The Building Contractors Association of Southwestern Idaho is sending out letters to cities across the Treasure Valley with one major concern at the forefront of the note: affordable housing.
“We recognize there’s still a shortage of housing in our valley, based on the number of people who moved over the last couple of years. And so as a result of that, we were just hopeful to work in a collaborative effort to find solutions to the affordable housing problem in our valley today,” Dave Yorgason, who serves on the BCA Builder/Developer Council, told BoiseDev during an interview.
Through a public records request, BoiseDev obtained a letter BCA sent to the City of Meridian regarding concerns with the way the city is handling housing. Yorgason told BoiseDev that the association was working to contact other cities as well, but Meridian happened to be at the top of the list.
“Several of our members have expressed frustration caused from frequent project delays in the City of Meridian,” the letter addressed to Mayor Robert Simison, city council members, planning and zoning commission, and staff read. “Frustration comes from a variety of reasons, including what appears to be a planning and zoning commission that has become less effective. There are times when staff recommends approval of an application as the project follows city code, then the commission recommends denial of the development application.”
In response to BCA’s comments about Meridian Planning and Zoning, City Council President Brad Hoaglun told BoiseDev that the commission staff is fairly new. Hoaglun also said that losing longtime planning and zoning commissioner Lisa Holland in a traffic accident was a huge blow.
“The commission looked to her (Holland’s) for leadership,” he said. “When I review their minutes as we go into something they worked on… they often looked at her for guidance. Despite her young age, she was well respected and really was a leader. And that was a tragic loss, and I think that kind of set them back on their heels a bit. And then we had a couple of new members come on… So we have a fairly new Planning and Zoning Commission.”