Ada Commishes Vote Population Increase

All three Ada County Commishes voted late Wednesday to approve a giant subdivision of 3,113 homes covering nearly 2 square miles in the desert south of Kuna Mora Road at S. Cole.

Their ill conceived actions stand to increase the population by at least 9,000 people.

Consider the area is near a prison crammed full of killers and perverts, the Boise Poop Farm where sludge is dumped on the land, and a slaughter house with a road full of trucks transporting cattle to their death. Great neighborhood! And it is all 15 miles from downtown Boise.

The growth will lead to increased demands on water, sewer, air pollution, fire protection, schools, and roads–all at a time when the unsold housing inventory is at record levels and financing is near impossible. The housing bubble burst, but the Commishes are still BLOWING BUBBLES.

So much for stopping “urban sprawl.” These guys–regardless of political leaning–have just voted to increase the county population by at least 9,000 people. They bought into whatever the developer claimed. Investors need to learn the source of financing and warn the world to stay clear of investing in such a risky scheme doomed to failure.

We have already “nationalized” the housing finance market, will the developers be next? If Tamarack and their $6 billion bond scheme with the Idaho Hosing and Finance Association is any indication the answer is YES.

How far will the 100 per cent increase in auto registration fees go toward solving increased traffic woes? Arrowrock Subdivision which is in the area has come afoul with the Public Utilities Commission over water issues and the aquifer will be hard pressed to take care of even more users.

Two of these guys are up for re-election and GROWTHOPHOBES need to remember that on election day.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I would much rather they build out there than build on all the precious farm land and build in the foothills destroying our city’s scenic skyline.

  2. Rod in SE Boise
    Sep 12, 2008, 12:22 pm

    You can’t get there from here! I looked at Google Earth. S. Cole Road ends about 2 miles north of Kuna Mora Road. I guess they could drive their Hummers across the desert to get home from work at the convenience store.

  3. Yeah – lets just build more trailer courts in town instead. Seriously, do you honestly think that people have stopped moving to Ada County? Have you even LOOKED at the demographics ( Until Micron and HP shut down their plants here, the population base will continue to grow. Instead of whining like a little girl, how about proposing a viable alternative?

  4. Swell, really #@&K^%G swell. Another 3000 houses on top of the already huge glut will reduce the value of my existing house, and therefore my net worth, by another couple of notches.

    And worse, because these turkeys don’t pay for themselves, my taxes will go up even further.

    It’s time to throw out all three commissioners. We can replace Yzaguirre and Woods with Ullman and Langhorst in November. We can start a recall drive against Tilman in the morning.

  5. Boise Whiskey Tango
    Sep 12, 2008, 1:58 pm


    Brooklyn or Barbados, Brooklyn or Barbados…

    Probably Brooklyn (which interestingly enough, generally has a lower per capita crime rate than Boise these days).

    3 and a Half Years until the Kid’s done with school…

    I hope Boise-Angeles just continues to circle the drain, and doesn’t go screaming down it, until then.

    Yup… Walking away from mediocrity won’t be that difficult at all.

    And, oh yes – I can hear it now…

    “Good Riddance!”

  6. Nice headline. Sounds much better than Growth for Growth’s sake.

  7. It appears that Sara is correct. There is no othr explanation for this other than they need the growth to pay their bills. Please exercise your right to vote and clean out the ACHD as much as possible!

  8. My (admittedly limited) understanding of this is that there was not a legal basis for denying the development. So, as with P&Z and the City, members have personally opposed projects but found no statutory basis for denial of permits.

    In order to control growth, county ordinances must be changed overall, rather than dealing with each project on an individual basis. It seems unlikely that the State legislature will move towards allowing local communities to control growth, so a local approach is required. A change in the outlook of a majority of the County Commissioners would allow ordinances to be changed and subsequent developments legally and equitably managed.

    Sounds reasonable to me. We have to have a legal mechanism and a plan to control growth. The current situation is a result of 20 years or so of development proponents and beneficiaries controlling the rules and the process. There has to be a change in the makeup of the commission to make the changes required to deny approval for inappropriate developments.

