Neither side in the Boise-ACHD dispute over parking sensors is talking legal strategy, so we're left to wonder what they're thinking.
Here's one theory (Keep in mind this is just a theory. It doesn't reflect some higher legal thinking, just the musings of a reporter who probably spends too much time thinking about this stuff.):
I'm guessing the city of Boise is using the highway district's policy manual against it. Here's how: Section 6007.3 of the manual, titled "Processing of Application for Temporary Highway Use Permits," requires the district to respond to applications for the type of permit that would allow Boise to install vehicle detection sensors in metered parking spaces.
Boise wants to install the sensors and linked electronic meters in virtually all — about 800 — of its Downtown on-street parking spaces. Last year, the city installed 68 sensors, only to be stopped by the district. As it turns out, the city didn't ask for a permit to put the sensors in the streets, which ACHD controls.
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After the work stopped and the whole issue became a headline, Boise submitted a permit for about 200 sensors. The city and district worked out a licensing agreement that would've authorized the sensors. But ACHD Commissioner Rebecca Arnold changed her vote on the agreement, revoking that authorization.
The district has offered a new, more restrictive license and demanded the city sign it or have the existing sensors removed.
Boise responded by asking for a permit for 600 more sensors — in addition to the application for 200 that's still on hold at ACHD headquarters.
The city believes the district doesn't have authority to deny those applications for any reason besides the basic stuff: safety, timeliness, etc. That's where Section 6007.3 comes in. The policy states that if the district denies an application, it has to provide a written explanation of its reasons for doing so.
City leaders believe Arnold, as well as her fellow commissioners who voted to deny the license agreement, are making a value judgment about the kind of technology Boise has chosen and how it will affect people who park in the street. The city is adamant that those issues are none of the district's business and, if they figure into the denial of Boise's application, that ACHD is overstepping the bounds of its authority.
A denial explanation from the district would have to include reasons for doing so. So the city could be trying to force the district to either approve the permits or provide evidence that the district is usurping Boise's authority to manage parking — evidence that could prove useful if this issue ends up in court.