After a handful of public meetings and hours of testimony, Boise City Council members couldn’t reach a consensus on developer Jim Conger’s application to build 430 homes on 110 acres south of Columbia Road on Boise’s eastern edge.
Councilwomen Lauren McLean, Elaine Clegg and Maryanne Jordan voted late Tuesday night to deny Conger’s application, repeating concerns they’d cited in previous meetings about the project’s lack of secondary access for traffic and emergency services.
Councilmen T.J. Thomson, Ben Quintana and Scot Ludwig voted against the denial, saying Conger had done enough to address safety and traffic concerns by offering to phase in the development to coincide with incremental access improvements, including a road for public travel and one for emergency vehicles.
The tied vote, a rarity in Boise, left the decision up to Mayor David Bieter.
Bieter said he was torn. On one hand, he wants to see new housing stock built in and around Boise to offset increasing housing prices, which are escalating beyond the reach of many of the Treasure Valley’s working families.
On the other hand, he said he wasn’t convinced that Conger’s phasing proposal was adequate to address traffic and safety concerns. He voted with McLean, Clegg and Jordan, denying Conger’s project.
This is the second time in three months that he city has denied the same application. In another split decision, the council voted in September to deny it. But a few weeks later, Conger convinced council members to reconsider.