Irate neighbors in SW Boise were provided some deadly ammunition Monday when the Boise School District announced a deal to sell 15 acres of surplus land adjacent to the 160 Murgoitio Park site for $800,000 per acre.
That 160 acre parcel is south of the Victory Road School District headquarters and West Jr. High, between Maple Grove and Cole Roads. It was to be a park, but Boise officials recently announced plans to do a land swap with the Harris Ranch family for foot hills land they claimed is worth $15 million–including the value of lots they are entitled to develop, but will forego.
Margaret Carmel at BOISE DEV did a great job with one of their trade mark “Deep Dives,” documenting the trade details.
In a nutshell, it appears the deal would avoid the Idaho Code requiring cities to declare land surplus and sell it at auction to the highest bidder. Trades of “equal value” are allowed under the law. By using the trade route Boise City would be able to target the ultimate owner and avoid an auction. The GUARDIAN sees that as “insider trading,” plain and simple. At issue now is the true value of both parcels.
City fathers and mothers obviously were caught off guard when Boise Schools essentially established a “comparison value” for the neighboring 15 acres of land at $800,000 per acre.
The honest way to handle the entire deal would be for the city to sell the Murgoitio Park site at auction, then simply give the Harris folks $15 million cash from the auction proceeds which would logically bring in many millions more than the proposed $15 million trade deal.
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