Growthophobe: Development Requests Absurd

Local governments are faced with deciding the fate of more than a dozen applications to build large developments in SW Idaho in the near future. We think it is time to act responsibly on behalf of the public and JUST SAY NO!

The Daily Paper did a nice round up of the PROPOSED DEVELOPMENTS in the Sunday edition. Reporter Cynthia Sewell calculates the proposals call for 19331 homes on 7,379 acres. The GUARDIAN calculates that means 11.4 SQUARE MILES of houses.

Simply put, it is insane not only to PROPOSE such vast growth and increase in population at this point in history, it is morally bankrupt to even CONSIDER approving such folly. The bailout of the “quasi governmental” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financial institutions has the potential of nearly DOUBLING the federal budget deficit. It does nothing more than encourage and reward irresponsible greedy behavior which benefits only the “big boys.”

If the locals deny the plans, there will be no need to regulate the financing. The first step in any application should be “show me the money.”

While were are at it, it is time to rid society of “quasi” anything. These shadow agencies get created by governments, but are allowed to act with little or no public oversight and are not accountable to the citizens. Locally we have Urban Renewal Agencies and various Housing Authorities as well as a state Health Facilities outfit–all created to finance something or other and their parentage and status is murky to say the least.

We don’t have a housing shortage in the valley, we don’t have any reason to encourage new businesses, workers, or others to either make babies or move here. What we need is for responsible adults to stop encouraging growth just for the sake of growth.

Those of us who live within our means, paying our taxes and bills are punished when special accommodations are offered to the likes of Tamarack, Micron, Albertson, Cabella, and others. (We heard of county commishes in Rexburg excusing taxes on a movie theater bowling alley facility in order to “preserve jobs.”)

Sadly, the GUARDIAN sees little hope we will ever get our heads above water and tackle the issues of pollution, transportation, education, etc. as long as the deciders continue to create the need for schools, roads, buses, and sewage treatment–at the expense of the general public which has to ultimately pony up the cash.

How can the Ada County Highway District hope to get approval for a near doubling of vehicle registration fees in Ada if other agencies are creating the need for more roads and repairs which creates the need for more…it is an endless cycle which MUST be broken.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Clippityclop
    Sep 7, 2008, 9:38 am

    Amen, brother!

    Sadly, entitlements for development are approved, whether or not there are adequate public facilties to support them (let alone all of the excellent points you made in your article, Dave) largely based on the sacred cow of private property rights. Well, wake up land use planners, P&Zs, city councils and county commissioners — private property rights do not trump community health, safety and well-being. Re-read the frickin’ State Land Use Planning Act (and the Constitution, if you must). Growth for growth’s sake is ridiculous, unsustainable and unsafe for everyone. We can no longer afford, as a society, to blindly consume and this practice has absolutely got to stop — have the stones to regulate and not just wait for ‘market forces’ to do your job. It’s too late by the time developers are banko — projects are left half done and infrastructure is not financed.

    Thank God its an election year… somebody with some backbone and foresight has an excellent chance at leadership as the public has completely had it with ‘business as usual.’ Don’t believe it? Wait and see come November.

  2. David Cuoio
    Sep 7, 2008, 9:51 am

    You are absolutely right, Fraz. We have grown to big, too fast, and it is time to slow down. There is no need for more houses at this time. What we need to do is preserve open space and remember what Idaho is all about — wide open spaces and elbow room. Boise should just say no to annexation for a few years.

  3. The name of the game is “GET IT PLATED AND RECORDED ASAP” that way developers will avoid future exactments for infrasturcture. That means taxpayers get stuck with paying for school land purchases, street inprovments, stoplights and intersection improvment, water and sewer infrastructure.

    Once approved and platted the land is there at a much lower cost to developers than if it refelected up to date development ordinances. They know the poor planning that exists in Idaho and how slow elected bodies and boards are to react to problems and opportunities that may protect residents from this onslaught of unbridled development.

    Once everthing gets built out it will be too late to react and all that will be is a mess for taxpayers and property owners to clean up in future years. The legacy building projects that are about to take place are rotten to the core.

    We are not looking at other cities and areas that have had the foresight to prevent a mess like what is happening in the Treasure Valley. Planning for the future is something that is talked about but not acted on with any gusto by elected and appointed officials.

  4. Are you kidding Dave? ACHD wants these developments because it generates impact fees. They don’t care what the project is, they only care what the impact fees are. (commissioners have said this out loud at meetings and it’s all on tape)

    Their budget is going to collapse because they have overestimated impact fees not only for this year but for their proposed budget next year.

    The last thing ACHD currently wants is for development to slow.

  5. I think Sara is right on! It doesn’t take a genius to realize that our city and conty agencies, and leadership, have factored in substantial levels of growth to feed themselves. I certainly would hope that we would take advantage of this slow down to re-evaluate our future plans relative to growth in the valley. The problem, however, is that these “jamokes” won’t even talk to each other, much less come up with a common goal.It amazes me that a substantial number of our citizens are going “ballistic” that we can’t get the different factions in Iraq to agree on a common goal, but we seem to be perfectly fine with our local elected officials do the same bloody thing. It’s all about protecting your turf!

