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Preliminary concept for Bench apartments meets resistance from Boise planners

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Boise developer Hawkins Companies is looking at an apartment complex on the corner of Federal Way and Kootenai St. on the Boise Bench, but city planners had many questions about the initial concept.

Representatives for Hawkins held a pre-application meeting with the City of Boise for an initial proposal to build a five-story apartment building with underground parking and a small retail space at 1109 S. Federal Way.  The project, as presented to city planners, would include a set of 120 apartments arranged in a U-shape, facing out toward Federal Way, Kootenai, and Pico St., with an internal courtyard.

Initial plans submitted to the city would feature a series of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 486 square feet to 1,537 square feet.

The site once held a community theater building, and in more recent years, an outdoor metal works business. The plan also includes the site of the former Vernon J. Broiler insurance agency building, which faces Federal Way. The current configuration of the parcels was created when Kootenai St. was realigned to meet Protest Hill in the 1990s.

City questions

In notes filed by the city with the pre-application, planners noted a raft of issues with the early concept.

“The proposal to rezone this site to R-O does not support the purpose of the R-O zone,” planners wrote. “The applicant is simply looking for additional density and building height and is not providing the intended office/services at the ground floor level to activate the adjoining street.”

The planning notes said R-O zoning would be a “spot zone,” as there is no other similar zoning designations in the area.

The comprehensive plan for the city calls for the site to feature an office use, planners noted.  The notes also raised concerns about buffers for the project and other uses in the area, the way cars would access the site, trash collection, bicycle parking, and more.

Pre-applications may not move forward, but the next step for this project would be a neighborhood meeting. If developers decided to move ahead with the plan, they would need to win approvals from the City of Boise.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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