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Meridian moves forward on new housing, office building projects

The planned apartments will have 396 units and a variety of amenities, including a pool, spa, sand volleyball and a resident lounge.
Credit: Brian Myrick / Idaho Press
Meridian City Hall

MERIDIAN, Idaho — This story originally ran in the Idaho Press.

Just a few years ago, land south of Interstate 84 and east of Eagle Road was cornfields.

Now, the fields of corn are giving way to real estate development as the Treasure Valley’s population grows.

On Tuesday, Meridian’s City Council moved forward on new apartments and office buildings near the planned Topgolf, the Idaho Press reports. The council also moved forward on proposed U-Haul buildings near Overland and Locust Grove Road.

The Council approved the open space requirement relief, an annexation with commercial zoning, a preliminary plat and a conditional use permit for the apartments.

“That was the Farmstead property,” Councilmember Jessica Perreault said. “It’s hard to see what was there turn into hard black concrete.”

The planned apartments will have 396 units and a variety of planned amenities, including a pool, spa, sand volleyball and a resident lounge.

The applicant requested relief from per-unit open space requirements. The apartments are planned to have no private open space for the 48 studio apartments and a lower range of open space for the other apartments. Normally, the code requires a minimum of 80 square feet and options include porches, patio decks and enclosed yards.

“(No private space) is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing,” Council President Brad Hoaglun said during the meeting. “But that means others will follow and it’s going to happen elsewhere.”

Later, Hoaglun said the consideration will have to be on a case-by-case basis.

“We know a lot of urban areas that they don’t have those outside balconies or patios, that’s just the nature of downtown,” Hoaglun said. “It is hard to adjust that thinking for Meridian because we have this picture of Meridian still being (a) small town and we are changing.”

Councilmember Treg Bernt commended the applicant for changing things up.

“I don’t think that there is anything wrong with a developer coming up with something that’s outside the box, that is completely different than what maybe our code says, and cast that vision,” Bernt said.

Meridian, like the rest of the Treasure Valley, is facing a housing shortage.

“We need rentals,” applicant Jon Wardle said. “We need housing … but we don’t need to hit the minimum bar. We need to be looking at what is meeting the lifestyle needs as best we see fit today.”

Meridian has grown substantially over the last couple decades and Wardle expects more growth in this specific area, where Topgolf is under construction and other office or retail buildings have been built.

“I can see that there would be a flurry of activity between the apartment projects that we will have and at least one of those office buildings in the next 12 months,” Wardle said.

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