Retired Educator Adresses Mayor, Councilors

Most of the following testimony was presented at last night’s Town Hall meeting, but with just a few seconds left to present, Mr. Neil Parker was cut off by Mayor Dave Bieter at the three minute time limit. The entire presentation is posted here as it seems to be an eloquent statement echoing the thoughts of many Boiseans.

    Guest Opinion

NW Boise resident,
retired educator

I would respectfully like the mayor and city council to know that not everyone feels a tinge of civic pride when they hear……over and over…..that Idaho is the fastest-growing state, and Boise is the fastest-growing city. Instead, they cringe because they know the reality of what this means.

It means increasingly crowded roads, schools, and parks. It means less open space and more urban sprawl. It means more forced annexation against the will of the majority of those affected.

It means higher taxes and fees…..a case in point being the average 37% increase in property taxes burdened upon those annexed, for which they see little or no benefit whatsoever.

It means having your view of the foothills blocked by multistory apartment buildings that virtually no one in the neighborhood wanted to be built.

It means the continued destruction of farmland and wildlife-supporting open spaces to make way for apartments, cookie-cutter tract housing, strip malls, and unsightly conglomerations of storage units.

Idaho’s explosive and mostly uncontrolled growth represents not just a physical assault on farmland and open spaces, but an assault on Idaho’s rural heritage and culture, which is the real heart and soul of our state.

In doublespeak reminiscent of Orwell’s Animal Farm, we are often dismayed to find that a decrease in quality of life due to runaway growth is often defined by our decision-makers as “progress.” If this is what progress looks like, we’d sure hate to see regression.

What we are seeing, however, regardless of what you wish to call it, are land developers, flush with cash from out-of-state investors, swooping down like vultures on every little open space they can find, making their owners offers that apparently few can refuse.

It seems that Ada County is on a cultural suicide mission to pave over all its remaining farmland, when few would object to the common sense suggestion that development occur instead in the vast tract of desert south of town.

We who don’t share in the notion that unbridled growth in our community is a good thing, feel we have little protection except for zoning laws…but are disheartened to note that developers are almost always handed the re-zones to higher density that they seek in order to maximize profits……..especially if there is insufficient public opposition.

Zoning laws exist partly to prevent inappropriate development that in effect, represents a taking from preexisting residents. It is a disservice to the people when their elected and their subsequently appointed officials fail time and again to uphold and enforce the existing zoning standards.

The message that I, and I’m sure many others, would like to send is that we want you and others who are publicly vested with the power to make land-use decisions, to do what is best for established residents who see the rural heritage and livability of their neighborhoods being sacrificed on the altar of profits for developers and tax revenue for the city.

Please, in the future, carefully consider the irreparable harm being proposed when you receive these requests for re-zones to higher density that are robbing our formerly-stable neighborhoods of the qualities that have made them such attractive places for many of us to live.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. A very eloquent statement indeed. I wonder if the cut-off wasn’t intentional because team Dave wants no opposition and he absolutely knows what’s best for Boise.

    This letter can be applied to all communities in both Ada and Canyon Counties. Every time I hear someone from out of state is coming here to look around and what we have to offer, I cringe because I know they are developers, builders, etc.

    Calls I have received in the last 6-months are as follows.

    What are the schools like?

    How many libraries do you have?

    There is a science grade observatory in Twin Falls does Boise or the surrounding area have one? Likewise, there are two planetariums that are outdated and not open to the public, why? This one was from someone who has the Griffith Observatory near them.

    Is there a culinary arts program in the Boise area?

    Is Idaho trying to kill its ag industry? They were having trouble finding a program to attend at U of I

    The first two calls are very typical.

  2. Brian Vermillion
    Apr 12, 2018, 5:38 pm

    Well the voters of Boise re-re-re-elected the little weasel. It should have been obvious that the little weasel is intent on establishing his little fiefdom and legacy on the backs of the Boise taxpayers.

  3. Urban sprawl and the fast-paced growth.
    I work, part-time but not for a minimum wage, but am also a full-time graduate student. I am seeking a masters in a STEM field. I also am a combat vet. I have (with the help of my ‘very good’ credit) been pre-approved for a home loan. The amount (which I don’t really want to say here) is a little less than I wanted, but what I felt was enough to get a single family starter home.

