As expected, the Idaho House thumbed its nose to the City of Boise April 3, by voting to bypass the same rules any citizen would need follow before undergoing a construction project in the city.
The House voted 42-26 to override Boise's planning rules.
The state has designs to build a 600-space, $8 million parking garage near the Capitol. But before getting final approval on the matter through the City of Boise Planning and Zoning and Design Review, state officials proceeded to sell bonds to fund the garage. Payment on the bond is scheduled to begin sooner rather than later.
But the Boise City Council, which has the final say in the matter, doesn't meet on the issue until Tuesday, April 19.
"We need a fall-back in case this goes south," said Jeff Youtz, Legislative Services director. "But we feel it's all going to work out fine."
But that still didn't stop lawmakers from passing a measure which would allow the State of Idaho to plow through with its plans, in spite of what City of Boise officials say.
The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.ORIGINAL STORY: April 2, 2013
One of the last pieces of business before the Idaho House State Affairs Committee was one of the more controversial measures of the 2013 Idaho Legislature: an overreach of the state to bypass City of Boise rules surrounding a planned parking garage.
The State of Idaho has already sold bonds to fund a proposed $8 million garage near the Capitol,
"There are over 2,300 state employees and a little over 1,200 parking spaces currently available," Jeff Youtz, Legislative Services Director told the committee this morning. "This garage will create about 600 spaces. But we're on a pretty strict and disciplined timeline to begin paying back the bonds."
The City of Boise's Design Review Committee has already given the proposed garage the once-over and made several suggested changes.
"We met as recently as yesterday on design issues," said Youtz. "We feel it's all going to work out fine."
But the City Council, which gets the final say in the matter, won't decide on the fate of the project until Tuesday, April 19.
"And if they reject the design, we would not be able to come back to the legislature," said Youtz, referring to this week's proposed sine die.
Simply put, Youtz wants lawmakers to push through the project, even if the City of Boise still has issues.
"We need a fall-back in case this goes south," he said.
But Boise legislators on the committee weren't thrilled with the idea.
"Why should a government, with the exception of a time of war, ever be exempt from the local process?" asked Boise Democratic Rep. John Gannon.
Boise Democratic Holli High-Woodings agreed, saying, "I feel this has become an emergency to put us in a bad position that shows the wrong message to our constituents."
Even Dalton Gardens Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri said he was in the "unusual position of being on the wrong side" of his own party's leadership.
"I think it's bad form to require everyone else to go through the process and somehow the imperial government doesn't have to," said Barbieri. "Good or not, the process is there."
But Barbieri was the lone Republican to join four Democrats in voting against the measure, with 11 Republican Representatives voting aye, sending the bill to the full House for its consideration.