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City leaders called it a ‘half-baked cake.’ Now developers are trying again on a Bench townhome project

After the Boise City Council turned down a townhome project on the Boise Bench, calling it a “half-baked cake,” the developer is trying a new recipe.

Initially, Tradewinds of Idaho and Riley Planning asked the City of Boise to let it rezone three parcels along Palouse St. near Vista Ave. to allow for 40 townhomes. But the project failed to get approval from planning and zoning – and an appeal to Boise City Council also failed.

At issue, the city’s concern with using limited office zoning designation to build housing, as well as expressed discomfort with the level of density proposed. City leaders say they support more density, but not to the level proposed.

“I don’t think in this neighborhood forcing in as much density as possible adds anything,” council member Holli Woodings said at the time.

[Scaled-down townhome project approved on Boise Bench]

Reducing units

Now, the developers appear poised to try again – this time with fewer units and using a traditional residential zoning designation. Project representatives held a preliminary planning meeting with the city earlier this month and requested materials to hold a neighborhood meeting.

The updated proposal calls for 30 units, instead of 40 – a reduction of 25%.

A site plan shows a similar layout, but the reduction of ten units allowed designers to reduce the height of each home from three stories to two. It also appears to have impacted fire access requirements, changing the circulation plan to show just one exit onto Palouse Street, instead of two.

In the prior plan, developers hoped to build all two-bedroom homes. With the new plan, each home would feature three bedrooms. Guest parking would decrease from seven total spaces to four.

If the proposal moves forward, it would need sign-off for updated zoning from the city, as well as other permits. No timeline is yet set.

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
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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