West Ada

One developer proposed 913 houses. Another sought 160. Here’s what Eagle said to both

The Eagle City Council has denied two proposed subdivisions near the city’s western border with Star that would have added over 1,000 new homes to the area.

The first development, proposed by one of the nation’s largest home-builders, Toll Brothers Inc., would have added 913 houses on 400 acres of current farmland. The project, called Belvoir Estates, would have generated 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 proposed subdivision was on the east and west sides of Palmer Lane between Beacon Light Road and Floating Feather Road. It would have included land for a new elementary school and a park.

The development was estimated to generate 730 additional students once fully built, Eric Exline, spokesman for the West Ada School District, previously told the Statesman. The project would have been built in 15 phases over 10 years.

Their application spurred hours of testimony from neighbors who worried that the development would be too dense and threaten Eagle’s rural feel.

“You’re going to put us in the middle of the city,” said one one neighbor at a public hearing on Oct. 8. “We don’t want to be in the city. When you add over 1,000 homes in the same area, how can you handle it?”

Another resident asked for the city to slow down on approving large developments. “These are large corporations — they see tons of money they can make here,” she said. “I think we need to be increasing permits and impact fees for these giant development proposals, and maybe it would stop the bleeding for your current taxpayers.”

Taking that route would only lead to increased costs for home buyers, said Becky McKay, a representative of the developer.

“The cost and the mitigation involved with this project is more extensive than I’ve ever had,” she said. “If you increase all those fees — then who pays them? It’s the homeowner.”

The council has asked Toll Bros. to come back with a scaled down project that would decrease the density and increase the open space.

Stan Bastian, a council member who had approved the annexation and development agreement for the parcel when its original owner came before the City Council in 2007, said that the council made a mistake then.

“It wasn’t our intention to have a development like what was proposed,” Bastian said.

Brighton’s Lanewood North denied

Citing similar density concerns, the City Council on Oct. 8 also denied the Meridian-based Brighton Corp.’s application to build a 160-house subdivision on 81 acres near the intersection of North Lanewood Road and West Beacon Light Road.

The project would have preserved 21 acres as open space, and included lot sizes between 11,475 square feet and 29,771 square feetroughly one-quarter to two-thirds of an acre. An acre has 43,560 square feet.

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Brighton Corp. submitted plans to the city of Eagle for over 100 homes on North Lanewood Road. Brighton Corp.

Mike Wardle, a representative of Brighton, pushed back against opponents during a public hearing.

“Your community plan — even in the ‘rurban’ character that you choose to preserve — anticipates a certain diversity of density,” he said. “The lots will not all be 1 acre or 2 acres or 5 acres.”

The council suggested that Brighton bring back the project after increasing lot sizes or agreeing to build the project in multiple phases.

“We can’t stop the growth,” said council member Kenny Pittman. “We can’t tell individuals what they can and cannot do, but we can slow it down by asking them to either put some more money in the game for infrastructure or wait to put some more homes in.”

The site of Brighton Corp.’s proposed Lanewood North subdivision.

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Kate reports on West Ada and Canyon County for the Idaho Statesman. She previously wrote for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Providence Business News. She has been published in The Atlantic and BuzzFeed News. Kate graduated from Brown University with a degree in urban studies.