Boise Land Deal Probably Illegal

UPDATED 9/22/08
Looks like Boise City officials are playing fast and loose with the law. Public hearings and legal notices are required with details of proposed sales and exchanges of land to trade Citizen owned parcels at 25th and Fairview for a police shooting range..

The city followed the rules FOUR YEARS AGO! IT wasn’t even the same council that passed the declaration of excess property and the resolution of four years ago made NO MENTION of the current deal which was to have been closed Monday September 22. Here is the law the city knowingly and blatantly violated:

“50-1402. DECLARATION OF VALUE OF PROPERTY. Whenever the city council
proposes to convey, exchange or offer for sale any real property, it shall
first declare the value or minimum price, if any, it intends to receive as a
result of such conveyance or exchange. The city council may contract for or
provide that the property be appraised under such terms and conditions as may
be deemed appropriate by the city council. The declaration, either in the form
of a minimum dollar value, or an explanation of an intended exchange or
conveyance for other than monetary consideration shall be made on the record
at a public meeting of the council. The city council may also declare that the
subject property will be offered for sale without establishing a minimum

Following a declaration of intent to sell or exchange real property, the
clerk of the city shall publish a summary of the action taken by the city
council in the official newspaper of the city and provide notice of a public
hearing before the city council. Notice of the public hearing concerning the
proposed exchange or conveyance shall be published in the official newspaper
of the city at least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of the hearing.”

The City violated the law by hiding the details of the exchange until it was a “done deal” and they relied on a 4 year old resolution as authority to conduct their secret deal which they kept under wraps, never discussing it in public and burying the details in a “consent agenda” along with 15 other items.

The deal was illegal, plain and simple.

The GUARDIAN did a little checking on the land Boise City will acquire for a police shooting range in the foothills in exchange for the parcels owned by the citizens of Boise at 25th and Fairview.

While the City will acquire land behind Ft. Boise and the Veteran’s Administration, the people who own it are NOT the group of Docs who want to build the private hospital…it is owned by the Boise Police Association. Seems the deal should be with the Association, not a third party that doesn’t even own the property.

A Third parcel at 950 Citation off Gowen Road is part of the deal to apparently make up the difference between the value of the shooting range land and the 25th and Fairview City land. The docs don’t own that either. Someone out of New York owns that property and there seems to be no justification for the city to acquire it other than future land speculation.

This deal would be a lot cleaner if the City simply did their deal direct with the Police Association and made up the difference–either way–with cash.

Here is a link to the FULL AGREEMENT.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Guardian, can you provide some more details on this crazy scheme? Links to Council agenda/minutes, how the vote went, links to Ada County property tax roles for the properties involved, etc. I would love to contact my local councilors to express dissatisfaction with this vote and that I’ll be closely evaluating their competition in November. By the way, what happened to have candidate spot lights? I’ve only seen one so far. Thanks, and keep up the good work, BrianC.

    EDITOR NOTE–Brian, there is no city council election this year. The vote was unanimous on the “consent agenda” just lumped in with a bunch of other stuff. I got my information from the Ada County Assessor site. You can access both from the link list at right on this page. City of Boise and Ada County

  2. This issue must have been decided during the “pre-meeting” meeting that Bisterfelt and Tibbs aren’t invited to. Oh,wait! Would that be a violation of the opem meeting law? I mean that’s where the city’s business seems to be decided! Nah! I guess not!
    It would be too easy to say “ya’ll voted for these jerks, so now you can live with them”! yes, that would be too easy! So, for the 20 some odd thousand of you that voted for these jamokes, see the previous sentence. For the rest of you, you may just want to get a little more involved in your community’s political scene. The 4 you seemed to want to return to power are currently dealing in half truths, back room deals and such that will sell our city down the drain! Forewarned is forearmed! The really scary thing is that they really aren’t very good at hiding their actions! I guess they must feel that we don’t care what they do. Maybe we don’t!

  3. Whoa nellies! You guys need to put this in perspective. On one hand, I agree, the City would do well to make dang sure their dealings are above board.

    The fact remains, however, the Fairview/Main Corridor is an embarrassment. It’s a run-down eyesore. It is not bringing in the tax revenue it should and could.

