Residents want to protect their backyard from a diesel fueling station
A trucking terminal may no longer be located mere feet away from the Blue Valley mobile home park in far southeast Boise, Mayor David Bieter announced Friday, bringing a likely end to a months-long saga.
Bieter said the Boise City Council on Tuesday will consider swapping land owned by Ohio-based R+L Carriers with land owned by the city. If approved, the terminal would be built at a property further down on South Eisenman Road not adjacent to Blue Valley.
“They are comparable properties,” Bieter said at a news conference, “ours being much farther away.”
Blue Valley is a 200-home park with more than 500 residents on Eisenman near Interstate 84 across from Micron Technology. The trucking terminal’s property line would have been just 50 feet from its closest neighbors in the mobile home park. The original plan for the terminal included nearly 100 bays for tractor-trailer trucks to dock as well as a maintenance shed and a fueling station.
Neighbors were concerned that the shed and fueling station were to be located on the edge of the property closest to their homes. They worried about noise and the health effects of diesel fumes
It is not known yet what the property next to Blue Valley could become.
“We have no immediate plans,” Bieter said. “It’s unlikely to stay in our hands, but we’ll engage a very involved process with the residents of Blue Valley.”
Bonnie Hardey, president of the South Eisenman Neighborhood Association, said the new location was much better than the old one. The new property would also have an exit that would encourage tractor-trailer trucks to drive the opposite direction of the neighborhood, eliminating much of the concern of noise.
Hardey has said repeatedly she would like to see a park on the original terminal site.
“We can go in and talk more with the city about what’s next,” Hardey said. “I am confident we can work something out with the city.”
The reason the terminal could exist next to the neighborhood is that the land around Blue Valley isn’t zoned residential. The community falls in the Boise Airport’s influence area, which is land designated to be used primarily for transportation or industry, according to Blueprint Boise, the city’s comprehensive plan.
Mike Journee, spokesman for Bieter, said that rezoning the land would be nearly impossible because of stipulations the Federal Aviation Administration has for airport overlay zones, which aim to prevent uses of nearby land that may be incompatible with aircraft noise.
The land swap gives the city more “skin in the game,” Journee said, making conversations with the Blue Valley neighborhood that much more important, because the city will own the site next to it.
“At the point we decide to sell it some point in the future, if that happens, we could include conditions on what could go there next,” Journee said.
As part of the city’s agreement with R+L Carriers, Boise will pay to remove a closed commercial gas station on the land owned by the city. It’s estimated that will cost about $150,000. Journee said the work would have been needed eventually even though the city had no plans for the land.
R+L Carriers will have to go through standard city approval processes.