Too high, or too low? Boise River condo project gets appeals from Albertson heirs and developer over height limits

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In June, the City of Boise’s Planning & Zoning Commission approved a project to add more than 300 condos along the Boise River.

But two members of the Albertson family who owns homes along the Boise Bench rim quickly filed an appeal.

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And, the applicant for the project – is also appealing.

A fight over the view

Joe Scott and Jamie Scott each own homes that overlook Kathryn Albertson Park – named for their grandmother/great grandmother.

“It’s my opinion, the location is not compatible to other uses in that neighborhood,” Scott family attorney Mark Butler said during the hearing. “The proposed use will adversely affect other properties in the vicinity.”

Another attorney for the Scotts said the renderings provided by the applicant, WHPacific, aren’t accurate.

A visual provided to the City of Boise by representatives of Joe and Jamie Scott showing what they say the project would look like from their houses.
The rendering provided by the Trappers Island applicants showing what the project would look like from the rim. Via DG Group Architecture.

“By this application, they’re seeking to double the height what would otherwise be permitted without even a rezone,” attorney Terry Copple said. “When the application was first filed, that there was not deep concern by anybody was because the rendering that was shown, shows the roofline of this project to be at the tree line.”

Copple said an expert hired by the Scotts showed the rendering undersold how the condo project would look from Joe Scott’s house on Houston Rd.

Andrew Wheeler, the project’s architect, said he is confident in their renderings.

“We are open to a third-party verification if that’s needed to make sure that we’re accurately showing it. But we feel confident in, we’re showing the accurate height,” Wheeler said.

[Kathryn Albertson Park to get makeover as it marks 30th anniversary]

A compromise? No one’s happy

After hearing testimony, the Planning & Zoning commission voted to approve the project at a max height of 63 feet. The applicant hoped for an 81-foot height – which required an exemption from the 45 feet allowed in the zone.

“I support… some compromise. I think commissioner Bratnober’s 63 feet is a great suggestion,” P&Z commissioner Milt Gilespie said. “There is no provision in city law, state law, or federal law for view protection. And this hearing perfectly illustrates why because it is notoriously difficult to create objective facts around a view.”

The attempt to find compromise didn’t go over well with either party.

WHPacific appealed on June 17th, on the grounds the lower height limit isn’t acceptable.

Joe Scott appealed on Jun 18th, on the grounds the lower height limit is too high.

Now the Boise City Council will get a chance to sort it all out – and hear both appeals – at its meeting on September 17th at Boise City Hall.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of Andrew Wheeler.

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