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CCDC moves forward with Bench urban renewal area; Mayor raises questions on further expansion

The Capital City Development Corporation moved one step closer to adding a new urban renewal area to the Boise Bench. It’s a process BoiseDev has been following since 2016.

Last month, BoiseDev looked at how the district is taking shape.

The agency’s board of commissioners accepted a report from a consultant on the state of the study area. If fully approved by the agency and accepted by Boise’s city council, the new urban renewal area would change the way tax collections are allocated within its boundaries.

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CCDC derives primary funding through tax increment financing. Tax collections for all agencies are “frozen” at the level they are at when the district is formed. Any increases in property value – and therefore tax collections – then flow to the urban renewal agencies.

Adding residential areas?

CCDC commissioner and Boise Mayor Dave Bieter asked a series of questions about the implications of expanding the district further. The current study area focuses largely on commercial areas. It includes Vista Ave., Overland Rd., Latah St., Orchard St. and Curtis Rd. and the Boise tank farm.

“Why not include the residential areas,” Bieter asked consultants and CCDC staff. “Maybe you don’t take tax increment from them, but maybe you improve their streetscapes.”

Bieter said he wanted to know if the agency could collect tax increment financing revenue from a smaller geographic footprint, but spread it across a larger area. He noted that many areas could use sidewalk and other streetscape improvements.

The current study area stays largely away from residential parcels. Any change to the study area would require additional reporting from the consultants, according to agency attorney Ryan Armbruster.

“It will require some more analysis to see if there is a way to spend dollars from this district in areas adjacent to it, and there is really no clearcut answer under the (Idaho law).

Project moving forward

The report from PGAV Planners found the study area did qualify for urban renewal under the State of Idaho’s definition. Overall it found 82% of parcels in the study area qualified with at least one factor defined by law. At least 50% had multiple factors.

The CCDC board voted to adopt the consultant’s report with some minor technical changes – and staff will do additional study to see if Bieter’s questions can be answered.

The Boise City Council would next get the report. Several additional steps would need to be completed before the urban renewal area is established.

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