The City of Boise grew by more than one hundred acres this week.
On Tuesday night, Boise City Council voted unanimously to annex 132 acres of land in Southwest Boise into city limits and change the zoning designation for one parcel to pave the way for a mixed-use development. This included 128 acres owned by the Boise Independent School District near its administrative office south of Victory Road and 4.25 acres owned by the Boise Airport a few blocks to the east.
This annexation was originally going to include the Murgiotio park site, but Mayor Lauren McLean opted to step back from any development of the park after weeks of uproar from some nearby residents over the possibility of housing on the site. Due to confusion with the noticing process before the Planning & Zoning hearing for annexing these two parcels, residents hoping to construct a regional park on the Murgoitio site came to the meeting to testify.
Education to mixed-use
It was a much sleepier meeting this time around.
Only four people came out to testify on the project, two of which were part of the development team for a 15-acre section of the school district property currently under contract for a multi-family housing project. The district put the parcel up for auction earlier this year, and it fetched $12 million from Welltower Inc, which plans ‘wellness-focused housing.’
Boise City Council also voted to amend the land use map to change the use for the 15-acre parcel from education to mixed-use. Land-use attorney Deborah Nelson, who is working on the project, testified in favor of the change. The project still needs approval and public hearings from P&Z and City Council before getting the green light.
“The school district no longer needs this property for school purposes, and mixed-use will support a variety of zones and uses, including housing,” she said.
Southwest Ada County Alliance President Marisa Keith also testified on the project, requesting that Boise City Council push for some affordable units on the property.
“Just to remind the council, anytime a rezone or annexation is requested, it might be a good idea to work with that developer to get that long sought-after affordable housing worked into that development,” Keith said.
One resident raises concerns about industrial neighbor
The smaller airport property was only annexed into city limits, not rezoned. It was marked for light industrial development on the land use map while it was in the area of impact and will remain zoned for light industrial zoning now that it is in the City of Boise.
Justine Hatton, a resident who lives in a nearby neighborhood, expressed concern about an industrial project coming to the area.
“I live south of that area, and years ago we fought to keep our little neighborhood here large lot residential, and I am concerned that if you change that property to industrial, what that will do to our properties here,” she said.
The City of Boise can only amend the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map every six months per Idaho code. If the city decided to change course, it could not annex the Murgoitio site until February 2022.