Zoning Code Rewrite

Boise Working Together opposes the Zoning Code Rewrite (ZCR) as currently shown as Modules 1, 2, and 3 on city websites.  As an organization, we do not oppose changes to Boise’s zoning overall.  However, the ZCR fails broadly as it combines markedly increased land use impacts in conjunction with substantial limitations on public input.

Excluding meaningful public input is harmful to local government process and transparency, and squanders local, site-specific knowledge over an eighty square mile expanse with strong geographic inequalities in political representation.

Moreover, less public input makes it likely that the environmental quality and other livability components of Boise’s Comprehensive Plan will continue to be applied inequitably, with the consequence of increasing rather than decreasing disparity in the quality of life across neighborhoods, as regional inequities in property values and incomes are exacerbated.

Boise community leaders have long called for encoding more of Blueprint Boise into our Zoning Code, but the ZCR fails to make headway in incorporating the cherished quality of life policies into enforceable code.  Failure to take this opportunity to encode these policies in the ZCR concomitant with entitling higher land use impacts may forfeit our ability to achieve these public goals in the future, as once private property is entitled, restricting its use may be challenged as a legal taking.

The same holds true for affordability – the ZCR represents the potential of thousands of rezones, each which could be an opportunity for negotiation for affordable units in the form of a Development Agreement.

The responsibility of getting it right for the thousands of simultaneously granted entitlements is extraordinary.

Because the ZCR is still a fluid document that we hope will continue to evolve, we have yet to fully embrace a detailed position, though it is clear that much work still needs to be done to capture the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls of such a massive undertaking.