A few dozen members of the Central Foothills Neighborhood Association journeyed Wednesday morning to the Idaho Supreme Court to see if developers could convince the high court to lift barriers to a proposed development. Construction of as many as 130 housing units has been proposed on private land in the Boise Foothills above Hillside Junior High School, but attorneys for the city of Boise argued there is no easement in place to get to it. Accessing the property would require cutting through the city-owned Quail Hollow Golf Course and land owned by the Boise School District. An Ada County Court has already ruled in favor of the city's argument but developers have pushed their case to the Idaho Supreme Court.
"It's very difficult to guess how the Supreme Court might rule on this. I can tell you that there were a lot of questions asked by a few of the justices this morning," said Emily Boerner, who joined other foothills neighbors to witness the hearing Wednesday.
She said most of the questions came from newly-elected Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robyn Brody.
"Judge Brody asked a lot of questions about plats and easements. There are so many nuances in real estate law," said Boerner.
"We'll be anxious to see what the justices decide, but it could easily be months before we hear their ruling," she added.
ORIGINAL STORY: May 3, 2017 6 a.m.
Residents of the Central Foothills Neighborhood Association won't be afforded an opportunity to speak before the Idaho Supreme Court when, on Wednesday, May 3, the high court considers a lawsuit over access to the Boise Foothills. Neighbors aren't even a party to the suit, in which developers say they need access between Hillside Park and the Quail Hollow Golf Course in order to build 120-130 units on foothill ridges.
"We totally understand that there are 63 acres of private property which has been zoned for development," said foothills resident Emily Boerner. "But this is about access."
Partnerships Boise Hollow Land Holding and Bedard and Musser are suing the city of Boise because the city has refused to expand an easement into the private property. It turns out that Ada County officials had insisted appropriate roads would need to be developed in order to provide access for emergency vehicles into the proposed development.
"And indeed, a lower Ada County Court ruling agreed with the city of Boise that the city didn't have to create a special easement," said Boerner. "And if the developers ever got their way with that easement, they would probably have to take land from the city of Boise on one side and the Boise School District on the other side to expand the road. The school district owns the one side of the property because it's part of Hillside Junior High."
Sitting nearby is Quail Hollow Golf Course, donated to the city of Boise in December 2013 and which saw its busiest season ever in 2016. That, in turn, inspired the developers to pursue the construction of 120 units on their private land just above the golf course.
"Is this a line in the sand for this development? Let's see," said Boerner. "But you can bet that a lot of us will be in court to watch. Stay tuned."