Ada County purchased 250 acres of Boise Foothills land for $240,000, a figure significantly below market price. The Dry Creek Valley property, commonly referred to as Red Hawk Estates, was purchased during a public foreclosure auction earlier this month.
Ada County denied the Red Hawk Estates developer an extension to develop the land, and the developer countered with a lawsuit. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled the suit frivolous and ordered the developer to pay the county's legal fees.
After not receiving payment, the county placed a lien against the property, which eventually ended up in foreclosure with more than $1 million owed to the bank.
According to the county, purchasing the land was desirable to protect its financial interest. Money from a successful private bidder would go to the bank and not the county. Ada County suggests the parcel could connect to the Ridge to Rivers trail system or remain as open space.
Critics called the move a violation of protocol. The county responded in a May 18 release:
The suggestion that the county violated the legal requirement of Idaho Code 31-807 to obtain an appraisal prior to the purchase is not true. Commissioners did consult with the Ada County Assessor’s Office. All of the assessor’s employees work under the supervision of a licensed Idaho appraiser. The Assessor’s Office reported that the land is estimated to be worth between $1,000 and $5,000 per acre.