Boise board rejects subdivision near Idaho Shakespeare Festival

The Idaho StatesmanSeptember 16, 2013 

For decades, three sewer lagoons have been in a vacant lot adjacent to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. ISF and others expected a lot of development to come to the Barber Valley, but not this lot, which is not part of Harris Ranch.


The original crowd of about 150 thinned out over the course of Monday night's nearly five-hour Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

Perhaps 50 people remained in the City Council chambers of Boise City Hall by the time commissioners voted 3-1 to deny Jim Conger's application to annex and permit a 43-unit housing development in East Boise. Most were pleased with the outcome. Many had testified against the Barber Mill Estates proposal. So had many of the people who left early.

The common theme in their testimony was a concern about noise from the housing development. Barking dogs, running motors and children playing could detract from performances at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival's amphitheater just east of the proposed development.

(Click here for a story detailing those concerns, and the developer's response)

Some predicted that people living in the development — if it's ever built — would someday push back against the Shakespeare Festival and the noise of its performances.

"Once people move into their homes, they forget who was there first," said Gary Allen, an attorney for Givens Pursley who said he's working for free to help stop Barber Mill Estates. "They will complain and, sooner or later, public officials will listen to them."

Conger downplayed noise concerns. He said he supports the Shakespeare Festival and wants to see it continue to operate at its amphitheater just south of East Warm Springs Avenue.

After Monday's meeting, he said he didn't know if he would appeal the Planning and Zoning decision to the next level, the City Council.

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