    It is necessary and good in the long run, that block sized parcels of land in the Fairview/Main Corridor be reassembled from the small and virtually useless parcels that exist today.

    For just once, could we look past the end of our noses and try some long term planning?

    Legal technicalities aside, I don’t see how we have lost anything in this deal. And yes, I read thru Ada Property records. All 3 of the involved properties are very difficult to value. They all have to be done via the income method, and what income are they currently bringing in? A big goose egg!

    EDITOR NOTE–This isn’t just a legal “technicality.” It is about honest open government and not insider trades conducted in secret meetings (executive session). NO one was made aware of the terms of the deal and there was no public discussion. The deal would never have been consummated if REAL money were demanded. This is far from a “free market” transaction.

  4. So, Cynic, it is OK with you that the mayor and 4 mmembers of the council “trade” a piece of property for two other pieces of property that the people trading the properties to the city don’t own? Just how do the negotiations take place?
    “OK, you buy the shooting range because we really shouldn’t! Then we will trade you for the property we, I mean, the city owns at 25th. and Fairview for your hospital. Never mind that you haven’t guaranteed there will BE an actual hospital there. We’re OK with that! And we will throw in a piece of property out by the Outlet mall, that we don’t own either. We will work out the details later. So, do we have a deal?”
    This whole scenario just plain stinks to high heaven!

  5. The Boise Picayune
    Sep 23, 2008, 12:51 pm

    Considering that the 25th & Fairview Area – from the existing “Westside District” to the old Bob Rice Ford Dealership – is soon to come under the jurisdiction of our beloved CCDC (new District Name unknown), I think it’s a good guess that their “Quasi Governmental Nature” will be invoked as the cover and plausible deniability for a wide variety of shenanigans (Choo – Choooooooooooooooooo…!) involving this area.

  6. Is this true? Has the CCDC had their area of impact expanded? By what authority? was there public input?

    EDITOR NOTE– CCDC has not yet expanded, but Team Dave is eager to get the rest of the Valley off the revenue stream that funds city services.

  7. This is the kind of blood and guts reporting that I like from the Guardian.

  8. The Boise Picayune
    Sep 23, 2008, 9:06 pm

    Yes, the CCDC plans to take over this area as part of the “30th Street Plan” with the tacit – if not overt – support of the Mayor and City Council.

    “Boise’s urban renewal agency took a first step toward publicly supported revitalization of the city’s 30th Street neighborhood, which spans west of downtown from State Street to the Boise River, by declaring it eligible for urban renewal at a meeting last week.

    The Boise City Council plans to decide next month whether or not it will agree with the Capital City Development Corp.’s decision and to initiate planning to create an urban renewal district, which would allow CCDC to pay for infrastructure improvements and help finance development in the district with the tax revenues generated by rising property values.”

    The full article is available @

  9. “…off the revenue stream that funds city services.”

    What about the revenue stream produced by west downtown properties that funds city services just about everywhere else EXCEPT west downtown?

    For example,

    ACHD: East Parkcenter Bridge, Maple Grove widening, Ustick widening, all done before the 30th extension which was first proposed 40 years ago.

    Boise City: It’s likely the Marianne Williams Park at Harris Ranch will be developed before the Esther Simplot Park.

    This all goes back to the Broadway/Chinden connector which put the nail in Fairview/Main coffin. Ideally, since this was an ITD job, the State of Idaho should cough up some money for redevelopment of west downtown.

    Since that will never happen, a new URD is the only way to go. If it means sunsetting the central downtown URD, then I could agree to that.

  10. I continue to be amazed at the blatant contradiction put forth by our “esteemed leaders.”

    Namely that, one, Boise is a tremendous place to move to, start a business, etc. And, second, that businesses need to be subsidized through things like tax increment financing if we are ever to get the sort of development we want.

    Those two concepts cannot simultaneously be true.

    If Boise is such a great place to be, businesses should not have to be subsidized to move here. In fact, they should be willing to pay extra for the opportunity. Conversely, if we are convinced that we have to subsidize them to move and invest here, it must be because our leaders feel there is something inherently less desirable about the Boise Market.

  11. Cynic, if the city is willing to MOVE the CCDC from downtown,(turning over all that income to the public tax roles) And then starting the proposed UDC in the west end development area, I would be all for that! Unfortunately, you and I know that will never happen!

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