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Developer proposes to build townhomes on site of single-family Bench homes

A developer hopes the City of Boise will allow it to rezone four parcels in a residential neighborhood on the Boise Bench to build 40 townhomes.

Tradewinds of Idaho applied to build the Palouse Townhomes at 2801 W. Palouse St. on the Boise Bench, two blocks from Vista Ave. It proposes to combine four current parcels into one for the project, and would require the demolition of roughly four single-family homes on the site, as well as several outbuildings.

The 2.09 acre site would then host a total of 40 2,276 square foot townhomes. Each would stand three-stories tall, with a garage on the first floor, living areas on the second and bedrooms on the third. Renderings show balconies on the second and third floors.

[Townhome project proposed on Boise Bench]

According to a project elevation, the townhomes would stand 33 feet tall.

The project would include a small plaza area and bike storage as ammenities.

Rezone requested

Palouse Townhomes Zoning
Red outline shows site on a City of Boise zoning map. BoiseDev graphic

The site, like much of the residential neighborhoods on the Boise Bench, carries a zoning designation of R-1C, which the city defines as “intended for predominately single-family residential uses on interior lots of 5000 feet or larger.”

The city limits the number of housing units in R-1C to eight per acre, which would mean the site for this project could contain a total of 16 homes based on density or fewer based on lot size.

The Palouse site is surrounded on all sides by parcels with R-1C zoning

The developer notes in its application it hopes to rezone the parcel as “L-O” which stands for limited office. The city defines the zone as “intended to accommodate office space in locations that are served by primary roadways, but that are inappropriate for commercial development because of the proximity to residential uses.”

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In an application letter, the team explained why it hoped for the L-O zoning, despite the project’s intent to build homes – not offices.

“An analysis of zoning designations was done by the project team to identify the best option for achieving the project goal while not going beyond what is needed,” Penelope Constantikes with Riley Planning Services wrote. “R-3 was deemed not appropriate and R-1M was insufficient for the project goal.”

R-3’s specifications exceed both the height and density of the project, while R-1M’s standards are both under the Palouse Townhomes proposal.

‘Predictable development pattern’

Palouse Townhomes
Rendering of the proposed Palouse Townhomes in Boise. Via NeuDesign Architecture

The City of Boise emphasizes what it calls a “predictable development pattern,” an issue that was at the core of an argument over a new tower proposed in Downtown Boise this spring. In essence, the city says projects should generally fit within the context of the neighborhood. The concept pops up in the project proposal.

“The applicant and project team appreciate the emphasis on the preservation of neighborhoods and a ‘predictable development pattern,’”Constantikes wrote. “The site is designed to minimize impact on the adjacent parcels by separating the existing residences with a landscape buffer and the service drive. Each townhome is three-story – not inconsistent with recently built residences in the area and includes a two-car garage.”

Constantikes emphasizes that the site is near the Vista Ave. transit coridoor.

The project will go in front of the City of Boise Planning and Zoning Commission on May 10th. Because of limited features from software the city uses from Accela Government Systems, we cannot link you directly to the meeting notice. Instead, you can click here, click the documents tab, click to page “4” and then select “PDS-Correspondence – NOTIFICATION LETTER FOR THE MAY 10, 2021 PZC HEARING” for hearing details.

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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