City Government

Foothills Space To Be Filled

Dorey writes of the Tuesday approval by Boise City Council to override the Planning Commission and approve a 70 home development in the foothills, less than a month after the levy election to provide “open space” was approved by voters.

By Michale Dorey

Our “at large” City Council” in Boise made an incredible reversal of its own P&Z commission as a finale to events that have unfolded. Here is my take on what happened.

In the City Council chambers, the large monitors have a screen saver which is a telephoto image of the Boise skyline against a seemingly endless open foothills backdrop. This week the City Council took yet another step toward filling that central foothills landscape with densely packed housing by approving, against a mountain of contrary evidence, an ill conceived, and hazardous development. This one has 70 homes.

The developer, appealing to the City Council, the P&Z unanimous denial of that development, did not present facts to support the development so much as market the project with half-truths and spin which was revealed in further testimony. In a stunning rebuke to to the City’s own Planning and Zoning Commission, and going against historical rulings by this same body, the documented mistakes of law and the advice of two of the City’s own Neighborhood Associations, and credible testimony given by dozens of residents, the council turned a deaf ear and approved the development in what appeared to be a foregone conclusion.

The meeting was an appeal by the developer, of a denial of his development, so the onus should have been on him to prove it’s value. Instead, citizens of Boise were treated as if it were up to them to re-prove their case. In fact nothing they said could have made any difference. The City Council scapegoated their own P&Z Commissioners by attempting to blame them for not adding “findings” to their decision.

Although 1600 pages of documents and testimony demonstrated clear evidence of findings as did the P&Z commission’s oral conclusions which were part of the record. Scores of residents turned out to support the P&Z’s unanimous decision to deny the development and after 5 hours of testimony the rationale of the City Council for opposing it’s own P&Z commission boiled down to. “Sorry, we can’t do anything because its zoned already”.

They summarily ignored almost all the opposing testimony and concluded with a shocking level of condescension and caviler behavior. As each member voted for the development they actually listed the reasons why it shouldn’t occur. Also two commissioners essentially said that they had to put up with growth in their areas so the the foothills residents also must. The appointed commission, the record, and the residents were not heard by the council.

The large crowd of people left disillusioned with the rhetoric of “community involvement in the livable city” and were further alienated by the people they elected. The conclusion from this strikingly one-sided public process is that ordinary citizens, residents, taxpayers of Boise have absolutely no say in the future of their neighborhoods when it comes to the steam roller of development And if the City Council has any authority at all, they are seemingly afraid to use it.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Now That's Funny
    Dec 3, 2015, 9:38 pm

    OMG You north end liberals are stupid. You were told over and over again that Bieter is about developers and not you. You still watch the regular network news. Next election you’ll vote liberal again. Not an gram of pity for you.

  2. It’s all about making money. When they destroy this place, they’ll just move on to their next victim, and leave behind the overbuilt, crime infested mess they created.

  3. Bieter begone
    Dec 4, 2015, 10:29 am

    Wow. You people moved to a street with no sidewalks and now complain there are no sidewalks. The farther up the hill you guys live affects everyone below you, but no one should be allowed to affect you.

    You complain about the mayor and council, but there was just an election. I bet most of you voted for Bieter et al. So expecting change was futile if you weren’t willing to change your vote.

    You whine the council should have ignored the law to your benefit, but I’m sure you want the law abided by when it comes to you.

    For future reference, the Council has the final say. P&Z decisions can always be appealed. If you’re so sure of the “facts” in your whine, you guys can always appeal to the courts.

  4. Bill Goodnight
    Dec 4, 2015, 11:40 am

    Anyone would be out of his/her mind to thanklessly serve on the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission.

    Objective non-political volunteers obviously don’t have a clue what is good and proper for Boise and it’s citizens.

    First Jefferson Street and now the foothills. The only meaningful action remaining for the current members of the Commission is a universal resignation.

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    Dec 5, 2015, 5:47 pm

    Yes, there was an election recently. Was the Mayor’s opponent a reasonable alternative? Not even close.

    City politicians are supposedly “non-partisan”. Bieter, et al are generally thought of as Democrats. The commenters above are all over them for being too tight with developers. Imagine this city with Republican leadership. They would be erecting slums on top of slums. It would be downright Dickensian.

  6. Steve Rinehart
    Dec 5, 2015, 6:32 pm

    Bieter only votes on a tie. That said, his planning staff appears to have been “captured” by developers. Nobody who watched the city council in action (or, inaction) Tuesday night could have been surprised by the vote. Yes, there was just an election; did you check out the competition? Elections are about the choices you get, not the choices you want.

  7. Now you know how the rest of us in other areas of Boise have felt for years. ALL the data showed that adding traffic and the danger to walkers and runners. Elaine Clegg worked for the developer who built the Crescent Rim Condos – and still was able to vote even with the conflict.

    Did ANY of the data make a difference – NO. In Boise it does not matter what your neighborhood association thinks or wants. In fact the only reason you have an association is so the city can say that you have a voice and ignore it.

    Since the vast majority of you in the north end voted for these folks you get what you voted for….more and more taxes and more and more homes and more traffic.

    If you think the new homes in area are detrimental just wait until your good mayor tries to increase your sales taxes inside Boise – that is what a local option tax really is. That way he can spend even more money – your money.

    Again – you get what you voted for.

  8. The soil up in the foothills is very sandy and very little holding it in place. I can see houses washing down the hills. Good idea but the wrong place to build.

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