    But then I started looking. I am not asking for much. Two or three bedrooms, one maybe 1.5 baths. A yard so I can have a garden and my dog can run. Maybe a little garage to park my Harley. However, the amount that I was pre-approved for, only affords me either a dilapidated trailer, (which the VA home loan will not approve of) or a single-room condo (again, not an option). However, for the same amount, I can buy a nice newer home with 3 bedrooms, two full baths, garage and plenty of yard in Nampa.

    This is a problem. The homes that I see that even come close to my price range, and are even partially acceptable are only being sold for cash or being sold on auction typically to a person who does not intend to actually live in the home. These people are forcing people like me (educated single guys trying to start a life here in Boise) out to other cities. Which, in turn, makes me question why stop there? Why not move to another state? Why work in Boise if I cannot afford to live there, even on a wage that is not that bad? What is keeping the workforce here? The answer is really nothing. Sun Valley went through this. They pushed out all the working individuals from the city and prevented workers from having adequate access to livable (and tolerable) condition. Which that city is now starved for qualified workers.

    Boise needs to learn, or we are doomed to repeat that mistake. There is no reason I, or anyone else in a similar situation, should be forced to live in Canyon County, just because we are first time buyers. This market (and this city) is choking itself.

  4. LD,
    Let me see if I have this correct:

    You are a college student.
    You are not married.
    You work part-time.
    You are buying a house.

    And you are complaining about the Boise housing market?
    “Im being FORCED to live in 2C”

    Buying A HOUSE while working PART-TIME!!!!

    You’re cracking me up dude.

  5. Mr. Neil Parker did a great job of voicing MY feelings… at least until he got cut off (and based on the Guardian’s transcript). Is he a lifelong – or at least long-time – area resident? Because it chaps me a little when somebody who moved here in 2015 starts complaining about the unmitigated growth! (You shoulda seen what a nice place it was before the mall… and the connector… and the Pavilion. Back when Bronco Stadium was made out of wood!)

    Another “heritage” we enjoy in these parts is getting to do what we want, with our property. Sometimes that will come into conflict with our “rural heritage,” and people will end up disappointed. Far too often, it seems to be the “rural heritage” people who are on the losing end.

    Unfortunately, trying to rein in the uncontrolled growth comes at a cost – often to guys like LD. Supply and demand… when the supply of available houses is carefully regulated, the cost goes up for people who are demanding a place to live. (Where do all these people work, who are buying up the $400K-500K houses?!?)

    EDITOR NOTE–Where do they work? Many have sold their $100,000 homes in California for $2 million where it used to be nice open space with a rural character. They don’t need to work and often buy a house to live in and one for “income.”

  6. Growth can be controlled
    Apr 13, 2018, 7:02 pm

    First, I’m sorry the nice commentary at the event was cut short. The writer should have practiced the delivery and written for 3 minutes.

    Many thriving communities have implemented urban boundaries and though it was probably controversial it has worked. Housing is always most expensive in areas nearby the best jobs, in this town MU, city, state, other manufacturing. Maybe I’m not so sure what the best jobs are. . .but

    The council and the mayor can say no to growth. There is a comprehensive plan and there are zoning laws. Why does every application seem to entice the planners and the zoners to “haggle’ about what the rules are? Haggling about the vision? Haggling about the best place to . . . ? They are written down. Folllow them, they will work. Play good girl, good guy, have a fun experience demolishing our town, and aw heck, sorry residents. We just didn’t think they could afford to do the project well without waiving important protections. Plus, as planners and zoners it gives us a high to wheel and deal. Doing the job is not enough.


  7. Easterner,
    Go home. Seriously. You are obviously not from here, so why stay? Your personal attacks are not appreciated. In fact, your childish behavior is evidence that you are not competent enough to handle objective thought.
    Working part-time, which is not a problem when my income is enough to pre-qualify me for a home loan sufficient enough to buy a nice place (outside of Boise city limits).
    I have no reason to show you my financial standing. Point is, I work, I have money, I am not living on minimum wage, and I still do not make enough to buy even a basic single family home.
    Learn to think outside of the box there Easterner. And, do us all a favor and go back home. People like you are the problem.

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