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Meridian OKs 500+ new homes, apartments, townhomes; Ten Mile traffic could be ‘unacceptable’


The Idaho Press

The Meridian City Council moved forward on two subdivisions, including over 500 multi-family units.

The approved subdivisions are yet another example of community growth in the Treasure Valley, which has experienced an ongoing shortage in housing.

Councilmembers’ main concern for the high-density units was traffic but they ultimately approved a preliminary plat and conditional use permit.

“This is in fact what we intended here,” council member Joe Borton said. “It has high-density residential where it was intended.”

Outer Banks, Pera Place

The Outer Banks Subdivision is located near West Franklin and South Ten Mile roads. The developers have planned 364 high-density apartments, 126 flat, and 26 townhome-style units.

Meridian’s council also approved the annexation and zoning, rezone, preliminary plat, and development agreement modification for the Pera Place Subdivision. The subdivision, located near North Black Cat and West McMillan roads, is planned to have 65 single-family detached building lots.

[Pera Place planned in booming part of NW Meridian]

One reason why housing prices are high is because of a large percentage of single-family homes and lack of multifamily, according to a September release from Boise Regional Realtors. Single-family homes are more expensive to build and buy.

The planned multifamily housing in Meridian will also coincide with commercial uses.

“We create this kind of interactive urban environment and it all helps to create connectivity from the commercial side to the residential side,” said Lane Borges, architect on the project.

Ten Mile to be “unacceptable,” sometimes

Ten Mile Road will operate at an unacceptable level of service with this development, Meridian staff said at the meeting.

“I was campaigning this year and I was out in that part of town and without a doubt, the number one frustration is traffic,” council member Luke Cavener said. “They obviously associate it with growth.”

The level of service would only be unacceptable one hour a day, said Josh Leonard, an attorney with Clark Wardle.

[Growth brings increased complaints about traffic. But cities like Meridian say they can’t just stop new construction]

“I appreciate the concerns and probably heated complaints that you got about commute time,” Leonard said. “The property has been annexed, and is approved with a fairly specific site plan and zoned in a way that entitles development … we can’t come in with single-family homes or something that’s much less than what we’ve proposed.”

The planned Highway 16 project will also help with congestion, Leonard said and should be online about the time traffic starts to “move out” from the development.

[Funding for new north-south ‘freeway’ connecting with I-84 added, project set for next year]

The Idaho Transportation Board in May approved $170 million of Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation to expand state Highway 16 south from its current location at U.S. Highway 20/26 (Chinden Boulevard) to Interstate 84.

“Hopefully that Highway 16 extension does get through in a timely fashion,” Hoaglun said.

Carolyn Komatsoulis - Idaho Press
Carolyn Komatsoulis - Idaho Press
Carolyn Komatsoulis covers Meridian and Ada County for Idaho Press. Contact her at 208-465-8107 and follow her on Twitter @CKomatsoulis.

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