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New affordable housing in Boise on the way

Developers are working to get building plans approved, which include 201 new units on Denton Street in Boise.

BOISE, Idaho — New affordable housing is on its way to Boise — this time, near the Saint Alphonsus campus.

The plans for this building are still in its early stages. If the city gives its approval, the building on Denton Street will have 201 units, but the neighborhood association has some concerns.

“We want our neighborhood to be for everyone. That includes the people that live here and the new people coming in,” Liberty Park Neighborhood Association Vice President, Christi Perkey said.

These units would be for people who make less than 60% of the median income. According to the City of Boise, if you live by yourself, that’s about $35,000.

Developers who build affordable housing units follow a Housing Bonus Ordinance, according to City Director of Planning and Development, Tim Keane. This ordinance allows exceptions to zoning requirements, like less parking spots and taller building heights.

Denton Street is also part of a federal opportunity zone. Keane said people who choose to build affordable housing in these zones get tax incentives.

Perkey said she is not against housing for low-income people, but she is against the current building plans, which spans about 2 acres.

According to Boise City Planning, the Denton property is zoned for about 90 units, 100 less than the proposal. Perkey said she is concerned there is not enough space to accommodate all the people.

“We know that overflow parking will be all over, all over the streets,” Perkey said. “If somebody wants to come over and visit a friend, or their children, where are they gonna park?”

Perkey said privacy is also a concern.

“There will be a five-story building and when they go outside and do a barbeque or work in their yard, people will be able to see them and they’ve never had that before,” Perkey said.

Keane said while he understands neighborhood concerns, having low-income housing in central locations is important. These units are right off Emerald Street and close to public transportation.  

“Part of how this is, is how do you shape the city so that you’re addressing the housing affordability issues, but you’re doing it in a way of how people will get around, which is exactly what this is doing," Keane said.

While 200 units only makes a dent in the 27,000 affordable units the city says they needs by 2030, Keane said any progress is good progress.

“You have to do it one at a time,” Keane said. “In order to get to the goal, you have to take it one step at a time.”

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