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Supremes smack Boise garage

You want to build at the airport? Get a vote


Supremes Smack Boise garage

Everyone ready to do some more local voting? If the City of Boise pays attention to the latest ruling from the Idaho Supreme Court, you'll have to. The court ruled last week that building a new 500-space parking garage at the Boise Airport takes more than just good intentions and a great bank deal. If you're going to build something that significant and it's not an emergency, the Court ruled, then the city needs to get voter approval.

In a case legal wonks are already calling "landmark," local photographer and blogger David Frazier, together with local attorney Heather Cunningham, took the city to court last year because the city refused to take the nearly $50 million parking garage project to a public vote. "It's going to change the face of local government," Frazier said. "They're not going to be able to go around voters."

But Michael Zuzel, spokesman for Mayor Dave Bieter, told BW the city had followed the law as it had been interpreted up to now in seeking to build the project that, he said, is more than necessary at the cramped airport. "It almost seems as if cities are penalized for planning ahead," Zuzel said. The garage proposal, he said, involved no tax dollars, because its operations are funded through airport revenues.

In a statement for the four judges voting against the city, the court said additional parking at the airport may be "an important goal," it's not enough of an emergency to circumvent voter approval.