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.
By NEIL PARKER
NW Boise resident,
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.
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