Developer Jim Conger can proceed to secure permits to build a 24-home subdivision on the 4.2-acre piece of ground that now surrounds Ben’s Crow Inn in East Boise’s Barber Valley.
Faced with united opposition from neighbors who simply disliked his plan and worried about limited access between Warm Springs Avenue and the Boise River Greenbelt, Conger offered up a piece of ground to Boise’s Parks and Recreation Department to use as a parking lot. A sidewalk Conger would build as part of the project would connect the parking lot to a pathway in the middle of the development that connects to the Greenbelt.
The city will require Conger to pave the lot, though Parks and Recreation will design and maintain it.
At a public hearing Tuesday night, neighbors again spoke against Conger’s project. Several questioned the real value of the parking lot. They worried it will be too small -- six spaces -- and won’t have good enough access to the Greenbelt.
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“Is it much of a benefit then?” said Sabrina Durtschi, who spoke on behalf of the neighbors.
Boise planner Susan Riggs said an Ada County Highway District representative examined access between the parking lot and Greenbelt and found it adequate.
Some of the neighbors criticized the approach Conger and his representatives used in talks with them. They said the developer and his team were antagonistic and made them feel like they were being strong-armed.
Council members split their vote on Conger’s appeal of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s denial in April of his application. Maryanne Jordan, Lauren McLean and Council President Elaine Clegg voted to support the appeal and overturn the lower panel’s decision. Ben Quintana, T. J. Thomson and Scot Ludwig voted against that motion, saying the requirement that Conger pave the parking lot went too far.
Mayor David Bieter broke the tie by voting in favor of the motion.
Barring some unlikely snag, such as a court intervention, Conger’s way to build the Ben’s Crow Inn subdivision is clear.