City Government

Citywide Conservation Areas, Not Just Foothills

There are rumblings among the Greenies about another Foothills Levy and the Daily Paper
is soliciting comments from readers on the potential serial levy–a two year only tax increase. The money from the levy of 10 years ago is mostly gone.

The previous levy was full of illegal and dishonest acts. Former Mayor Brent Coles starred in a video financed by $50,000 in tax money to promote the levy. Staff worked on city time and used city resources to advocate on behalf of the levy. A “victory party” for the so-called Friends of the Foothills was celebrated at the Depot and they never paid for the private function.

Also, the ballot question was written by the committee advocating the measure and was not approved by the council prior to printing as required by law. All in all it was a pretty disgusting display on the part of City government. We deserve better this time around and we note NONE of the current councilors or mayor was part of the original levy campaign.

That said, the people went to the polls and approved the levy and the $10 million raised has for the most part gone to preserve the Foothills from over development. The latest and greatest expense was the acquisition of the Hammer Flats wildlife area above Lucky Peak Dam.

This time around the GUARDIAN can easily get onboard if the conservation minded members of the community push for citywide CONSERVATION EASEMENTS and not limit their attention to the Foothills.

Boise Council GROWTHOPHILES over the years have annexed hundreds upon hundreds of acres of land in southwest Boise into the city limits. It is time to take an inventory of those lands to identify existing wetlands, wildlife habitat and high desert flora that could use some protection. This should include gravel pits, ditch banks, riparian areas along the river and various streams and even natural desert.

In the Vista neighborhood alone we see fox, raccoon, deer along the tracks, myriad birds, and plenty of open spaces that need protection. Joni Mitchell’s song “They Paved Paradise” says it all:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Judy Peavey-Derr
    Mar 24, 2010, 11:28 am

    It would be nice if the City would connect the dots. There was a study and an inventory done about 3 years ago regarding open space and trails in all of Ada County. Why don’t we planned “connect the dots” effort to utilize what the cities and the county already control thru conservation easements, tax deed, levy acquistion, etc. In that way we, the public, could begin to use what we currently are entitled to enjoy vs. spending more money which none of us have….citizens or government… to buy more.

  2. Noble cause, terrible timing. The last thing our already beaten down taxpayers need right now is an additional cost burden. Stay involved, keep planning for the future, but don’t push your luck and alienate the tax base in today’s economic climate. That’s my two cents. Free of charge!!

  3. Better get the critters out of your yard while the law still allows… in Seattle they’ll make you move if a fox moves in under the house.

  4. I agree with the G-man, but I do think the Hammer Flats aquisition was a good idea. How about developers paying for wildlife easements? Acre for acre paved over. Also ACHD should set aside land for nature when they widen and pave.
    Wow, did I just say that stuff? I must be a liberal/socalist/progressive /commie/pinko/ enviro/ satanist North End nature wimp for suggesting such an idea.

  5. Hey “dog” that is a great idea. And if you (an individual) go out in the County and buy some acreage and build a house on it, should we also require you to pay for an equivalent area of wildlife easement? No…that probably doesn’t seem fair does it? Careful what you wish for – what’s good for the goose…

  6. Clippityclop
    Mar 25, 2010, 4:49 pm

    I propose a County-wide, voluntary tax-deductible fund for foothills acquisition that the citizenry could chose to convert to a levy, by voting.

  7. Grumpy ole guy
    Mar 25, 2010, 5:21 pm

    I could easily get off of my grumpy stump and get behind a levy extension or renewal or whatever. I think one of the winning features of the earlier one (for which I voted) was that it was for a limited time, although I remember thinking that a three year one made more sense at that time, don’t remember why, though. And, I really, really like preserving ALL of the forms of natural area we have, that is, after all, one of the greatest things about this area, its diversity. Although, to keep my grumpy credential up-to-date, the F-35s wing would be a big part of an unnatural environment. Since the foothills are outside of Boise, but within the area of impact, I would hope that the area of impact could be the range of any new or additional effort. When visiting in New York City, I was startled to see that the Cloisters garden has a patch of space about 4 x 10 feet devoted to neatly maintained rows of weeds, including one of dandelions. I hope that Boise kids and adults never have to see a “tended display” of anything so natural to the environment.

