As prices rise, home building booms from Boise to Caldwell
One of the nation’s largest home-builders, Toll Brothers Inc., is looking to build a 913-house subdivision in Eagle.
If approved, the development would cover nearly 400 acres of farmland with rooftops and lead Eagle’s sprawling growth further westward toward Star. It would also add thousands of new car trips each day to a corner of Star that will soon be serviced by the to-be-expanded State Highway 16.
The developer is seeking approval of a planned unit development, preliminary plat and development agreement modification to allow for the subdivision, which would be called Belvoir Estates.
The subdivision would be built on the east and west sides of Palmer Lane between Beacon Light Road and Floating Feather Road. It would also include land for a new elementary school, to be potentially be donated to the West Ada School District, and park, to be donated to the City of Eagle.
The development is estimated to generate 730 students, according to Eric Exline, spokesman for the West Ada School District. Voters would still need to authorize a bond to allow the school district to build on the 10-acre site, he added.
The subdivision would consume nearly a quarter of the 1,548 acres of farmland within a mile of the development, according to an analysis of the project by the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, or COMPASS.
The nearest police station would be 3.8 miles from the development, and the nearest fire station 2.2 miles away. COMPASS recommends that developments be located within 1.5 miles of police and fire stations.
The parcel west of Palmer Lane is zoned R-4, with a minimum lot size of 0.2 acres, and the parcel east includes zones of R-2, with a minimum lot size of 0.4 acres, R-4 and mixed use. Coleman Homes, a Meridian home-builder that Toll Brothers bought in 2016, has owned the land since 2014.
Eagle’s comprehensive plan envisions a community center, surrounded by compact housing like apartments or townhouses, at the southeast corner of Beacon Light Road and Palmer Lane where Toll Brothers plans to locate a city park and elementary school.
The comprehensive plan says densities south of Beacon Light Road should average 1-2 units per acre. Toll Brothers is proposing higher densities of around 4-5 units per acre to the east of Palmer Lane, with even denser housing located to the west.
The development is located in the comprehensive plan’s Village Planning Area, where the plan envisions residential uses south of Beach Light to Floating Feather Road with a nonresidential area including corporate and light manufacturing businesses along Beacon Light Road.
Toll Brothers is also proposing to widen Palmer Lane, Beacon Light Road and part of Floating Feather Road, according to a report by the Ada County Highway District.
Adam Capell, a land development manager for Toll Brothers in Boise who is the applicant, declined to comment.
Brenda Guggenbiller, marketing manager for Coleman Homes, said that the company had yet to close on the project and declined to comment further.
Toll Brothers has outlined plans to expand its presence in Boise. Its four-bedroom homes in Eagle sell for between $310,000 and $360,000 each. Other subdivisions it has built in Eagle include The Preserve, near the northwest intersection of State Street and Eagle Road, and Legacy, near the southwest corner of Linder and Floating Feather Roads.
Last week, Toll Brothers also announced plans to start building single-family rental communities in seven cities throughout the country, including Boise. Large real estate investment trusts like American Homes 4 Rent have also gone from buying up foreclosed homes during the recession to building their own rentals properties as they face a shortage of single-family homes for purchase.
“This is another business we believe has great potential,” Douglas Yearley, Toll Brothers’ chairman and CEO, said in a conference call to investors in May.
“There’s a huge opportunity for us to sell in the 3s, 4s, 5s in existing markets and in possibly some new markets,” Yearley said.
Correction: A previous version of this article did not include that the parcel east of Palmer Lane would include R-2 and mixed use zoning, in addition to R-4 zoning. Also, the developers are requesting approval of a planned unit development, preliminary plat and development agreement modification, but not a rezone.