North End real estate agent MacMillan to challenge Sanchez for city council seat

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A long-time North End resident hopes to unseat incumbent Lisa Sanchez on the Boise City Council. 

Greg MacMillan, 50, filed paperwork to run to represent District 3, which covers the North End all the way to Northwest Boise. If elected, he hopes to create more opportunities for public input on city programs before decisions are made and take more input from neighborhood leaders before crafting policy. He said there’s been a “disconnect” between what the people of Boise want and what projects the city is pursuing. 

“What I’m hearing amongst friends and other people within the community is (the city) is not getting ahead of it in terms of an opportunity to communicate with the government when decisions are being made,” MacMillan said. “(Communication is) after the fact and saying ‘well here’s what we’re doing, tell us how you feel about it’ rather than bringing them in earlier so they can be heard and be part of that conversation.”

Boise City Council district 3. Via City of Boise

MacMillan wants more ‘Boise Nice’

MacMillan moved to Boise’s North End when he was five years old and eventually graduated from Boise High School. He attended the University of Idaho for undergrad, earned an MBA from Boise State University, and entered tech sales. MacMillan currently sells residential real estate. 

If elected, MacMillan said his understanding of the community, connections with residents, and willingness to listen can bring more unity to the seat than his opponent, Sanchez, can. He declined to describe specific reasons why she is divisive, saying he would prefer that she “speak for herself.”

“Have you heard the term Boise Nice?” MacMillan said. “I still feel like Boise is still that community where people generally are nice and appreciate being around each other and I feel like bringing people together is a better way to build a strong community and I don’t know if she is doing that for the community now.”

Sanchez faced a recall attempt last summer, mostly stemming from some of her comments about white supremacy and racism in America in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. The recall petition was later abandoned.

Support for ‘natural’ affordable housing development

MacMillan didn’t provide any specifics about what changes he would make at city hall aside from taking more public input and improving collaboration with neighboring cities. For example, he said the city should take more public input and share more information with the public on the plans for improvements when creating urban renewal districts. But, he did not share any specifics on how he would make changes at the urban renewal agency Capital City Development Corporation beyond requesting more communication. CCDC is a separate entity, though the board is appointed by the mayor and members are approved by the Boise City Council. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean sits on the panel, as does former Mayor Dave Bieter.

On the city’s housing crisis, he said it’s important for the city to develop workforce housing as Boise grows more expensive, but he said his preference would be for mixed-income, mixed-use developments in partnership with developers in locations that make sense with the surrounding area, instead of placing affordable housing “unnaturally wherever.” He noted it would be particularly difficult to build affordable housing in the North End because the neighborhood is already densely developed. 

“It would be better if the market did it naturally,” he said, about affordable and workforce housing. “If (developers) naturally said ‘we’re going to put some percentage of affordable (units) within our developments’ or maybe we can provide incentives to do it, maybe they can provide it naturally, but it’s a tough one that again I don’t claim to have answers to. My intentions are to surround myself with people from all ends of the spectrum to get their feedback and see what works in other communities.”

BoiseDev will profile each candidate for Boise City Council, Garden City City Council and Meridian City Council as they formally file to run for office.

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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