

    The Guardian frequently decries suburban expansion, yet at the same time bemoans Urban Renewal Districts, one of the few tools available to rebuild city centers. This seems like a cake and eat it too situation, or perhaps a shoot your self in your own foot deal.

    EDITOR NOTE–not against ANYTHING. Just let we the people sign if we go into debt. I cannot obligate YOU to a new car or house without your signature. Same same.

  3. One more thing. Instead of the appeal to emotion argument, can the Guardian produce the actual dollar amount of extra tax the Guardian pays due to the existence of the the 3 downtown URDs?

  4. Watch out Guardian! You are being sucked into the world of being considered a local “celebrity”! Next thing you know, they will want you to be the grand marshall of some parade! Seriously, you currently find yourself in a place where you may see that “jousting” a windmill, or two, is necessary from time to time.

  5. Seems to me this is part of the reason for the Revolutionary War started. Taxation without representation….. The taxpayer has no say as to whether the Urban Renewal area is needed or wanted and our property tax dollars are shuffled to pay for the Urban Renewal agency’s bonds.

  6. Guardian Editor wrote:

    “Just let we the people sign if we go into debt. I cannot obligate YOU to a new car or house without your signature. Same same.”

    That’s fine with me except for the super-majority thing. Why should 1/3rd of the people rule over 2/3rds. In other words, why should 34 people be able to tell us 66 people we CAN’T go in to debt if we’re so inclined. Please come up with a compelling argument.

    Ducky. There is no taxation without representation. No new taxes are levied. Can you kindly point out an example of a new tax having been levied by the existing Boise URDs.

  7. Yo Cynic.

    I too remember the pre urban renewal district Boise. It had its problems. I also remember that Idaho was staunchly pro free enterprise. For example, there was a need for convention space, so private enterprise built the facility. In fact they did it at least twice. Once at the Downtowner, and later at the the Red Lion Riverside (later purchased by DoubleTree). No public subsidy required.

    Then along came the urban renewal, CCDC, and the like. The Downtown boise is different, but with The Pit as the centerpiece, it is hard to call it better. And now private enterprise is too cowardly to build anything without some sort of public guarantee/subsidy.

    That is truly a step backward.

  8. Boisecynic, I couldn’t agree more with the success that the CCDC has delivered to the downtown core.The problems arise when the CCDC doesn’t wish to live by their finite lifespan. They have done their job and now is the time to return those taxes to the general fund. Instead, there is an effort from city hall,(even though they contend that CCDC is totally seperate) to expand their area of impact to include 30th. and Fairview, strip malls on Vista and Overland, and the industrial park southeast of the city. My question is, where will it end? The illogical conclusion is that one day ALL business in Boise will be under the CCDC. Simply put, we can no longer afford this city agency, and they should fade into history with many thanks for a job well done.

  9. The Boise Picayune
    Aug 29, 2008, 11:30 am

    According to the CCDC Website:

    Board meetings are open to the public and generally held the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month, beginning at noon, in the CCDC conference room, 121 North 9th Street, on the 5th Floor

    You can call to confirm @ 208-384-4264

    See y’all there?

  10. Picayune:

    Just see how much business will be discussed at their “open” board meeting if strange faces show up for enlightenment. Like most boards of this nature they have their most informative meetings at the local watering hole or resturant.

  11. Sam the sham
    Sep 1, 2008, 7:37 am

    Urban Renewal… ah yes. Back in the early ’70’s so many historic older buildings (not in bad shape) were torn down. The old Bristol Hotel is still – sigh – a parking lot.

    by the way – good photo of you in the Weekly. : )

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