City Government

Boise Defers To Developer Wishes Yet Again

The politicos at Boise City Hall are at it again, placing their loyalties with the developer community rather than the taxpayer-citizens. They have given the California developer, Local Construct, an extra four years to complete a deal they have so far failed to live up to.

Not much has changed at 2900 Fairview since this photo was made 12 years ago.


After an illegal attempt in 2003 to build a police station on the vacant land at 2900 Fairview without voter approval, Boise officials have been seeking ways to increase population density in the area. Judge Cheri Copsey stopped the police station deal in 4th District Court and the city has been using the land like an automobile title loan even since. Click for a PREVIOUS ROUND UP.

The former car dealership is the on again off again location for a “field of dreams” baseball park. To be clear: the dream is not baseball, but rather private housing development.

After acquiring the land, Boise’s Team Dave found it to be a white elephant and entered into a land swap deal with their California Developer buddies to acquire the so-called Spaulding Ranch on Cole Road in exchange for the Fairview property. The IDAHO PRESS has details of that plan and why the city decided Tuesday to offer the extension. Basically the trade was not really “apples and apples,” so the city required some improvements and construction which doesn’t look possible. State law allows trades, but they are supposed to be parcels of equal value. The clean, transparent method would have been to declare the Fairview land “surplus property” and sold it to the highest bidder.

We find it very disheartening to know how Boise officials acquire land, lease it and trade it, all in efforts to avoid public auction or citizen approval of debt. The current library plan has plenty of those types of deals involved.

Comments & Discussion

7 comments for “Boise Defers To Developer Wishes Yet Again”

  1. David Klinger
    Nov 28, 2018, 4:12 pm

    Dave, could you possibly educate me (and others) a bit about Boise and its real estate swapping? In every other city in which I’ve ever lived, city government tended to focus on the day-to-day, mundane, “unsexy” aspects of municipal government — fixing the street lamps and the potholes, making sure the police department ran smoothly, running the water department, keeping the parks clean, and, yes, occasionally buying or selling a patch of land for a new school or a municipal hospital wing. Average, regular stuff. The City of Boise seems to be deeply and obsessively involved in frenetic real estate horse-trading, to a degree rivaling the daily sales of a “ReMax” franchise. Large, complicated land swaps and deal-making to an extent I’ve never seen in other, similar-sized cities. When did Boise stop being a city government and jump headlong into the real estate game, which I thought was supposed to be the exclusive province of the private sector. A little history lesson, please, for any of us unused to living in a town that’s running a land office out its backdoor like the Oklahoma land grab. (And should we start donning gold “Century 21” blazers any time we do business at City Hall?)

    EDITOR NOTE–You are spot on with your comments! It probably started out with 1970s Urban Renewal and evolved into elected officials telling each other they needed “a vision.” One group wanted a downtown mall and another did not.

    The result was an impasse that left the vacant downtown core looking like a “war zone.” Kempthorne and Coles were both younger mayors with an eye toward “running government like a business.” That created a period of executive car allowances, severance bonuses, phony business travel, credit card (P-card) abuse—all rather mundane and accepted in corporate life, but unacceptable with citizen’s money.

    Bieter came in on an “ethics” platform, but he too has succumbed to the lure of having a vision and being able to build, grow, and “get things done.” Trouble is, he avoids bond elections and has spent $$$ on PR efforts and surveys to buttress his personal desires such as INCREASED DENSITY, GROWTH, A TROLLEY, F-35 JETS, KILLING ACHD, INDUSTRIAL PARK, ASSORTED ENERGY DREAMS. Citizens tend to get in his way, so he manipulates the media and stages highly managed workshop seminars aimed at supporting his plans.

  2. I often wonder what occupies the mind of the Treasure Valley’s Mayors and the population density desire that cannot be quenched.

    When you try to solve this mystery they send you to the department of Smears, Spins, Lies and Distortions. You’ll never get a real straight answer to the question of why that new development is necessary, but they will change law when they are questioned. I am looking at you dry creek.

  3. Is it a hazmat site?
    Nov 28, 2018, 6:49 pm

    Typically anything that used to be automotive, trucking, railroad, gas station, military, etc….. typically it’s a hazmat site. Mountain Home AFB is. I bet Gowen AFB is too if they dare test it. Local governments sometimes ‘unknowingly’ buy such undiscovered hazmat sites from their friends/donors to relieve them of cleanup costs. What is the hazmat status of the subject pictured land? Up until about 1980 even the government dumped waste oil on the ground or on roads. So I bet this is not just a hunch.

    Not related but someone mentioned the police department. Several times now I’ve noticed nearly identical stories in local media. As if a press release is being rebroadcast like an advertisement. Local Police/Fire/Emt are aiming to raid the overflowing Idaho persi with the new definitions of on the job injury/ptsd etc. Kiss your persi byebye if they get all they want. Yes, Ada and Boise governments will give them anything they want.

  4. Eamonn Harter
    Nov 30, 2018, 4:13 pm

    Mayor Bieter and members of the City Council need to start wearing clothing with their corporate/developer sponsor’s names emblazoned on it, just like in Nascar or Idiocracy. And they should introduce themselves with their campaign donors’ names, for example: “Hi, I’m Mayor Dave Bieter of Boise, brought to you by Brighton Corporation.”

  5. My family and I returned to Boise in 1970 after years of living in the Midwest. We were able to purchase a two-story four-bedroom house on 1/3 acre just off Mountain View for $30,000.00.

    Life was good: no traffic jams or worries about the kids walking or riding their bikes to school. Within fifteen years, Boise had changed to growth, growth and more growth. Initially, the downtown area was just fine. We could shop at Sears, The Bon Marche, Carole’s and various other stores in addition to movies at the Egyptian Theatre. Before you know it, the ‘big-wigs’ were talking about the necessity of a Mall — how we couldn’t survive without a Mall. As everything now stands, I would move from here in a minute, except age eighty isn’t the best time to make big moves.

    Now, in Northwest Boise, we’ve been annexed by the City and my property tax bill for a little place almost sent me into a panic attack last week — but I can’t afford to rent even a small apartment while living on Social Security and a State Pension along with reduced savings after putting my children through college.

    The lesson here: PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR MAYOR DAVID BIETER AGAIN NEXT YEAR! Let’s have someone who understands the meaning of the word ‘frugal’ with some ‘honesty’ thrown in there too…

  6. Can't fix stupid
    Dec 2, 2018, 10:57 am

    Navillus, sorry to say but it’s too late.

    Idiots voted the two uber tax-n-spend liberals onto the Ada County Commission this year. Both openly talking about all the bullshit spending they will do. Yet our super stupid neighbors still voted them into power. Same idiots voted for Obama and now wonder why without health insurance. They’re both spawn of Bieter so it’s too late. We are doomed to higher taxes.

    Can’t fix stupid.

  7. Yossarian_22
    Dec 2, 2018, 3:11 pm

    This is a religion of growth and control. I’ve seen what happened to Portland and San Francisco and I don’t want human feces and needles strewn all over the place. Density breeds crime, despair and poverty and a total degradation of life. But propaganda media systems continue to push this crap. Bought off lamestream media is truly the “enemy of the people.”

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