Boise & Garden City

Boise City Council approves West End apartment complex despite opposition from neighbors

Sandhill Crane Apartments
Sandhill Crane Apartments Ada County Housing Department

Neighbors pleaded with the Boise City Council on Tuesday night to reject the 50-unit apartment project, which the local housing authority wants to have built between Whitewater Park Boulevard and Moore Street just east of Quinn’s Pond in Boise’s West End area.

Several people who live near the Sandhill Crane Apartments project took lines of opposition commonly heard in land-use planning disputes. They predicted it would snarl traffic and change the character of their neighborhood. They said the apartment building’s architecture doesn’t fit the surrounding area. They complained that the housing authority and its representatives didn’t adequately involve the community in designing the project.

But several talked about a topic that rarely comes up in these cases: their concerns about adding several dozen low-income homes to a neighborhood that already has its share of poor people.

“We’re afraid that adding more poverty to this area will make a ghetto,” said Erin Sorensen, who presented the neighborhood association’s appeal of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of the project in August. “We’re trying to strengthen our neighborhood, which is really difficult to do when the housing choice only allows for a more transient population to exist.”

Council members said they sympathize with neighbors’ concerns, but they believe the project conforms to the city’s comprehensive plan and planning policies, and that the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision was not in error.

They voted unanimously to approve the apartment project. The housing authority hopes to break ground next summer.