Guest Opinions

A time and place for all things — but not a short-sighted development move

A request is under consideration by the Boise Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council to rezone an 8.65-acre parcel of land at 3555 E. Warm Springs Ave. from A-1 to R-2 to allow 125 apartments and housing units to be built on the site. This site is or will be surrounded by single-family homes in Harris Ranch, Antelope Springs and Privada, and the site has only one access out via Warm Springs Avenue. More than 1,000 individuals and I oppose this request.

When I came to Boise in 1997 as the founding dean of the College of Engineering at Boise State University, I recognized as an engineer that we needed to develop a plan and stay with the plan if we were to develop the kind of programs and facilities that were needed to help Boise and the area grow and flourish in the years ahead. I believe that we succeeded in the plan, and the BSU engineering programs are making significant contributions to the progress and future of the area.

Similarly, the city of Boise has developed a Comprehensive Plan (called Blueprint Boise) that looks to the future. The plan specifies: “As Boise strives to be the most livable city in the United States, we continually set high standards for new growth. While many places are tempted to relax standards during uncertain economic times, our high expectations will hold value many decades later.”

Citywide policies include “a predictable development pattern & a community of stable neighborhoods.” In support of these policies the city has stated that the specific plans for Harris Ranch (SP-01) and Barber Valley (SP-02) will be used as the policy basis for additional development in Barber Valley. These plans specifically provide for multifamily development along ParkCenter Boulevard where infrastructure is provided to support such development.

Consequently hundreds of multifamily housing units exist or are under construction along that corridor. However, no such infrastructure exists or is planned along Warm Springs Avenue. Furthermore, Warm Springs Avenue was recently shut down for a considerable period of time due to rock slides, and it may happen again.

If the proposed 125-unit project were approved, it would put a severe strain on the infrastructure and traffic on Warm Springs Avenue and would negatively impact Historic Warm Springs, Historic East End, Warm Springs Mesa, El Paseo and many others, in addition to those homes immediately adjacent to and east of the proposed project.

In addition to the infrastructure problems, the proposed project would negatively affect wildlife and wetlands, while also raising issues of safety, 24-hour lighting, noise and general livability for those of us living in the surrounding homes. The proposed project would definitely not contribute to “a predictable development pattern & a community of stable neighborhoods.”

There is an old saying that there is a time and a place for all things. The proposed location is definitely not the place for this project.

Lynn D. Russell has been a Boise resident for about 20 years. He and his wife Elaine live on Warm Springs Avenue adjacent to the proposed project.