    EDITOR NOTE–We are not aware of any law mandating that zoning be upgraded and changed on a parcel of property. i.e. open or ag land doesn’t HAVE to be upgraded to residential. Seems that one house per 40 acres is the rule.

  9. Clippityclop
    Sep 13, 2008, 9:56 am

    I supported Paul Woods in the last AC Commissioner election, but I can’t say that I feel the same way now. While he talked a good game re: responsible growth and open space conservation two years ago, he really hasn’t done anything to distinguish himself — including this vote. He’s had enough time to learn the job — we have every right to expect better leadership by this time. Paul, you’re disappointment to your constituents, and frankly, more of the same. It may be time for you to go and trust me, Sharon’s pretty darn savvy when it comes to the County. She’s also not afraid of Fred.

    And Yzaquirre, he absolutely must go. Not even a hesitation on that one.

  10. With approximately 7,000 homes on the market in Ada County, one wonders what the commissioners are thinking. We all know where the buck stops when development schemes go south. The fact that we the taxpayers will be paying for the Freddie and Fannie bailout should be reason enough to put this deal under the microscope.

  11. What a scary proposal – as the old song says, “when will we ever learn..” All the years I’ve lived in Boise I’ve watched continuous sell-out to anything, no matter the long term consequences, if it will “bring jobs,” or “attract growth.” There is never any regard to social needs, promoting a diverse economic and population base, or preserving the precious “quality of life” to which folks here are fond of paying lip service. Several years ago when I was on Governor John Evans’ staff, I coordinated an Agricultural Task Force to look at Idaho’s future agricultural potential. At that time we were lamenting the loss of farmland between Boise and Meridian and Nampa/Caldwell. Look at that “farmland” today! Let’s not destroy our high desert and rangeland at the foot of the Birds of Prey Center in a perverted concept of “progress.”

  12. Throw the Bums Out
    Sep 14, 2008, 2:23 pm

    Using Idagreen’s comment as a segue, the commissioners typically rely on one of two justifications when they approve subdivisions.

    One, they approve a subdivision request on the excuse that, “There is no legal basis for denying the application.”

    Second, when the application violates one or more ordinances, and the legal basis of the preceding paragraph seemingly requires the commissioners to withhold approval, they approve it anyway on the grounds that, “The comp plan and planned community codes are “advisory” in nature and therefor are not binding!

    Sort of like: Heads they approve the subdivision, Tails, they don’t deny the subdivision.

    Bear in mind that the same two excuses could alternately be used to deny everything. They could even be used, heaven forbid, in a responsible manner to approve good applications and deny poor ones. But, they don’t.

    To approve the guaranteed sprawl associated with a development like Vista, barely three months after Ada County was found to be out of compliance with the Clean Air Act, is reckless and inexcusable.

    November isn’t coming fast enough. I can’t wait to throw out the incumbents.

  13. For those of you growthophobes that continue to throw out the tired old line “they don’t pay for themselves” or that “new residents increase the taxes for everyone”, I’d like to see some proof.

    The growth supporters have proof that growth does pay for itself. See the study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders on our region. Growth does appear to pay for itself within eight years and growth for the sake of growth seems to be a viable economic policy. Now I recognize the likely bias of the study origin, but it was done by the national organization, not the local BCA. As a long-time Idaho boy, I’d like to see growth done well and to see developers providing solutions rather than problems. Haphazard development over the last two decades has not done our community many favors. But good and responsible development can be done!

    As an avid birder and outdoorsman, I’d also like to see developers improve conditions for wildlife. Its easy and not too expensive. I hope our elected officials will be “conservation-minded” while still respecting the rights of private land owners.

  14. I agree that ag land or other does not HAVE to be re-zoned as residential. I just don’t know the legal aspects. Have there been cases where a developer or land owner has sued and won to develop over planning guidelines, advisory or otherwise, or cases where the municipalities prevailed? There are communities that have been aggressive in limiting boom and bust development, but they have been successful only by creating and supporting the political will to do so. If we value the property owners rights to a profit over sensible community planning, then we get what we ask for.

