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Boise Planning and Zoning Commission Denies Highlands Subdivision, Developers Appeal

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ACHD predicted 60 more homes would contribute to 600 more vehicle trips per day in the Highlands. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • ACHD predicted 60 more homes would contribute to 600 more vehicle trips per day in the Highlands.
The city of Boise's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Sept. 14 discussed whether to approve or deny an application for a 60-home subdivision in the Highlands. It lasted until 2 o'clock in the morning. Ultimately, the commissioners voted 5-0 to deny the application.

"[It] was a significant win," said Krista Lyons, a neighbor in the area who has been especially vocal in her opposition for the new subdivision. 

The subdivision—called Highlands Cove—would stretch along the hillsides between 15th Street and Braemere Road, along the far edge of Crane creek Golf Course.

When it was first introduced to the Ada County Highway District Commission for approval on June 24, public testimony lasted more than three hours in overwhelming opposition of the development. It went before ACHD commissioners again on Aug. 5 and again, more than 100 people turned out to listen to commissioners come to a decision.

Ultimately, ACHD commissioners decided to approve the application on Aug. 5—much to the audible disgust of their audience. 

Then, the application went before the Planning and Zoning commission, which took up the issue on the already heavily-packed night of Sept. 14. The subdivision wasn't even brought up until 10:15 p.m. After more hours of testimony, the commission unanimously voted to deny the application.

"It was largely related to traffic and transportation concerns," said Leon Letson, a Boise city planner. "[The roads] are old, there aren't a lot of sidewalks, there are blind curves. The commission recognized there are issues in the area and dealing with this project would push those issues in a direction that's unacceptable."

Letson was surprised at the vote. The Planning and Zoning Department passed the application along to the commission with a recommendation to approve it. Instead, the commission denied the planned unit development, the hillside application (which deals with any work in a hillside, examining the drainage and the grade) and the subdivision as a whole. 

On Sept. 25, the developers filed for an appeal to be taken up by the Boise City Council. There, the council will look closely at the Planning and Zoning Commission's decision and decide whether it's right or wrong. It's unclear when exactly the council will take up the issue.