Boise tank farm off Curtis Road could be getting a major facelift in the future

Posted at 10:16 PM, Mar 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 00:16:52-04

BOISE — The giant oil tanks sitting off of Curtis Road could be getting a new home in the coming years.

An owner of some of those tanks says conversations with the city are in order about the relocation, and the city tells us it's up to the companies to make the final decision. But one thing is for sure; residents in the area surrounding the tank farm are pushing for the relocation big time.

When you say the words “farm land”, it's not very often you think of 50-acres worth of oil tanks. But, here the tank farm sits, at the corner of Curtis and Bethel, right near the geographic heart of Boise.

"It is an industrial area inside of a residential area and it blocks quite a few things from our neighborhood," said Randy Johnson, President of the Central Bench Neighborhood Association.

One of the things it blocks, is residential growth, which is a big reason ideas of moving the massive farm to a location near the Boise Airport, have been in order for years.

"It's not a very compatible use for that neighborhood. We've got lots of businesses, we've got the hospital there, lots of residences in the area as well, it's a pretty heavy industrial use in that space," said Mike Journee, Spokesman for City of Boise.

The location of the tank farm raises some concerns with residents for their safety, "Right down the street here is Phillippi Street, and it's designated by ACHD as a bike/ped, a bikeway. But we have triple length fuel trucks coming out," said Johnson. But also concerns that the land where the big industrial plant sits could be used to for things like bringing affordable housing to a place where income is low, "The median income of my neighborhood association is about $29,000. Compared to about the city of Boise is $55,000," said Johnson.

So while very preliminary, the city of Boise, and the Boise Airport have all been leading discussions over the last few months with the three different owners of the plants, and the city says decisions on a big move are up to those oil companies.

"We're trying to take a look and see if this is financially feasible, taking a look and seeing what kind of environmental concerns there might be and challenges that might be there," said Journee.

And because it isn't easy to just up and relocate all of those oil tanks, no timeline has been set, nor has a final decision been made.

We spoke with the Senior Vice President of Sinclair Companies, one of the tank owners, who said they expect to have a follow-up conversation with the city in April.