    Folks in Idaho foam at the mouth over “private property rights”, so it’s hard to have it both ways. If state law does not protect communities, then local ordinances must be established that have teeth and are enforceable. Can’t do that without a majority on the Commission.

    There is no way that Sharon Ullman will provide leadership in creating a new model for controlling development. As a Liberepublican, Sharon is more concerned about pinching pennies (not necessarily a bad thing) and less about establishing limitations on growth and development. Sharon is definitely not a shy woman, but she does not have the vision and temperament that we need now. Paul Woods is far more deserving of another term as Commissioner than is Sharon.

    I can’t believe Yzaguire was re-elected last time! Let’s keep Paul and trade “tax & borrow” Rick for David Langhorst.

    Sorry, but anti-incumbency is a one trick political pony. One size does not always fit all, so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water just because of a fit of righteous indignation (no matter how justified it may seem).

  15. Well, it might not be too bad, if we insist on truth in advertising.
    A sample ad might be:

    Brand new subdivision. Particle-board-and-staples houses, close to poop farm and prison.

    Wall-to-wall structures reduce yard care.
    Available in sizes so huge that you’ll never use all of the house, so you’ll never need to clean all of it.

    Access and water to be provided sometime in the future.

    Buy now, to beat the rush.

  16. Throw the Bums Out
    Sep 15, 2008, 8:11 am

    I like Gordon’s push for honesty in advertising, but think it faces tough going, particularly in the Kuna area. Just down the road from the piece of tripe in question is a subdivision called Denali Heights. Denali, you may recall is the native name for Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in north america.

    But, come to think of it, the name Denali Heights may not be so misleading. The pile of lies that is the Vista application surely rivals the largest of mountains.

  17. The Boise Picayune
    Sep 15, 2008, 8:26 am

    “Growth” needn’t be a bad word. It’s “Development” that disturbs me.

    Why must it always be all-or-nothing? McMansions and Ticky-Tacky Homes or nothing at all.

    Why can’t we have intelligent, sustainable, symbiotic “Growth” vis-a-vis incompetent and greedy “Development”.

    Is it because we are we so proud, ignorant, incompetent or apathetic as a community – that we apparently steadfastly refuse to co-opt proven solutions devised elsewhere?

  18. Clippityclop
    Sep 15, 2008, 10:52 am


    I disagree in your assessment of Sharon Ullman. Fiscal responsibility has everything to do with controlling growth as the chief criticism of these planned communities is their failure to pay for themselves and the subsequent burden they will place on the taxpaying public — this is the whole notion behind adequate public facilities and, ironically, Ordinance 621 which requires planned communities to pay for themselves. Despite this ordinance, the economic shortfalls in these PC applications are glossed over by the sitting AC Commissioners, including Paul Woods. The glossing over is done by encumbering a developer’s new entitlement with ‘Conditions of Approval.’ These ‘Conditions’ then beg the issue of enforcement, which is often woefully lacking due to time and effort. Don’t you think it makes far better sense to have a clean application in the first place?! If only the Commissioners would make this the standard, there’s no doubt in my mind that we would see worthy applications, a compliant development community and an unburdened taxpaying community.

    I’m sorry, but despite the talk, Paul Woods has fallen short. How has he distinguished himself in the past 2 years? He’s voted right along with Fred and Rick… I realize that it takes a majority on the Commission to affect change, but he doesn’t need another Commissioner holding has hand to do the right thing. I’m not so sure that the voting public should reward that lack of leadership and courage.

  19. Looking at the givens regarding new developments.
    1. Developers are going to still do what they do best- Plan and market houses.
    2. Most housing developments have poor planning when meshing with current neighborhoods/cities.
    3. Growthophobes think most housing development is bad. Reasons- Poor execution, drain on services and mild NIMBY attitudes.
    4. P&Z’s, cities and counties will continue to approve developments that meet current statutes and laws.

    Why not come up with some solutions to live with those givens. Creating antagonistic situations never helps your cause. Instead of always saying “No more”, work for compromises and concessions.