    BTW – GREAT Photos.

  8. Foothills Fan
    Mar 25, 2010, 9:46 pm

    The Guardian is right that the City’s promotion of the Levy vote was illegal. They shouldn’t have done it. However, local voters saw through the same tactics on the way to denying two convention center votes and any number of school levy votes. In the case of the Foothills Levy, the voters finally saw something they liked, subterfuge and all, and passed it by a substantial margin.

    There is never a good time to raise taxes. However, and it certainly wasn’t as bad as this one, but it is worth remembering that the original Foothills levy was passed during the recession of 2001 -2002.

    On the legacy media’s online story of the purchase of Hammer Flat, the comments were about 10 to 1 in favor of the result. I would vote for another one in a heartbeat. Bring it on.

    EDITOR NOTE–The convention center votes were AFTER the Foothills levy.

  9. Blazing Saddle
    Mar 26, 2010, 6:28 am

    Seems to me that you can tell the value of some things by the lengths people will go to look like they were on the right side We’ve even got ol Judy talking of the city’s need to connect the dots. I seem to remember that she was part of the commission that declined to adopt the Foothills Policy Plan, and voted for both Avimor and The Cliffs, thus throwing into disarray the people’s desire to connect Boise’s “dots” to the foothills. But, hell, i suppose we all make mistakes. Maybe she is born again. If she is willing to change her spots, I nominate her to head the next Foothills Levy Promotion campaign.

  10. Dean Gunderson
    Mar 26, 2010, 4:42 pm

    Blazing Saddle,

    Avimore isn’t in the portion of the foothills Boise City identified in its Foothills Policy Plan. That is, even if the County would have adopted the Plan, there isn’t anything in the document that would have stopped Avimore.

    One of the concerns I had when I work for the County regarding the Foothills Plan was the odd way the foothills were carved up. The Plan excludes foothills west of SH 55, and Ada County foothills north of Shadow Valley Gold Course. Nor does the Plan include any foothills south and east of the Boise River. You can see this for yourself in Figure 1-1 of the Foothills Policy Plan (page 3).

    The Plan wouldn’t have prohibited development on Hammer Flats either — though it would have increased the amount of acreage being “preserved” from 315 acres to 473 acres, it would not have required the developer to remove any invasive plant species, let alone require him to restore any wildlife habitat.

    One of the more pressing concerns regarding habitat restoration on Hammer Flats is the area’s lack of water. This is one of the reasons deer migrate from Hammer Flat, down to lower elevations to cross Warm Springs Avenue to get to the Boise River. As part of the habitat restoration plan for The Cliffs, the County ensured that native plant species forage, and a permanent source of water, would be provided on the 315 acres that were to be permanently preserved.

    Skyline Development also obligated itself to a perpetual 1% transfer fee on all parcel sales at The Cliffs; which would initially go towards habitat restoration on Hammer Flat — and once the habitat there was restored, the proceeds of the fund would have been spent on habitat restoration projects and easement acquisition or fee simple ownership of Open Space throughout the region.

    I voted for the levy the first time it came up for vote, and I would vote for an extension. But, I would like the public planning community to leverage the meager public purse by engaging private land owners in its bid to restore and preserve wildlife habitat.

  11. Blazing Saddle
    Mar 26, 2010, 8:39 pm

    I rest my case.

    Now all we need is Armstrong, Pechennino, Cook and Wall to come crawling out of their coffins, like a bunch of un-dead environmental destruction vampires. Walking around with their arms out, proclaiming in monotones, “The best way to save the foothills is to destroy the foothills. The Cliffs was environmentally sound. It was. It was. . . . . ”

    I’m leaving, before someone starts believing this tripe.

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