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Boise Council Moves State Parking Garage Project Forward ... With Conditions

Council Member T.J. Thomson called the debate, "A big pain in the patoot."

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Following some uncomfortable testimony from a representative of the Idaho Attorney General's office, where the assistant A.G. called the City of Boise's requirements for a proposed state parking garage "arbitrary and capricious" and "not rooted in fact or ordinance," the Boise City Council voted Tuesday night to move forward with plans for the garage, as long as the state was willing to make a couple of exceptions.

The debate surrounds a proposed $8 million, 6-story garage to be built on a block framed by Washington, Franklin, Fifth and Sixth streets. The city's Design Review Committee found the original design for the parking structure "incompatible with the surrounding area" and "not designed to adequately address the public view." As a result, Design Review and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the plans be rejected.

But the State of Idaho pushed back, with the Idaho Legislature voting to move foward with its plans in spite of any delay from the City of Boise.

"There are procedural difficulties with P & Z's decision," Idaho Deputy A.G. Carl Withroe told the Council Tuesday night, who criticized what he called "arbitrary whims" from city planners.

But City of Boise staff came back to Tuesday night's Council meeting to ask that the state agree to two conditions: the addition of new vertical elements to the exterior of the structure and that the council approve design materials.

Council Member David Eberle took a shot at critics who "write letters to newspapers" adding that, "Hopefully the adults will find some compromises."

Council Member T.J. Thomson was more blunt, calling the debate, "A big pain in the patoot."

Ultimately, the council voted unanimously to move the project forward with the conditions, asking that the process come back for their consideration during their next meeting Tuesday, April 30.

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