BOISE, Idaho — Bonnie Hardey is mad, mad at the City of Boise and what could become of her neighborhood.
“This is wrong, the City’s wrong,” Hardey said, “and they shouldn’t be doing this.”
Hardey is concerned about Lincoln Property Company’s proposal to build seven warehouses behind her neighborhood. She lives in Blue Valley Mobile Home Park – which has about 200 homes.
The mobile home park is located on the south side of town, off Eisenman Road. The 1.19 million-square-foot development butts up against the back of the park.
People who live in Blue Valley, like Hardey, have concerns about what this means for their quality of life. Warren Kline has lived in the neighborhood for four years; he said the warehouses would sit directly behind his house.
Kline said he is concerned about how the development would increase traffic. He is also worried about dust from construction blowing over.
“It would disrupt the homey type feeling that we have,” Kline said.
Construction is a point of contention for Hardey. The excavation process could possibly shake up the foundation of their homes. She said the developer has to dynamite blast the area in order to start building.
Hardey said they requested a bond from the city for any damages from construction. But that request was denied.
As for why they are in this situation in the first place, Hardey blames the city’s zoning code. The mobile home park sits in an area labeled as a “light industrial zone.”
That allows for development, like LPC’s proposed “East Port Industrial” to become a reality, she said. The property for the development is zoned as M2, which is classified as a "heavy industrial zone."
Residents of Blue Valley want to be zoned as “residential.”
“We’re not saying we don’t want buildings next to us,” Hardey said. “We’re saying make appropriate building next to us.”
In their proposal, developers say they want warehouses, trucking docks, tractor trailer storage and room for semi-trucks.
Lori Dicaire, Intermountain Fair Housing Council spokesperson, said the city needs to ensure their communities are protected before inviting various industries in.
Blue Valley is home to vulnerable populations and has a substantial amount of people with disabilities. In fact, she said people with disabilities make up one-third of the neighborhood.
Dicaire said she is worried about potential toxins and diesel fumes from trucking operations in the industrial park impacting those neighbors’ health.
“A massive industrial development of this scale has the potential to exacerbate their disabilities [and] possibly result in basically what we call constructive eviction,” she said, “where they’re basically displaced from their homes just based on the potential environmental degradation that could happen from development of this scale.”
In a letter to the city, developers said developing the property for industrial use has been discussed for decades.
Blue Valley’s comments influenced the ultimate “design of the Project as it relates to orientation of buildings, materials and appearances, and the proposed phasing of the Project,” according to the letter.
Residents appealed the city’s Design Review committee’s approval of this proposal in May. Hardey said the Planning and Zoning Commission denied the appeal Monday.
This is not the first time Blue Valley has experienced something like this. Just three years ago, Dicaire said a similar development was almost built in the neighborhood’s backyard.
The city eventually decided to put it somewhere else, she said.
Blue Valley residents are currently working with an attorney. Their next appeal goes to City Council, where they will have another public hearing, Hardey said.
At the very earliest, she said the city council could reach a decision in a month and a half, but there is also the possibility it could take up to nine months.
Hardey said they will not stop fighting.
“We’re going to appeal it this time to the City Council,” she said. “And if we have to go further, we will. We may seem insignificant to the city, but we’ve got a loud voice.”
KTVB reached out to city planners for comment on Wednesday but did not hear anything back.
KTVB also reached out to the applicant of the proposal late Wednesday evening, but has yet to receive a response.
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