Boise & Garden City

Boise council denies Foothills housing expansion

Developer Doug Jayo sought approval to add 12 homes to the upper part of the housing layout shown here. The City Council rejected his request, in part, because people living in the extra homes would have been reliant on cars alone to travel to and from their houses.
Developer Doug Jayo sought approval to add 12 homes to the upper part of the housing layout shown here. The City Council rejected his request, in part, because people living in the extra homes would have been reliant on cars alone to travel to and from their houses. Provided by the City of Boise

Traffic is the most common reason neighbors fight against proposed new housing developments.

Often, their complaints draw sympathy but not favorable rulings from decision-makers.

Tuesday night was an exception. The Boise City Council voted 4-2 to deny an application to add 12 homes to subdivision in the Boise Heights area of the Foothills. Council members T.J. Thomson and Scot Ludwig voted against the majority.

The subdivision, called Somerset Ridge, is northeast of the North End neighborhood. It has hundreds of homes, and its origins date to the 1970s, city of Boise planner Todd Tucker said. Developer Doug Jayo requested a change to an 89-home section of Somerset Ridge that Boise approved in 1999. The change would have allowed the addition of 12 homes.

In August, the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission voted to deny the request. Jayo’s team appealed that decision to the City Council.

Traffic was the main concern for neighbors who spoke at the council’s public hearing Tuesday night. Their arguments — that plenty of traffic already funnels out of Boise Heights and into the North End, and that people living in the proposed 12 new homes would be reliant on cars alone to move to and from their homes — appeared to resonate with council members.

A report by Ada County Highway District, which controls public roads throughout the county, predicted the additional 12 homes would place no undue traffic burden on surrounding streets. But Councilwoman Maryanne Jordan pointed out that the highway district’s report didn’t take into account the future impact of dozens of residential lots in the subdivision where homes haven’t been built yet.

Neighbors also opposed the development of open space, which is a Foothills priority for the city of Boise.

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