The Boise Airport wants to re-zone 153 acres in southwest Boise — but not everyone is on board

Boise Airport
Posted at 11:29 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 13:31:05-05

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise Airport is asking the City of Boise Planning and Zoning Commission to re-zone 153.05 acres of land in southwest Boise for future development and use.

The six parcels of land proposed for re-zoning are zone A-1 and A-2.

Proposed land for use

According to the City of Boise Planning and Zoning code, those zones are for open land.

  • A-1 (Open Lands, Parks): Zone intended for larger land areas for development such as parks, schools, golf courses, agriculture and rural residential neighborhoods. This zone is also used as a holding zone until development occurs.
  • A-2 (Open Land, Reserve): Zone intended for permanent open space and to properly guide growth on the fringe areas of the city. This may include lands for open space uses such as floodways, riparian areas, steep slopes and flood control facilities.

The Boise Open Space Alliance would like more transparency surrounding the details of the plans the airport has for future development, especially with the A-2 parcels.

"When you develop something, you should bring forth development plans along with the re-zones, that's clear and transparent about what's going to be built, how big it's going to be built, how it's going to impact the environment, how it's going to impact the neighbors, none of that has occurred," said Gregg Russell, president of the Boise Open Space Alliance.

At Monday night's Boise Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, an Airport representative said any discussion with developers has been broad.

The Boise Airport released a statement to Idaho News 6 saying in part:

"The Boise Airport is seeking a rezone of 6 parcels of land totaling 153.05 acres. Rezoning the properties to light industrial would be an approved airport land use and is in accordance with the Boise City Comprehensive Plan (Blueprint Boise)—which has this land earmarked for future industrial use. The airport is seeking this rezone as a first step. There are no building plans developed or confirmed tenants for the property at this time."
The Boise Airport

Related: Some Boise wells are drying up amid rapid development. What’s going on?

Last summer, Idaho News 6 reported on how wells in Southwest Boise were drying up. A key factor was because of the amount of open space being developed is making it harder for shallow aquifers to refill, something BOSA is concerned about as well.

"We talked with a lot of neighbors out there who have been monitoring their wells and it's kind of been a mix, some neighbors have said I've definitely have seen a drop, others haven't seen it as much," Russell said. "I think it goes back to the due diligence of the study and the birds of prey are also out here, when you walk out on the land you see the animals, you see the birds flying out there. Have they done studies on how that loss of habitat is going to impact them?"

The Boise Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to defer the decision at the request of the Airport representative so they could consult with Airport leadership on whether a development agreement would be needed.

The commission will revisit the topic at their Feb. 14 meeting.