I have been enlightened and energized over the past 6 months as our Preserve Plantation Neighborhood organization has become engaged in the effort to stop 750 single family homes (the vast majority high-density apartment units reaching heights of 65-feet in 4 plus story buildings) from being built on 22.5 acres of our legacy golf course. If approved by the Garden City Council, this massive development would add 16% more to the population of Garden City in one fell swoop. The impacts are huge, including 5,000 additional traffic trips on State Street and 1,200 new parking spots spreading into our private community, all of which will further urbanize and cause congestion to the Gem along the River—Garden City.
I have been surprised and uplifted, and even grateful, as I have watched Garden City Employees help our group of well over 160 objectors file our paperwork and express our concerns. Over 500 pages of legal pleadings written by some of the finest legal minds in Idaho have been presented before them. I hope they listen. This is a public process and for us we are well prepared to go into the “fourth quarter”.
I am grateful for the virtuous and honorable people who serve the people of Garden City. Sadly, it takes only one or two to muddy the “symbiotic” waters.
On Monday night, June 12, 2023, Mr. David Leroy had an “Atticus Finch Moment” as he presented compelling information and evidence for 15 minutes before the Garden City Fathers, as did several of our fellow citizens and neighbors opposed to the project. Our side felt that our presentation was spectacular in “politic and law”. It easily could have fallen on deaf ears as the applicant has been before The Garden City Planning Department for four years. Trying to get our story out in 3 minute talks is difficult, but our oral and written pleadings are in the record and subject to review as we move onto future fields of engagement.
The narrative that the applicant has presented before the community and City Fathers is that the objectors are a “scared small group of disgruntled, ill-informed and misinformed citizens” who are resenting inevitable change. Our neighbors, most of whom are supporting us, are an incredible group of people who have devoted and are devoting their lives to the service of their country and communities. WE ARE NOT SCARED. Collectively our families have served in the military over 250 years as officers and enlisted in foreign countries during long deployments in wars and police actions and on ships for months and years at a time. WE ARE NOT SCARED. Others have served in private organizations—Morrison Knudsen, Hewlett Packard and Boise Cascade overseas creating wealth for their families and fellow citizens back home. They have built dams and irrigations systems, and computers and printers, and airplanes and ships. They have worked and sacrificed and taken great financial risks throughout their lives. WE ARE NOT SCARED. We have teachers and ministers and other developers supporting us. We have former State Legislators, Board Members who have served on municipal boards and our own Home Owners Association (HOA). We have judges and lawyers who have served both the corporate interests and as public defenders, and in the criminal justice system. We have raised families, watched children and loved ones die and go through cancer treatment and devoted thousands of hours to our families, children and grandchildren. We have put life’s issues into perspective. An (SAP) does not scare us. It simply angers us. This public process is not what we thought it would be.
In a letter to the City Fathers Mr. Gustafson has stated that our group has “created needless daily disruptions to the operations of The River Club.” He continues, “a misinformed yet vocal group has attempted to disrupt our community, threaten litigation against the City and disrupt the operations of the River Club”.
We have never threatened litigation against the City—ever. We have signaled our willingness to pursue any forms of review of the process including judicial review, but we hope we can reach an agreement with the applicant before that happens. The applicant has threatened me personally stating in writing that my opposition to the (SAP) was “actionable”.
I have not been on the River Club property since October 11th, except with my attorneys, precisely because I have feared such false allegations and calumnies from the applicant. Others in our group feel the same way.
We have not done any “op research” on our opponents and when presented with information that does not deal directly with the (SAP) application we have chosen not to go that route. We will continue to play by those rules. We expect and anticipate a statement by the applicant withdrawing their assertion that we are “a scared, small group of ill-informed neighbors.”
We look forward to fair engagement on the issues and not on the personalities of the parties that have different opinions. We believe that most of The City Fathers are virtuous and diligent, and I again apologize if anyone believes that I have presented the idea that all “the apples in the barrel” are rotten. In Garden City they are not.
Just the facts please.
This Op-Ed was written by Preserve Plantation Neighborhood and submitted by Dr. John Livingston. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
Tags: David Leroy, Development, Garden City, Garden City Council, Garden City Planning Department, Growth, High Density Housing, Plantation Neighborhood, Residential Development, The River Club, Traffic, Urban Development, Urban Housing