Boise & Garden City

Affordable housing, health concerns behind denial of truck terminal near mobile homes

Residents want to protect their backyard from a diesel fueling station

A trucking company wants to build a terminal next to a mobile home park in fast-growing Boise. Residents fear diesel fumes, 24/7 noise, increased traffic. The controversy pits affordable housing and a vulnerable population against business.
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A trucking company wants to build a terminal next to a mobile home park in fast-growing Boise. Residents fear diesel fumes, 24/7 noise, increased traffic. The controversy pits affordable housing and a vulnerable population against business.

Most Boise Planning and Zoning Commissioners left no doubt Monday that they believed a proposed trucking terminal on Eisenman Road would harm the residents of Blue Valley, a 200-home mobile home park just south of it. Some of them, however, saw scant evidence in Boise’s zoning code that they could justifiably deny the terminal because all of the land in the area is zoned for industrial uses, including trucking terminals.

“I think this is a monumentally bad idea,” Commissioner Stephen Bradbury said of the terminal proposal. “I’m not sure we can do anything about it.”

That comment came almost four hours into a meeting that lasted five and a half. A few minutes later, the board voted 4-2 to deny the application for the terminal.

Chairwoman Jennifer Stevens said denial was appropriate because fumes from the trucks and their fuel would endanger the health of Blue Valley residents. She pointed out that the zoning code repeatedly identifies public health as a value that should be considered when making land-use decisions.

Commissioner Douglas Gibson said he wasn’t convinced that fumes would cause health problems in Blue Valley. He appeared to base his assessment on a study cited by the terminal’s applicant, R+L Carriers, that found inconclusive links between trucking terminals in other parts of the country and elevated pollution in neighborhoods near them.

Health was a focus for Blue Valley residents who attended Monday’s meeting. They also worried about noise from the terminal’s trucks, even though R+L promised to put up a noise barrier.

R+L can appeal Monday’s decision to the City Council.

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