BOISE, Idaho — Friends of Murgoitio Park, a nonprofit formed in opposition to the City of Boise's efforts to develop housing on the Murgoitio property, are arguing FAA rules may stand in the way of developing housing on this property.
But, an official with the Boise Airport says that is not the case.
“The city has accepted FAA funding—airport improvement program grants all the way up through 2020 and those require assurances and the city’s assurances as related to this property right here is that they would maintain covenants that this property would never be developed,” David King, one of the community members who formed Friends of Murgoitio Park said.
Sean Briggs, the Boise Airport business development manager says this is not completely true.
“The Boise Airport purchased the Murgoitio property in 1992. When the airport purchased that property, airport enterprise funds were used solely for the purchase, meaning no federal grant dollars were used for the purchase,” Briggs said.
Enterprise funds are money coming from the airport solely, not from taxpayers or any federal funds. The city has received airport improvement program grants, as King said, but Briggs said these have not been related to the Murgoitio property.
“Airport improvement program grants are used for a number of things. It can include land acquisition, however, this particular parcel did not receive any airport improvement grant funding,” he said.
Briggs was not able to tell us why restrictive covenants, preventing development, were placed on the Murgoitio property when it was sold to Boise Parks and Rec, but if the city removes those restrictive covenants, it would have to pay the airport $620,000.
“The Boise Airport has to receive market value for the property for federal reasons. So with the restrictive covenant, the price that parks and rec paid the airport was that appraised value, however, if the restrictive covenant was removed, then the city would have to pay the airport fair value for the restrictive covenant being removed,” Briggs said.
Another factor Friends of Murgoitio Park has brought up is noise concerns. King cited examples from other cities where noise complaints have affected the airport.
“The number of noise complaints requires the air guard, the army guard to relocate to a different facility altogether because of the number of noise complaints,” King said.
Briggs said the Murgoitio property is in Airport Influence Area A, which allows residential development.
“The airport has an airport influence area that is based upon projected noise from the Boise Airport. Airport Influence Area A is further out meaning that residential construction could occur in that area. All new construction must have 25 decibel sound reduction built into the construction,” Briggs said.
Because of that zoning, Briggs said any noise complaints would not affect the airport or Gowen Field operations.