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P&Z approves application that could convert Boise assisted living facility into apartments

“Most of these people have literally nowhere else to go,” one person who testified at Monday’s City of Boise Planning and Zoning Meeting said.

BOISE, Idaho — On Monday, family members of those living at the Arbor Village at Hillcrest Assisted Living Facility attended the City of Boise Planning and Zoning Meeting, both in person and online. 

“Most of these people have literally nowhere else to go,” one person who testified at Monday’s meeting said.

The site is currently being used as an assisted living facility. The applicant plans to use the existing building to convert it to multi-family housing with minimal changes to the site, according to the recording from the Planning and Zoning Meeting. 

The applicant is proposing 77 units, but some loved ones of those living in the facility now are upset.

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“It seems to me there seems to be no mention of the human element of this," one person who testified at Monday's meeting said. "This place is occupied by 100 people, every one of whom are elderly, half of them are in wheelchairs -- they have no place else to go."

Another concerned citizen who testified at the City of Boise meeting said his mother-in-law lives at the facility. 

He and his wife found out about the application after seeing an article online last week. He said residents like his mother-in-law are unaware of what could potentially happen.

“Are they going to help people find a place? How are they going to find a place are they going to help them move? It's just mind blowing," he said. "I implore you, please don’t let this happen.”  

Those in attendance representing the owner and applicant said they are aware of the concerns and said it is still early in the process.

“Here today, we're merely looking to see if this use is compatible with this zone and the surrounding area,” a representative for the owners and applicant said.

The representative added they are sensitive to the concerns and needs of the residents.

“If this does proceed and they decide this is a feasible project, there will be a transition plan in place that will provide plenty of notice and timeline and they are dedicated to using their resources and their relationships within the community to find spaces for each resident, before they start construction," the representative said. 

Planning and Zoning voted 4-1 and approved the application, because under Boise City Code, it met ordinance criteria. The criteria includes if the location is compatible to other uses in the neighborhood and if it places an undue burden on transportation and other nearby public facilities. 

“It's really difficult to separate the emotions from this and it sounds like has been some poor communications,” Commissioner Meredith Stead said. “However, I see this fits the criteria for approval, so I see we need to move forward with that.” 

Commissioner Bob Schafer was in agreement.

“This is a land use body, we look at land use, we look at zoning requirements … I don’t see a way we can’t approve this," Schafer said. "I sympathize strongly with the residents, I just don’t see how we can deny this based on our requirements within the code."

KTVB reached out to Arbor Village at Hillcrest Assisted Living about this and was told no one was available to speak on the subject. 

So, what's next?

The City of Boise Planning and Zoning told KTVB a design review app will still need to be reviewed, which is typically a two-week process. Then, construction permits would also still be needed. 

Those who testified at Monday's meeting can also appeal the plan with the City of Boise.

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