City Government

Growth Still Raises Its Ugly Head

More than 15 years ago the GUARDIAN coined the term “growthophobe” in an attempt to wake up folks about the cancer spreading throughout the valley.

As the property assessments which are used as the basis for our taxes are being prepared and the Assessor is warning of “sticker shock” we offer a rerun of an early post which could have been written today.

The CBS Sunday Morning show featured Boise’s outrageous real estate market May 23. One owner was paid $65,000 more than the asking price for a Boise home. A newly arrived Californian dismissively noted “locals” say they can’t afford to live here anymore.

Growing Numbers of Growthophobes
April 26, 2006

We are noticing more and more people coming to their senses and opposing insane growth which manifests itself in flood threats, infill arguments, annexation hassles, inflated housing prices, traffic, and a host of other offensive habits.

Latest growthophobe to go public is Sarah Wiltz, president of the Sunset neighborhood association. She sees growth as a threat to the character of the neighborhood west of 30th and north of State St. Wiltz has cause to worry.
Farm sale sign.jpg

Wednesday we saw a number of signs at dairy farms proclaiming DEVELOPMENT POTENTIAL and they didn’t mean agriculture.

We talked to a farmer prepping a field of the nicest soil you would ever want to drop a seed into. He shook his head sadly and said, “It’s all over for us. We’re done here.”

His plan is to sell out to the developers, take the money and build a new farm life across the Snake River in Oregon where there is less pressure to build houses–at least for now.

There are currently plans afoot to populate the Foothills all the way from Middleton to Lucky Peak. All tolled there are probably 15 developments either in the works or soon to be filed. Some will eat up as much as 30,000 acres.

“Team Dave” leader Dave Bieter is pushing to populate the south hills with another round of development. We see little hope of preserving any semblance of what “Boise used to be” without a united effort like the one Wiltz is pushing. She wants a moratorium on building in the foothills. It is not likely to happen, but if you love your kids, breathable air, and a view of something other than neighbors, better wake up.

Growthophobia is a contagious disease characterized by an intense longing for life as it used to be, should be, and CAN be if we unite to fight the insurgents who are ruining a great state full of mostly fine people.

2021 Note: Nampa and Caldwell have recently considered or put temporary halts on new construction, Avimor has approval for expansion into Boise County, taxes are increasing, traffic is toxic, and local governments are STILL offering “incentives” for new businesses and developments. Meanwhile, Boise officials have been convinced the secret to success is to jam as many people and residential units as possible into city spaces.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. The current situation does create great anxiety. The increase in tax dollars is breaking people. There is not a related increase in service from the municipalities, they claim they have no money or fund jobs that are not productive for the citizen. When all a families extra money goes for taxes, other businesses must suffer. The wealthy can’t support a community alone. It takes political collusion.

  2. Real estate agents do their fair share of promoting, too. Billboards on highways and in the airport.

  3. At the rate growth is happening to the Treasure Valley by the people searching for a “better place to live”, the better place to live will soon become just like the place they left.

    EDITOR NOTE–“They create that which they flee.”

  4. higher impact fees on new homes is ineffective and can be counter-productive. However EXTREMELY high impact fees on new driver’s licenses and vehicle registration would be effective.
    Counties with higher migrations would increase those fees more than other counties that say want the growth (ha).

    If you don’t already have an Idaho license or vehicle you will pay for your move into Idaho.

    Meanwhile the Legislature was more concerned about 1 transgender person competing in girls’ sports instead of offering a solution to the deluge of Californians. I wonder why that is. ha!

  5. Unlimited, uncontrolled growth will kill the desirability of this area, as it has many others. The development community has the ear of the legislature, so there won’t ben any help from the direction. Mayor McLean is busy trying to sooth all the voices shouting for more home. Yet, no one in the neighborhoods really want those homes and that change. The wrong conversation is taking place- to build, build some more, so prices will come down, WHICH THEY WON’T. And to increase density so it will slow urban sprawl, which it won’t. It should be to build for quality of life- maintain those area that have it, improve them even. Work for better new developments that create it in the areas they are. Quality lasts, is has long term value vs short term gains. We will NEVER be able to build ourselves out of this housing crisis. As we try, it just makes thing worse.

  6. No Farms, No Food. I do not blame the farmers, they are being paid millions more to sell their land than they can earn being a farmer. With record property tax receipts the City and County will receive, there should be a program to use a percentage of the increase to fund a program where farmers can receive financial compensation today to permanently deed restrict their land to be agriculture. This will increase the demand for housing and therefore the cost of housing, so there needs to be a corresponding program to promote good development, that is higher density urban development near the major employment centers to limit commuting.

