The Boise City Council voted unanimously in favor of new zoning code regulations during a special meeting after three days of testimony, information, and discussion.
Mayor Lauren McLean participated in the proceedings, but did not cast a vote. The six members of the Council – President Holli Woodings, President Pro Tem Jimmy Hallyburton, Member Latonia Haney Keith, Member Colin Nash, Member Luci Willits, and Member Patrick Bageant – all voted to change the ordinances pertaining to future development of Boise.
The special meeting agenda contained only the zoning changes:
2023-06-15 City Council - Public Agenda-5226
1. ZOA23-00001 / City of Boise / Zoning Ordinance Amendment of Boise City Code Title 11 and the adoption of a new Zoning Map.
2. CPA23-00001 / City of Boise / A Comprehensive Plan Amendment with text changes to ensure the comprehensive plan accurately reflects the new zoning districts
Much of the discussion was on affordable housing, increasing the ability to walk and bike around Boise, aiming for a “car-free lifestyle,” diversity of citizens, and mixed-income housing options.
A group called Boise Working Together (BWT) funded a project called Reject Boise Upzone! The group protested at City Hall on June 10. Their Facebook page explained the purpose of the rally was to,
“….tell the Mayor and City Council that the proposed changes tilt the balance of power too far in favor of developers, investors, and the entire growth industry while sacrificing Boiseans’ quality of life and ability to have a say about how our own community grows!”
photo courtesy of Daniel Murphy
Many of the people who protested over the weekend attended the Council meetings wearing the bright yellow tee shirts and testified against the new zoning regulations. Dave Kangas, pictured here, leads BWT and Reject Boise Upzone.
photo by David Pettinger of Idaho Dispatch
The group voiced several concerns about the new zoning proposals. Two of them addressed on their website include,
“Two members of our six-member city council were appointed by the mayor in April 2023 and not elected by public vote. It is undemocratic to allow this city council to vote on such a wide-reaching and long-lasting zoning code change.”
“Smaller minimum lot sizes, increased building heights, and reduced parking requirements the Upzone proposes are not compatible with most of our existing neighborhoods or the goals of Blueprint Boise.
Reducing the minimum lot size from 5,000 square feet to 3,500 square feet in R1-C zones will encourage the demolition of perfectly good homes to allow lot splits.”
After hearing from all interested parties, the Council members spoke very favorably of the changes.
“There are so many great things that this plan will do…. The decisions I’m making tonight are 100% based off the kids in our community.” -President Pro Tem Hallyburton
Council Member Willits said during her remarks,
“We need lots of different kinds of housing. Choice is fundamental to the American way… We should give citizens every kind of choice possible…. Are we reducing red tape? Are we allowing the market to innovate?… Are we helping private property owners to invest in Boise families? When I look at this overall, the answer is yes to all of those.”
Council Member Nash added,
“This is pretty damn good. I’m proud to be casting a vote in favor of it.”
Idaho Dispatch published opinion editorials regarding this topic in March 2023. You can find those here:
Tags: Affordable housing, Boise City Council, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean, Boise Working Together, Colin Nash, Comprehensive Plan, Dave Kangas, Development, High Density Housing, Holli Woodings, Jimmy Hallyburton, Latonia Haney Keith, Luci Willits, Ordinance, Patrick Bageant, Planning and Zoning, Upzone Boise, Zoning