  6. The Boise Picayune
    Sep 7, 2008, 7:06 pm

    Erasing Boise’s very identity we are being led at breakneck speed into homogeneous mediocrity.

    And homogeneous mediocrity is not at all difficult to move on from, leaving behind decay that will make said mediocrity enviable.

    “Love It or Leave It” may no longer be a infantile retort.

    It breaks my heart to watch “the goose” so slowly and grotesquely killed.

  7. Steve Edgar
    Sep 7, 2008, 7:51 pm

    Looks as though it is deja vu all over again. While it was with regret I had to leave the Ada County P&Z Commission, I would like to refer your readers, new and old, to take a look at my article submitted to Dave and The Guardian on 7/7/07….69 reponses and still a topic we have yet to resolve 13 months later. Lots of talk, lots of concern, no political action. Status quo is an easy way out. If we ignore it long enough it will go away….just like cancer-right? Please, let us all keep pressing the issue.
    Steve Edgar

  8. Tom Anderson
    Sep 7, 2008, 8:13 pm

    I just drove past Avimor (knicknamed DriveMore) and was thinking about the beautiful valley that they are pretty well on their way to destroying.

    When they go bankrupt in a few months, they will leave behind a valley full of half completed roads, torn up land, a few isolated houses, and noxious weeds for as far as the eye can see.

    I wander around this valley and see vacant strip malls, building foundations with weeds growing up through them, and endless for sale signs.

    Perhaps we should let all of this construction begin with a caveat that the developer will do prison time if it is not completed.

    EDITOR NOTE– Gee Tom, I would be happy with just a huge performance bond. Show me the money!

  9. Clippityclop
    Sep 8, 2008, 12:02 am

    NOTHING LESS than a genuine, self-respecting performance bond should be accepted! Are you entitling commissioners completely crazy? WAKE UP! Demand it from the developers and guess what? They’ll pony up!!! (Or kiss their inadequately financed project goodbye…) We, your taxpaying/salary paying public are sick and tired of picking up the eventual tab and subsidizing developer profits! That ain’t the free market, boyz, so pull your heads out, red or blue, I really don’t care.

  10. Consumer advocates such as the Better Business Bureau regularly advise that “Performance Bonds” be demanded of contractors to insure that the first pieces of mail you receive at your new home or office aren’t liens.

    Possession of said bonds by contractors insures completion of a project and /or compensation in the event of non completion and / or poor performance, with the issuing agency exercising uber diligence.

    “Performance bonds have been around since 2,750 BC and, more recently, the Romans developed laws of surety around 150 AD, the principles of which still exist.”[1]

    America saw the passing of “The Miller Act” in 1935 and the subsequent adoption of “Little Millers” by many States, including Idaho’s § 54-1927.

    With such an exceptionally long and distinguished history of protection, The Boise Picayune is at a complete loss to explain why the City of Boise and it’s various quasi-governmental political fiefdoms such as the CCDC haven’t demanded Performance Bonds from developers.

  11. Rod in SE Boise
    Sep 9, 2008, 10:22 am


    I agree with your assessment of the situation 100%. Even in good economic times, growth does not make the Treasure Valley a better place to live. In bad economic times, it is just dumb.

  12. Vulture Capitalist
    Sep 9, 2008, 12:28 pm

    Drove past Avimor. I see the potential for a world class Go-Kart track next year.

  13. Go Kart tracks! Ah, I remember when I was a teenager how the valley was filled with tracks. Before the days when ambulance chasers ruined that fun. These were noisy, smelly dangerous toys. Some tracks had faster ones than others, and my friends and I made it a point to exchange notes on which tracks were the best. The best track, but not the best karts, were on the outskirts of Caldwell, and I think the track is still there, in a field off 20/26, on the right as you head in from Boise.

    There were also miniature golf courses and trampoline places. Often all three recreations were integrated at the same site. There was nothing like that big swimming hole outside Meridian, but there were lots of small mom’n’pop operations all over.

    It’s the trend of the day, fewer and fewer, but bigger and bigger operations as the big boys kill off the little ones. What used to be an everyday fun thing like minigolf and go karts, is now an occasional big deal at the mega swimming hole. Not that the natatorium was that cheap. Wish I could have seen that.

    I dunno… it just seems like when a community grows larger, it becomes less of a community.

  14. Folks,
    Look at the upside to growth. The key word is “more” cuz you want it. More corner Starbucks, more WalMarts, more schools to build for the kids, more $2 Dollar Stores (inflation), more cops to catch the bad guys, more fire houses, more convenience stores, more AA meetings, more jails, more srip malls, more Eagle Roads, more Bill Sali’s, more ATV’s,more annexation, more of everything you want to make life here more better. It’s all going to look more like Meridian or Wasilla. Don’t forget your taxes will cost more since you get to pay for it.

    Why do you think they put the “more” in Avimore?

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