Boise & Garden City

Boise State scales back master plan growth

The Boise City Council on Tuesday approved a drastically reduced -- for now -- proposal to grow Boise State University's footprint.

The university originally asked for approval to extend its southern boundary from Beacon Street to Boise Avenue. That would have put dozens of private homes inside the BSU master plan, a document that anticipates the school's long-term presence. Neighbors pushed back, worried the university would use eminent domain to take possession of their properties.

On Tuesday, the university changed course and proposed a phased approach to growing its campus. Instead of adding 50 acres to the master plan, it won approval for a little less than eight acres and a reworked plan for future buildings and uses on campus.

That's the first phase. Two more anticipated phases will come over the next 30 years, said Kevin Satterlee, BSU's head of operations.

Satterlee said the university has no plans right now to use eminent domain to force people out of their homes.

"We will acquire property when we have willing sellers," he said. "But that's the extent of our acquisition plan."

Satterlee said the university will do a better job reaching out to neighbors and including them in the planning process as it prepares those phases.

Neighbors who spoke at Tuesday's hearing said they were relieved at the university's change of plans. Some said they were looking forward to being more involved. But some said a lack of trust lingers. One man said he suspects the university will, in fact, use eminent domain when it needs to.

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