  7. Just as a light bulb burns brightest right before the filament breaks, frenzied housing bubbles burn hottest right before the bust. Some might say a 3-6% increase in house prices is a sign of a ‘healthy’ appreciating market, but a 30% yearly increase should serve as a warning alert that speculation, appraisal and mortgage fraud are running wild. It is ominous that the re-posted article was from April 2006, which was right at the peak of the last bubble. Projects like Avimor in Boise County are only viable when house prices are at absurd valuations, but wait for those to quietly get pulled as soon as the market turns.

  8. Long overdue for a dispassionate discussion about all the many ramifications of growth at any cost. Plenty of examples out there, that illustrate the urban wreckage that occurs with the rapacious thirst for more. At some point (hopefully sooner than later) our species will have to learn to live within our existing footprint – and focus development efforts at renewing within that footprint, rather than expanding outside of it without limit. As with this, and any number of other serious political issues we face – getting objective governance to deal with real issues is damn near impossible. Until we have leadership with some guts, we’ll just continue down the path to ending up like all these other sprawling cesspools.

  9. Boise City Council has the authority to do more than they have been doing, as the Idaho Constitution grants the police power, and land use law “doubles-down” on this power. They have simply failed at using this power to discipline the land market.

    Idaho State Constitution: Article XII Corporations, Municipal – Section 2. Local Police Regulations Authorized. Any county or incorporated city or town may make and enforce, within its limits, all such local police, sanitary and other regulations as are not in conflict with its charter or with the general laws.

    Idaho Local Land Use Planning Act- The purpose of this act shall be to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the state of Idaho (I.C. § 67–6502).

    In United States constitutional law, police power is the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of their inhabitants (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. –

  10. In other trends
    May 25, 2021, 3:28 am

    One of the iconic features of liberal rot in America’s paradise cities is unchecked violence and crime. The SW Idaho metro area is on the same trend line.

  11. Bill von Tagen
    May 25, 2021, 10:46 am

    Boise is just like California, but with bad weather!

  12. When my family moved to Boise in 1970, the population was 79,000. We purchased a very nice four-bedroom home just off Mountain View Drive on a half-acre and paid $30,000.00. I can’t even imagine what that house would be worth now… The children walked to school and I never once worried about them. We shopped at the M&W on Ustick Road and loved walking up to Delsa’s for ice cream. It was a wonderful place to live. Now, Boise has become a disaster !!!

  13. Thanks, Navillus. I recall before you arrived and started the downward trend.

  14. Sorry, Navillus, for any insult. I checked, Boise High School-1902, Borah High School-1958, Capital High School- 1965. It seems the accelerated growth rate was well under way more than two thirds of a century ago.

  15. western guy
    May 28, 2021, 7:35 pm

    RE: Enrico49’s comments regarding billboards at the airport. I noted that same billboard 2 years ago, and reported it here.

    Tell me it’s not still in place, as the city struggles with creating more housing while it (the city) continues to promote adding population?????

  16. Boise Lawyer
    May 29, 2021, 10:23 am

    For clarification, the population of Boise hasn’t changed much lately — it grew by just .5% last year:

    Star and Meridian are where the action is. They grew by 13% and 7.16% respectively.

    In fact, of the 23,890 people who moved to 1A and 2C last year just 1,210 of them joined Boise. In terms of raw numbers, more people moved to Star than to Boise(!)

  17. Idaho Native
    May 31, 2021, 4:56 pm

    I am only for “responsible” growth. There are plenty of examples from other communities outside of Idaho (“Silicon Slopes” in SLC, Boulder, etc.), none of which it appears our elected bodies have studied. The growth in Treasure Valley has negative impacted the housing market – $400,000 median home pricing in Canyon County? $775,000 in Eagle? $450,000 in Meridian? Those of us that were born and raised here are now looking to have to move out of the area as we cannot afford housing. But also, watch what this is going to do to already stressed education infrastructure. West Ada already will not hold back students in High School unless they have complete failing grades. We wanted to hold our son back his junior year due to D’s in most classes from a learning disability. We were told “no” even after three separate appeals. The reason? They do not have enough room…..

  18. Guys like the Statesman’s Deeds don’t help either. This quote is from his newspaper bio: “Over the years, his freelance work has ranged from writing album reviews for The Washington Post to hyping Boise in that airline magazine you left on the plane. Deeds graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism.”

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