A developer is proposing a grocery store-anchored commercial project on the northwest corner of Eagle and Amity Roads at the southern extreme of Meridian.
The Tuscany neighborhood lies north and west of the 40-acre parcel in question. People who live there have gathered hundreds of signatures in protest. Traffic is their biggest concern. They worry the commercial project, called Firenze Plaza, will turn their neighborhood streets into cut-through lanes for people driving to and from the stores.
“If you go down Mount Etna Drive, every handful of homes there’s a basketball hoop at the end of the driveway,” said Ken Mutell, who lives on Mount Etna, one of several streets neighbors want to keep from having direct access to Firenze Plaza if it’s built. “I’m not saying a child’s going to get hurt one day, but obviously the chances are only going to go up the more cars you put through.”
The developers are asking the city to change the Meridian comprehensive plan to allow Firenze Plaza. The comp plan’s future land-use map calls for low-density residential development, which allows up to three homes per acre, on the northwest corner of Amity and Eagle. The developer wants to change that to Mixed Use Community, a classification that anticipates a variety of retail stores, office space restaurants, banks and auto-service stations.
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Mutell said the highway district’s staff has been transparent and helpful to the neighbors. He said Tuscany’s residents don’t necessarily want to stop Firenze Plaza.
“It’s just we want to keep the children safe and we want it done in a good, safe manner,” he said.
Neighbors met Monday with representatives for Albertsons, the driving force behind efforts to build the store, Mutell said. The application on file at Meridian City Hall lists Eagle-based consultant The Land Group as the main applicant. Efforts to contact a city of Meridian representative for comment on this story were unsuccessful.
The neighborhood has gotten organized since hearing about the project in May, he said. Volunteers gathered hundreds of signatures from people who live in Tuscany. They’ve set up a website to inform Tuscany residents about the project.
“What is so darn hard for everybody is the process,” Mutell said. “All the developers, all the city folks, all the folks at (Ada County Highway District, the agency that controls the county’s public roads), they deal with this every day and they understand it. And we’re just trying to sort it out.”