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Garden City resident cries foul over plans to reconfigure streets near ACHD maintenance yard

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Marty Camberlango never expected to live on a corner. 

But, in 2018, he got a letter in the mail informing him of plans to reconfigure the street pattern in his neighborhood along the Greenbelt after a new townhome subdivision went in behind his Adams Street home. This change means a new street will run alongside his property, turning his lot bordering on a gravel lot owned by the Ada County Highway District into a corner lot with a sidewalk along where his backyard fence stands now. 

“They have never acknowledged anything,” Camberlango told BoiseDev, while standing in front of his house earlier this month. “They’re just like ‘oh we’re going to build this road’ so when (we said) ’no way, we don’t want to be on a corner’ our only outlet was to complain to the city, but the city can’t do anything about roads.”

Extending this small piece of roadway also has larger implications for the several-block area in and around ACHD’s maintenance yard. By extending the roadway past Camberlango’s house, it allows ACHD to tear out the curved part of Reed Street and make the area a network of squared-off parcels. This changes the layout of the streets near a choice piece of Greenbelt real estate, which could rapidly redevelop in the next decade if ACHD keeps on schedule to relocate its maintenance yard in the next three to six years. 

Construction on the rerouted Reed Street is expected to start in the spring and last about three months, according to ACHD spokesperson Shandy Lam. 

Plans began with Blue Heron Subdivision 

ACHD says they made the decision to re-route Reed Street after the application to redevelop the property behind Camberlango’s house was submitted four years ago. 

At the end of October 2019, ACHD completed the record of survey for Blue Heron Street and determined the long-term vision to extend the street to Adams along Camberlango’s property line. The City of Garden City approved the project, a 12-unit townhome development called Blue Heron Subdivision, in 2019. Part of the development agreement for the project required the developer to construct Blue Heron Street. 

ACHD purchased the gravel lot east of Camberlango’s home in 2010 with the intention of expanding its maintenance yard eventually. But, now the agency is looking at moving the yard out of Garden City altogether after a multi-year legal battle with Garden City came to a settlement earlier this year

This change will make the larger area one parcel by removing Reed Street curving between the two. ACHD said it has no plans to currently sell any land in the area, but it’s unclear if or when that would change and how consolidating all of its land holdings on the north end of Adams could impact its value. 

“As such, ACHD leadership saw the benefit to the street in the proposed subdivision because the curvature section of Reed St will be also vacated in the future,” ACHD spokesperson Shandy Lam wrote. “This way, the property is not bisected by the existing Reed Street.”

What was the notification process?

A large part of Camberlango’s concerns stems from how he was notified. 

He is frustrated that although this is an ACHD project, he learned about the reconfiguration of the road from Garden City during the hearing process for Blue Heron. Lam told BoiseDev in an email they are aware of his complaints to Garden City and saw social media posts he’s made about the project online. 

“When they had (Blue Heron Subdivision), they sent us a letter, but when ACHD put the right of way they never sent anybody a letter and told them what they were going to do,” he said.”They never informed the neighborhood they were going to get rid of a road.”

ACHD says because the land it is using for the new Blue Heron Street is owned by the agency, it deeded the land and was not required to open the issue up for a public hearing. Lam said this is similar to where ACHD will exchange right-of-way when a developer will be building a new road. But in this case, ACHD was the property owner and not a developer. 

“Because ACHD is the property owner, no public hearings were required for the ACHD portion,” Lam wrote. “However, ACHD did communicate with Garden City and they were supportive as they prefer public streets. We also communicated with (Camberlango) and in addition to receiving information, (he has) spoken with several staff members who have met with (him) on (his) property, spoken with (him) over the phone, and exchanged emails.”

Garden City supportive, but hoping for long-term change

Jenah Thornborrow, Garden City’s planning director, has her eye on the next decades of development in the area. 

She said the city isn’t opposed to re-routing Reed Street and connecting Blue Heron to Adams, but they hope to ensure it’s all constructed in a way that maintains the connection to the Greenbelt near Reed Street. But, in the long-term, she hopes ACHD will consider extending Reed Street parallel to the Boise River and connecting it to 38th Street. 

“The city is glad ACHD is calling (the newly extended street) East Blue Heron vs. Reed Street and the city would long term like to see a road running parallel to the river and open up access to the public so that portion of the property won’t be closed off,” she 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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