Neighborhood plan

At the last meeting there was discussion of putting together a neighborhood plan.

tl;dr Part 1: Putting together a plan is expensive.
tl;dr Part 2: The city made one up for us and three out of four neighborhood resident would be upset if they saw it.

Part I

SWACA put together a plan 37 years ago. I am pretty sure no one has looked at it in 35 years. That was back in the day of typewriters, literal scrapbook type cut-and-paste, and copy machines.


The North End Neighborhood Association has put together a plan. North End Plan. NENA also had an old school 40 year old plan: North End 1981 Plan. This web page gives a good idea of the process they used to create the plan.

The East End Neighborhood Association also recently updated their plan. Find it here East End Plan

Open either of these documents and scope of the project is immediately clear, and obviously beyond the ability of SCNA to do alone on a volunteer basis. Besides the professional graphic design that makes you want to read it, the content requires city planner, civil engineer and project management professionals.

The East End document credits eight people from the neighborhood association and eight professional planners. It is not stated how much time was spent or who was volunteer and who was paid.

I suspect that the neighborhood association folks were volunteer and it required much more than one hour of month from each for them. The others are likely city employees, but may include outside consultants. The NA probably had to pay for the city services.

We can (and will) of course just ask either another NA or the city for details. We should be able to use grant money to cover the expenses.

But even without the details, I think it is clear that this would be a major project, and we need several people to commit to putting in the time and energy to see it through.

Part II

Once complete, a neighborhood plan is not the final say.

Boise City has put together Blueprint Boise.

Here is what it says about South Cole:

One highlight, the majority of the undeveloped area is designated as “High Density”. Which is defined as (emphasis mine)

High-Density: Features apartments, condominiums, and townhomes, but may include four-plexes and duplexes. Generally located within or adjacent to mixed-use activity centers and along transit corridors and incorporated as part of neighborhood centers. Residential densities range from 15 to 45 dwelling units per acre.>

The neighborhood plans are supposed to inform Blueprint Boise on development in each neighborhood. We need to talk to the other NAs to see how closely Blueprint Boise follows their plan. Since the city is involved in the creation of the neighborhood plan, I suspect there is a close match between the neighborhood plan and Blueprint Boise.

So, lacking a current neighborhood plan, what goes into Blueprint Boise? I know SCNA was not consulted, I doubt any neighborhood residents were involved. I doubt that developers were silent on offering input. The city planners put together the best plan possible based on the needs of the city and the stake-holder input they had available.

I now understand the comment that the Land Group / Murio Farms when they said “We are building exactly what your neighborhood plan calls for”.


Creating a neighborhood plan is a large project. Not having a plan has large, mostly undesirable, consequences. It is not an easy decision.

We should talk with other NAs and learn about the experience. We should contact the city and arrange to have a city planner attend a future NA meeting and tell us about the process.

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