Business

A rancher wanted to put up 20 houses on Bogus Basin Road. Here’s what Boise told him.

The Boise City Council has rejected a Foothills rancher’s request to have 173 acres of his land on Bogus Basin Road annexed so 20 houses could be built there.

The unanimous rejection of Charlie Gibson’s proposed Shannon Ridge Subdivision followed pleas by residents of the Highlands area for the council to heed Mayor David Bieter’s call to end new Foothills development.

“This is a perfect opportunity for City Council to make good on promises to reign in urban sprawl in the Foothills, thereby promoting safety and livability for all Boiseans,” said Jeff Bradley, president of the Highlands Neighborhood Association, at a public hearing before Tuesday night’s vote.

Opponents said the homes would face fire risks, lack adequate sidewalks and sewer connections, increase traffic on crowded Harrison Boulevard and promote leapfrog development.

Those were arguments the city Planning and Zoning Commission had mostly found persuasive when it turned down the subdivision earlier. Tuesday’s council vote came after Gibson appealed the commission’s decision.

The subdivision was proposed for 5125 N. Bogus Basin Road, on the west side of the road northwest of the Hackberry Ridge subdivision, which is north of the Crane Creek Country Club.

Council members turned aside arguments by Gibson’s lawyer, Hethe Clark, that Gibson had greatly scaled down his original plan for 80 houses.

With rising population and recreation, “ranching in the Foothills has become a lot more difficult,” Clark told the council. Gibson has paid thousands of dollars in fines because individuals left gates open or otherwise interfered with his ranching operations, he said.

Bieter called for an end to Foothills development in his State of the City speech in September. The mayor said the end should come once roughly 400 sites already in some stage of planning or development are completed.

Clark criticized Bieter’s call in a letter to the Planning and Development Services Department. The call was “based on a nonscientific and apparently random lot count without any other process” and place the burden and cost of Foothills preservation on private landowners, he wrote. “... For landowners like Charlie, these comments were — and remain — terrifying.”

This story has been revised. An earlier version said an ordinance likely would be needed to carry out Mayor David Bieter’s call to end residential development in the Foothills. Spokesman Mike Journee said that is likely not true, although the city’s Foothills Plan might need minor revisions.

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David Staats is business editor of the Idaho Statesman, which he joined in 2004. He has assigned, edited and reported business, politics, government and other Idaho stories since 2006.Get the top Idaho business stories of the week in a free email every Monday morning. Go here, then press the “Select” button under Idaho Business.
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