In July, as the city of Boise was preparing to consider a proposal for the 60-home, 54-acre Highlands Cove project near Crane Creek Golf Course, a small group of people who live in the existing neighborhood formed a nonprofit corporation named “Highlands Cove Protection Association.”
Its purpose, stated on paperwork filed with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, was “protecting Highland Cove and Highland View Drive and any other lawful purpose.”
At the end of December, Highlands Cove Protection Association and the neighborhood association asked the council to reconsider its Dec. 1 approval of Highlands Cove. The council took up the issue and quickly rejected the request at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Council President Maryanne Jordan said she found no reason to reopen the discussion. Jordan said the issues Highlands Cove’s opponents raised had already been addressed or were not relevant.
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The neighborhood and Highland Cove Protection Association likely will take the matter to the next level, said Marcia Wing, who serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors. That means asking a judge to overturn the city's decision.
"There is a great deal of sentiment in the neighborhood that the development as it is proposed is completely inappropriate," Wing said.
The nonprofit, as well as the official Highlands Neighborhood Association, have provided the stiffest resistance to Highlands Cove, a project proposed by developers Dave Yorgason and Chris Conner. In September, after dozens of people spoke for hours in opposition to the project, the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission denied the application.
The developers appealed that decision to the City Council, which voted unanimously Dec. 1 to approve the project.
Protests against the Highlands Cove project have centered on traffic issues. People who live in the area say roads are already too dangerous, thanks to a series of blind curves, a lack of sidewalks and being so narrow that it’s difficult for two cars to pass each other in some places.
At least six of the 18 errors that the request claimed the council made have to do with traffic. Others accuse the council of failing to follow relevant planning policies and laws, such as the city’s comprehensive plan or Foothills development law, which lays out standards for building in the Foothills above Boise. Some accuse the city of not meeting procedural requirements, such as appropriate notification of neighbors.
The developers’ representatives have characterized opposition to the project as coming from neighbors’ desire to preserve the open land around their homes, even though it’s privately owned and zoned for further residential development.
“It has been stated that we want to continue to have that as our personal, private playground up there where we hike and do all that. And there’s a certain element of that,” Wing said. “But we understand that this is privately owned property and the property owner has a right to do something with his or her property. We’re sympathetic to that fact...But we also believe that we have rights.”