Town on paper

Dry Creek Ranch up for sale before county vote


Land Baron Investments, the Las Vegas-based owners of 1,414.9 acres of undeveloped land along Dry Creek, want Ada County commissioners to sign off on the likes of a new town at their next public hearing.

But the developers have also been looking for someone to take this "planned community"—which lies in a bucolic valley east of Highway 55 and south of the Shadow Valley Golf Course—off their hands.

The polished plans for 4,300 homes and significant commercial and community space—presumably enough to support the future residents of 4,300 homes—are laid out in a 70-page document on Colliers International's Boise real estate listings.

It can all be had for a mere $58 million. Entitlements may or may not be included, pending the Dec. 3 meeting.

The owner of Land Baron, Dry Creek's project manager, who is traveling, and Colliers did not return phone calls to BW.

When Leslie Nona first saw Land Baron's plans in 2006, she realized that an area more densely settled than the city of Eagle with 10 times the population projected by the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho could soon appear along her rural road, in an area where she has ridden horses since she was a child.

"We felt it was a small city that would have a difficult time sustaining itself," said Nona, president of the Dry Creek Rural Neighborhood Association, a group of about 50 area residents that opposes the Dry Creek Ranch development.

On June 19, the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission split 2-2 on the Dry Creek Ranch development plan and on the zoning changes from rural residential and rural preservation land to a planned community district required.

At P&Z, a tie is an automatic denial and moves up to the Board of County Commissioners, which will hear from the public a third time at 6 p.m. on Dec. 3, after which a vote on the proposal is scheduled.

Ada County development services has recommended approving the project, asserting that the developer met a long list of conditions required for planned communities.

County planners believe that the developer has made adequate provisions for increased traffic and compensated for the significant loss of wildlife habitat.

But Nona, along with several other neighborhood associations, the cities of Boise and Eagle (which have both voiced major concerns with traffic and density), the Ada County Highway District, the Idaho Transportation Department, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and a long list of individuals have specific complaints about the development's impacts.

Nona worries about area wells, the character of Dry Creek and all the people that use Highway 55, State Street, Chinden Boulevard or any other street that future Dry Creek Ranch residents may want to use.

"What concerns me is that a lot of the downstream neighborhoods will be hugely impacted by this," she said.

And she points out, Dry Creek is just one of a slew of planned communities slated for the Eagle-Northwest Boise area, including Avimor, just up the hill on Highway 55.

One quality the developers do not want to alter is the horse culture: The plan includes 166 new horse properties.