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City of Boise asking for community feedback on zoning code rewrite

Boise zoning map
Posted at 5:45 AM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 09:45:02-05

BOISE, Idaho — Updates are coming to where and how development can occur in the City of Boise as the city rewrites its zoning code.

This is a project that started back in 2019. The goal is to update the zoning code and make changes so it matches the city's comprehensive plan, Blueprint Boise.

"The purpose of the zoning code rewrite is to really align the needs the community is having right now whether that's increasing housing choice, increasing connectivity via different transportation modals," Lindsay Moser with the City of Boise said.

The first installment of the rewrite was released last spring and now the City is asking for feedback on the second installment.

Boise Mayor, Lauren McLean created a citywide advisory committee to act as a sounding board for ideas throughout the zoning code rewrite process. One of the members of the committee is Patrick spouts, who said he sees three goals to the zoning code rewrite.

"Clearer rules and more predictability, find some moderate ways to increase housing affordability, while also maintaining neighborhood character in the general space," he said.

He said adding more housing can eventually increase the amount of affordable housing as well.

Here's what's in the rewrite: The first installment reduced the number of zoning districts, created mixed-use zones in some areas and allowed for more types of housing.

"Today you could build a single-family dwelling or a duplex, the proposal expands those housing choices to allow for single-family duplex, triplex and fourplex," Andrea Tuning, the senior comprehensive planner with the City of Boise, said.

The second installment of the rewrite suggests changes to the city's design and development standards. This includes reducing the minimum lot size for new residential development, meaning more residential buildings could be built over the same amount of land.

The rewrite would also change density requirements from a formula to criteria that has to be met.

"It focuses on more what we've heard the community tell us is important to them. So, they have said, we care where the building is located, we care how the building looks and feels as you're walking or driving down the roadway," Tuning said.

In addition to minimum lot size, the criteria would be things like building height and parking.

The rewrite also changes parking requirements.

"Currently today, a single-family home or a duplex would be required to provide two parking stalls per unit but we are proposing that we actually provide one off-street parking space instead of two for those types of uses, Tuning said. "

Another proposed change is one designed to protect current neighborhoods.

"If a development is near a neighborhood, making sure that it integrates well and it doesn't provide privacy issues or shading of their home," Tuning said.

The community engagement events start Tuesday evening with the central bench neighborhood.

"We'll have a presentation that we will present, you know, a lot of the major changes within the executive summary, and again trying to have an open conversation with how they feel about some of these changes, maybe things that are important to them that we might have missed in some of these major changes," Moser said.

The reason the events are broken down by neighborhood is because city officials will break down what the rewrite means for your specific neighborhood. There are also some more general, citywide sessions.

More information about the events is available here.