BOISE, Idaho — Rapid population growth has impacted the Treasure Valley in many ways over the last several years. Those include heavier traffic, higher home prices and strains on city and county services, to name a few.
According the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Boise grew by nearly 32,000 people over the last decade-plus from nearly 206,000 in 2010 to more than 237,000 in July of 2021. The challenge for city leaders in managing that growth is how to do it appropriately to meet the needs of the people while preserving the essential character of the city.
The city of Boise has a new person in charge of leading that effort. Tim Keane became the city's planning and development services director in March. Mayor Lauren McLean selected him after a nationwide search. Keane has served as the chief planning executive for Davidson, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, and most recently, Atlanta, Georgia.
When she announced her selection of Keane, Mayor McLean said, "Tim Keane brings visionary leadership and a depth of experience that will help him guide our city's development as we grow, protecting what makes us unique and helping ensure we are a resilient and vibrant city for everyone."
On this week's Viewpoint, Keane explained his philosophy on growth. Here is an excerpt from the interview.
"I think that growth is good, actually," Keane said. "Whether it's inevitable or not, we're lucky to have the growth that we're having. I mean the issues related to growth are challenging and they require us to think differently and come to different solutions, but honestly they're better than the ones we'd be facing if we weren't growing. I feel like we need to, and the planning departments in the city are substantially responsible for this, we need to take this conversation where it should be, which is how can we ensure that we are taking this growth that's happening and using it as a mechanism to create a better city that is addressing these big issues like housing affordability and mobility and so forth, conservation. We can do that. It's not that we can't do that. We can. It's just that so far the discussion has just been about everything related to growth just makes my life worse."
The city of Boise is in the middle of a re-write of zoning code. On Vewpoint Keane talks about the keys to getting it right. Viewpoint airs Sunday mornings at 9 o'clock on KTVB NewsChannel 7.
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