The results of the County’s efforts to gather residents’ input, is a plan that truly reflects the heart of its communities. Blaine County 2025 was nominated by three citizen groups for this award because through their involvement they felt that much ownership and by-in to the plan itself. In recent years Blaine County has experienced record-breaking residential and commercial growth resulting in scarce affordable housing, traffic congestion, and a threat to agricultural and ranching lands and livelihoods.
The plan reflects the communities’ desire to protect their spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and their working farms and ranches. It does this by implementing many smart growth measures. It focuses growth in and near existing towns and infrastructure, down-zones remote and rural agricultural lands, creates a new, voluntary Transfer of Development Rights program, establishes an affordable housing ordinance, creates a Mountain Overlay District for wildlife protection. Such bold measures would have been difficult to take without strong support from the community.
Harris Ranch – Mixed Use Award
Harris Ranch lies in the Barber Valley in the eastern most portion of the City of Boise. This valley, although a logical place for Boise to grow, is also the last undeveloped ground between the foothills and the Boise River. This project achieves the necessary balance in this important location between what was and what will become through developing a true mixed-use community.
Through design, density, a good jobs and housing balance, diversity in housing, and a well-connected transportation system that encourages walking, biking, and transit while offering efficiency for the driver, and schools, Harris Ranch achieves the balance necessary to create a new, vibrant community just 5 miles from downtown while respecting the wildlife and desire for open space.
Once complete, Harris Ranch promises to become one of Boise’s best planned communities, achieving smart growth in every aspect of the development from preservation to transportation, providing a mix of uses, appropriate land use, and a vibrancy that can sustain itself over time.
City of Greenleaf Comprehensive Plan – Planning and Policy Award
“Greenleaf is a living example of how good governance arises from an environment where the citizens are aware daily of what sustains them: the land, family, and community with neighbors.” This statement is reflected in a comprehensive plan with a community vision to preserve active agriculture lands, designate open spaces to preserve wildlife habitat areas, preserve existing neighborhoods and provide for pedestrian and bicycle transportation.
The plan calls for Greenleaf to “plan for growth while retaining its rural identity.” It strives to do this through various mechanisms such as creating a buffer of light industrial and retail as it creates higher density and mix use development in its central business district. Smart Growth strategies are implemented in every aspect of the plan from the use of New Urbanism principles that place pedestrians on an equal basis with the automobile, preserving regional transportation corridors, coordinating service and utility planning with residential development to development of land use patterns that can protect open space, agricultural lands and existing neighborhoods.
Greenleaf provides an example to other communities in Idaho for how to ‘Grow Smart.’
CitySide Lofts – Attached Residential Infill Award
Located in downtown Boise Idaho, CitySide Lofts is a dense urban-style multifamily project on a downtown brownfield site. It exemplifies smart growth by bringing 77 new owner-occupied condo units to downtown Boise within walking distance of jobs and all other downtown services and achieves a very high level of density at 88 units per acre. Yet even with this density the project manages to not appear massive by using sensitive architectural design. Parking is underground and access via an alley, thus being invisible to the passerby.
This project represents a unique collaboration between the City’s redevelopment agency and The Hosac Company by joining CCDC’s commitment to create owner-occupied residential in the downtown market with the Developer’s experience in the neighborhood. Cityside Lofts is a pioneering effort as the first large-scale residential development in downtown Boise in decades, the first to follow CCDC’s Downtown Housing Initiative, and the first to use a new Boise City code allowing a new type of framing over a concrete foundation which enables the developer to add another floor while containing cost and keeping the price more affordable and competitive in the downtown market where development costs are higher than outlying areas.
Latah Street Infill Project – Single Family Residential Infill Award
Amid all the controversy around substandard lot development in this neighborhood and around the City, Developer Jay Story managed to gain the support of the Vista Neighborhood for these four homes built on substandard lots. He did this through design and location. As neighborhood revitalization project these homes replaced 2 run down lots and an auto shop in the midst of one of Boise’s older neighborhoods that is transitioning from a former suburb to an inner urban neighborhood.