  20. Now that the Republicans have Communized their holy grail, the “free market economy” by bailing out the huge investment banks and soon the insurance industry with tax dollars, throw the gates open. It might even be a twin development to the eyesore growing west of Mountain Home.
    To heck with roads,and sidewalks, those folks will all have personal ATV’s.
    Editor, you forgot to mention the impact a development out there will have on all the “Idaho sportsman” who shoot at old refrigerators, TV’s and other garbage they drag out there. Where are we going to shoot now?

  21. Clippityclop
    Sep 15, 2008, 8:45 pm


    Rather than compromise, I’d just be happy if the developers met the conditions of Ordinance 621 and the Commissioners upheld the law. Is that so much to ask? Apparently so, and that’s why the current Commissioners need to go.

    And I agree with Dog — it ain’t a free market economy here in the reddest of red states when the government (and the taxpayers) bail out business. Frankly, I think this is the tip of the iceberg and things are going to get much worse. Bailouts won’t stave off a damn thing, and by entitling developments that don’t stand a chance at self-sufficiency, regardless of these ridiculous, poorly enforced ‘Conditions of Approval,’ the Commissioners are only making a bad problem worse.

    Just follow the law — that’s all I ask… no need to concede anything. In fact, amaze me, Commissioners, and show some stones and real leadership. I’m beginning to realize that with her keen understanding of County finance, Sharon will probably be the best man for the job. Define irony.

    Comments, Sharon?

  22. Clippityclop, I agree that fiscal accountability is an important component of government oversight, in any expenditure of tax money and application of public policy. I just don’t think that Sharon has a community oriented philosophy, or the ability to work with others and actually make progress, not just generate conflict (though I feel that she has an exaggerated bum rap in that regard). It’s just that we need more than a fiscal watchdog, we need leadership and a vision for what we want our communities to look like 20 and 50 years from now.

    As I said, I don’t know the details of this project, but will certainly find out more. And for Paul, I think he’s done quite a bit in two short years, especially with the Open Space Task Force and working towards improved detox and mental health services in the county. I may not agree with all of his votes, but I know from working with him that Paul is the kind of person I want looking out for me on the County Commission, and he certainly needs no hand holding,(except maybe from his wife and kids). Now, I’d take Sharon over Tillman, but not Paul.

    Indeed, conditional use exceptions to comp plans are a joke, with little or no follow up enforcement. And, unfortunately, that seems to be a major part of approvals from both the County and the City.

    Boise Picayune, I don’t think everyone is apathetic, but rather just overwhelmed. Civic life has taken a back seat to so many other pursuits, many of us are simply out of practice. It’s hard to keep all the fires on the radar at times, and easy to become discouraged and despondent. Lots of folks are active and engaged though, check out one of these county campaigns and you’ll meet some active, positive citizens.

    Clancy, you make some good points. I guess the drawback is that working for “compromises and concessions” can be viewed as weakness in leadership, as it’s usually not dramatic or sexy.

    Thank you all for your civil and interesting comments. Cheers!

  23. Brooklyn or Barbados?
    Put even more distance between Boiseangeles and one’s fed-up self–head for South America.

  24. Boise Whiskey Tango
    Sep 16, 2008, 11:10 am

    Sal, et al,

    With the curve of the Earth, I’m not certain South America IS further.

    Especially since Barbados sits in the Atlantic off of Venezuela.

    But, hey – Six of One, Half Dozen of The Other.

    What’s that? HP laying off more people? Micron telling tall tales? Rampant sprawl and rising crime?

    If you listen closely, you can hear the sucking sound…

  25. South America-bound escapees would however need to preview those areas there similar to what we have in Caldwell, Nampa, or wherever around here–lots of gang activity, drive-by shootings–before picking a spot.

  26. Besides, Brooklyn has no hurricanes and there is any, and I mean any, type food you desire 24/7.

  27. Boise Whiskey Tango
    Sep 17, 2008, 8:18 am

    Damn you Cyclops!

    Now I’m gonna have to get on the internet and order me some Junior’s Cheesecake and Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup (for Egg Creams).

    Maybe some knish too.

    And Canoli, and, and, and…

    ; )

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