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Boise City Council delays decision on Murio Farms housing development

Boise City Council

The Boise City Council delayed a decision on a proposed 3,500-unit housing development called Murio Farms in southwest Boise. At a hearing on Tuesday, landowners pushed back against a denial recommendation made this spring by the city Planning and Zoning Commission.

Planning and Zoning commissioners balked at traffic projections showing lots of congestion and a deficit of projected tax revenue to cover the costs of city services its residents will use.

Deborah Nelson, the attorney for the Murgoitio family who owns the land, said the financial analysis most recently done by the city used inaccurate numbers.

“We have pointed out three incorrect assumptions that just those could flip this analysis,” said Nelson. “And if the city wants compact development here, you have an opportunity to correct just those things.”

City staff say the numbers are conservative to avoid issues if the housing market corrects, and reflect planned growth in the city police force. The city says a previous analysis, which showed Murio Farms would operate in the black, was out of date.

Local neighborhood associations opposed the development, citing the general lack of infrastructure in the area: congested roads, few commercial opportunities and crowded schools - especially nearby Mountain View High School.

But the development itself - a 20 year plan which first requires the city annex the property between Cole and Maple Grove roads - checks a lot of boxes for what councilors want to accommodate Boise’s growth: mixed density housing, parks, open space and bike infrastructure.

The Murgoitio family has now also offered to help fund public transportation expansion to the development through Valley Regional Transit.

There have been roughly five revisions to the proposal since it was first formally submitted in 2021, and the council this week voted unanimously to create one more - directing staff and developers to return to work finding common ground on financial projections, solidifying road infrastructure improvement plans with the Ada County Highway District and being “serious about affordability within some percentage of the housing units,” said Council president Colin Nash.

“Not interested in reverse engineering this to get it to? Yes, but I do want to challenge some assumptions about levels of service around police. And if there are other really conservative or aspirational assumptions that we're making. Ask staff to look a little bit harder,” said Nash.

Another work session for the proposed Murio Farms will be held in the coming months, with another public hearing and decision by the council to follow.

Troy Oppie is a reporter and local host of 'All Things Considered' for Boise State Public Radio News.

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