The homes incorporate smart growth at every turn, including increasing density on a collector that is a transit route, design that was sensitive to the existing homes and uses, and building one of the first residential projects to utilize green building techniques and receiving certification through the national Green Building Council. Landscaping is drought resistant and designed for low water use, environmentally preferred products were used in construction, and incorporated energy and water efficiency.
Linen District – Commercial Infill Award
The Linen District located on the edge of downtown Boise provides the heart of a new urban neighborhood in area that was in decline. This project is an excellent example of re-use and revitalization. Developer, David Hale chose to use existing structures rather than demolish them, thus retaining the historic character of the district, while bringing them back to life. The Linen Building is the center piece of the District, built originally as a school, it later became a laundry facility, and now has been renovated to hold events such as weddings, concerts and seminars.
Many of the buildings in the area had stood empty or were underutilized for several years. The Linen District is part of an urban renewal district planned by Boise’s urban renewal agency, but the success owner Hale has been able to achieve far surpasses the expectations of the agency. What was once an auto-oriented area in decline has now become a center for new urban life, day and night. Located around Grove Street, a slower local street, the District has increased pedestrian and bicycle activity in the area. The area is served by transit, bike routes, sidewalks, and is walking distance from nearby residential neighborhoods and the heart of downtown.
Canyon County Growth Management Rural Partnership – Other
The communities of Wilder, Parma, Middleton, Melba and Greenleaf take a unique approach to creating better, smarter growth with this Partnership. Challenged by the rapid growth Canyon County is experiencing, these rural communities find themselves overwhelmed, lacking adequate resources to address the growth in a manner which will preserve the quality of life they currently enjoy.
While these Cities recognize the benefits growth can bring to their communities through jobs and an increased tax base, they also have the foresight to know that without good comprehensive planning, growth also threatens the communities they know and love with lose of their rural character, increased tax burdens, strained infrastructure, and piecemeal development. This partnership which has been developed with assistance from Sage Community Resources shows that these five Cities recognize the need for regional cooperation. Through this partnership they will be able to combine resources which will enable them to adequately develop good, regional, comprehensive planning.
La Casita – Other
As the first “GOLD” rated LEED home in Idaho this project provides a new bar for future development and shows that it can be done with a great end product. With water saving features both inside and outside the house which reduce the overall water use by over 59%, it provides one of the solutions to the growing concern for water in this arid landscape.
By developing this model home Fireside Homes provides consumers with a greater awareness of and more importantly an environmentally responsible option. In addition homes built to GOLD LEED standards will provide communities with infrastructure savings in water and other utilities as these resources become increasingly scarce and difficult to develop while also protecting our environment and quality of life.
Meridian Ten Mile Special Area Plan – Policy and Planning Award
Smart growth for interstate interchanges? When most people think of smart growth, they do not think of freeways, yet the City of Meridian did just that in this Special Area Plan. Freeway interchanges can be challenge for Cities, as Meridian well knows with two of the most congested interchanges in the State. Meridian decided there had to be a better way to do this and set about creating a unique plan for their third interchange at Ten Mile.
With a mix of residential, commercial and retail, it provides the opportunity for its residents to not commute and yet will not become a ghost town after 5:00, but instead will be a vibrant urban neighborhood with human scale retail and complete streets that invite pedestrians and cyclist. In addition to complete streets a series of connected pathways will make it even easier for residents and visitors to get around without a car.
This new area will provide higher densities than currently exist in Meridian, helping the City reduce its development of green space and allowing more opportunity to preserve agricultural lands and open space. In short this is a well-planned community that is unique because the City had the vision to design it around a major interchange. Meridian provides other communities with a new vision for how to develop vibrant, smart growth community centers around an interchange.
Bown Crossing – President’s Award
One of Boise’s newest neighborhoods, Bown Crossing is a great success story as a mixed use development and fine example of smart growth principles. Near completion its retail and commercial center has become a vibrant new meeting place for Bown residents as well as nearby neighborhoods in southeast Boise.
Close to downtown and existing residential and commercial this development helps Boise continue to grow within its existing city limits rather than develop new ‘greenfields’ on the urban fringe. Bown offers diverse housing from larger single-family homes to attached Brownstone townhomes in the Rookery. Both important land use element of smart growth principles.