Boise City Opens Investigation Of CWI

Yellow streets are public, red are private, green is parking.

Boise’s Planning and Development Services has opened an investigation of the College of Western Idaho after it was brought to their attention the community college has potentially violated a conditional use permit at its “Ada County Campus” on the corner of Maple Grove and Overland.

At issue is the number of students enrolled at the leased facility in Black Eagle Business Park apparently exceeds the permit limits by nearly six times, creating traffic and parking issues.

The GUARDIAN has confirmed the conditional use permit (CUP) approved by Boise City Councilors allows approximately 420 students in a single leased building at the business park. Faced with rapid enrollment increases, CWI has registered nearly 2,400 students with others auditing courses at the permitted facility and four other buildings. It is unclear if the other four buildings had any use restrictions or if the number of students is somehow dispersed in a manner that will not violate the CUP.

Obviously the requirement for five bicycle parking spots didn’t contemplate 2,400 students.

CUP09-00014 was issued in 2009 and one of the conditions clearly states, “The proposed use shall be conducted entirely within the existing structure and the interior courtyard.”

Currently CWI leases FIVE buildings, but we were unable to find any other permits or amendments approved by Boise officials which would allow for the additional demands on traffic, parking, and other infrastructure.

Boise officials aren’t prone to patrolling the city looking for code violations. The enforcement policy is “complaint driven.” Land lords certainly don’t want to lose tenants, tenants don’t want to move out, so the process of obtaining permission and permits is sometimes meaningless.

When the GUARDIAN inquired of both Boise City and CWI, staffers at each government agency said they were unaware of any problems and had not received any formal complaints. Based on the data we offered, the city officials decided to launch their investigation to determine if there were violations, how they might be addressed, and what future action may be needed.

CWI logically would need to seek permission of voters to build facilities and go into debt–just like the West Ada School District is doing to seek approval to sell bonds for new schools. Instead, they are leasing many facilities from private owners without regard to use, occupancy numbers, or parking issues.


Comments & Discussion

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  1. Grumpy ole Guy
    Mar 4, 2015, 9:44 pm

    Wonder who complained, and if said complaint had/has any validity?

    Really appears to be a case of rock and hard place. Where does the money for leasing come from, vs how to raise the bucks for more permanent location.

    Flexibility of location to population demand, vs permanency of an established, and perhaps size limited facility.

    EDITOR NOTE–The reader seemed concerned with the parking–or lack of same as well as traffic ingress/egress.

  2. I’ve been to that campus. There is parking available, if one is willing to drive behind the building. It seems to me that the complaint came from a person who wants special privileges of parking front row every time they come to school.
    Tell the little cry baby concerned reader to try going to BSU, where trying to find a parking spot within a quarter mile of where you want is like finding an honest politician… it just doesn’t happen.

  3. Grumpy ole Guy
    Mar 5, 2015, 10:05 pm

    L,D. raises a good point, the 420 parking space limit does not specify during what hour(s) or the limit of time. So, if a student is taking say, two classes, with an hour between them, that student probably parks for 3 and 1/2 hours at a time, 3 days a week. Another student may only take one class and be there for an hour and 20 minutes, total time, again, not every day. So the 420 spaces could accommodate more cars than that number, especially if there are evening classes offered at that location. Since there is no library or administrative services offered there, but this is a classroom only location, there is little reason for students be there during non class hours. The “problem” remains; but the topic may be more complex than it appears on the surface.

    EDITOR NOTE–For clarification. The permit limit of 420 was PEOPLE–not cars– enrolled at the facility which planners said was about the same as the previous occupant–MICRON. While 2400 people are ENROLLED at the facility, CWI folks tell us that number is not ever on the campus at one time. The investigation by Boise Development Services should either clarify the rules, allow changes, or suggest sanctions for non-compliance.

  4. And let’s not forget Brown Mackie College is located in the same complex. It’s the building on the NW corner of Overland and Maple Grove just east of the “additional CWI parking”.

    Maybe it’s time to check out Brown Mackie also to see if they are on the up and up as far as permits and use go.

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 6, 2015, 1:08 pm

    Why did CWI have to get a Conditional Use Permit if they are just renting space in existing buildings? That parking issue should have been settled during the building permit process when the buildings were built by the property owner.

    But then, we all know that Boise City has a well documented history of allowing construction without adequate parking (Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and those 2 monster size apartment builings near BSU).

  6. RE the City of Boise complaint driven zoning enforcement…
    They have allowed themselves to be used as a weapon against folks who have hostile nieghbors. It seems they like the extra work to keep their zoning officers busy.
    They also don’t go after home based businesses because it is too much trouble. We have a full blown automotive repair shop going next door for the 4th year in a residential neighborhood, with multiple workers yelling across to each other over their howling air compressor, and Boise Zoning won’t do anything because it is too difficult.

    EDITOR NOTE–Current policy is a recipe for major neighborhood confrontations. They force people to file a complaint by name to get code enforcement to respond. However, you can call crime stoppers, the graffiti line, suicide prevention, drunk driver reports,or drug
    hotlines anonymously. Often as not a simple visit from code enforcement asking the offender to “tone it down” will take care of the problem.

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