Just before adjourning for the year, the 2013 Idaho Legislature took a moment to thumb its nose at the city of Boise by passing a bill—which has since been signed into law by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter—which bypasses city rules surrounding a planned parking garage. Simply put, state lawmakers gave themselves the authority to push the parking garage project through, even if the city of Boise still has issues regarding its design.
And, it turns out, the city has plenty of issues with the plan. When the Boise City Council meets this coming Tuesday, April 16, it'll be drawn into the city versus state flap.
"We need a fall-back in case this goes south," Legislative Services director Jeff Youtz told the House State Affairs Committee earlier this month. "This garage will create about 600 spaces. But we're on a pretty strict and disciplined timeline to begin paying back the bonds."
Youtz explained that the state of Idaho had already sold bonds to fund the proposed $8 million garage and payments were due sooner than later.
But the city's Design Review Committee found the design of the parking structure "incompatible with the surrounding area" and the structure was "not designed to adequately address the public view." Additionally, property owners across from the proposed structure argued that the architecture and massing were not in keeping with the Capitol Mall.
In its presentation to the Boise City Council, the Planning and Zoning Commission and Design Review Committee stood by their rejections of the original plans, leaving it up to the Council to determine if additional conditions of approval need to be set. If more conditions are added, the Council is then expected to take up the issue one more time on Tuesday, April 30.
Neither party has hinted about a possible court battle over the issue. But the public will get a chance to weigh in on the issue Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Ironically, the Council will be meeting in the State Capitol's West Wing Auditorium—its home away from home while Council chambers are renovated at City Hall.