Once called a “half-baked cake,” Revamped Bench townhomes win approval on Palouse St.

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The second time was the charm for a proposal to build townhomes off of Vista Avenue. 

On Tuesday, Boise City Council unanimously approved a proposal from Tradewinds of Idaho to build 30 townhomes on Palouse Street on the site of three single-family homes and an RV/boat storage yard. No one testified against the proposal and it sailed through with only some minor feedback from council members. 

[Proposed Boise Bench apartments would use ‘density bonus’ to add rent-restricted units]

This is a far cry from Trailwinds’ last attempt to develop the site last year. In 2021, the developer proposed rezoning the property to limited office in the middle of a residential neighborhood in order to build 40 townhomes on the site. It got a thumbs down from both Planning & Zoning and City Council. 

Palouse Townhomes Boise
The Palouse Townhomes are proposed on this site on the Boise Bench. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Penelope Constantikes, a representative for Tradewinds, said the plan is to split up the lots so they can be sold to individual owners instead of rented. Constantikes said this development would provide “an incremental step” toward a development pattern that supports public transit and walkability. 

“This site is a unique opportunity for infill,” she said. “It’s within easy walking and biking distance to a principal arterial with one of VRT’s principal transit lines, two activity centers and a wide variety of services.” 

Wanted: More pedestrian connectivity 

The concept plan includes 30, two-story townhomes with two-car garages, guest parking spaces and other amenities for residents. This proposal required a rezone to a denser residential designation, instead of having to use the limited office use to increase the density 25% more. 

One problem City Council President Elaine Clegg had with the project was it’s lack of sidewalks and infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians. She noted the development itself was full of sidewalks, but they largely connected the townhomes to each other instead of to Palouse Street or anywhere else. 

A conceptual layout of the townhomes project on Palouse Street

To fix this, she asked that the developer extend the sidewalk out to Palouse Street and use a piece of property Tradewinds also owns behind the development to build a connection for cyclists and pedestrians to Lemhi Street. 

“I’m willing to support the motion because it does in fact support our comprehensive plan and particularly in this area, not only does it increase housing opportunity but increases it in a way that offers homeownership opportunities in a neighborhood that hasn’t had a lot of those with new development recently,” Clegg said. 

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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