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New Boise Foothills subdivision could add 30 homes. Neighbors see threat to open space

“The Central Foothills Neighborhood Association supports good development that follows the rules and adds value to our neighborhoods,” said homeowner Tim Breuer. “We believe this project as proposed does neither of those.” Photo by Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

Thirty new homes could pop up in the Boise Foothills soon, but not if people who live in a nearby neighborhood succeed in stopping it.

Developer Colin Connell filed applications with the city to build a subdivision for the homes, Boise’s Deputy Planning Director Cody Riddle said in a phone interview. The land Connell is looking to build on is about 21 acres, though the parcel is larger.

The new Eyrie Terraces subdivision would extend from Connell’s existing Eyrie Canyon subdivision where North Villa Way and Winter Camp Drive meet, northwest of the Hillside to the Hollow Reserve, a popular hiking and dog-walking area north of Hill Road between Bogus Basin Road and 36th Street.

Connell’s latest application says access to the subdivision would come from North Villa Ridge Way, which connects to 36th Street by North Eyrie Way. North Villa Ridge Way and West Winter Camp Drive meet, and West Winter Camp Drive would extend through the new neighborhood.

The land Connell wants to develop is steep, which could make it challenging to build on. Residents of the area are also concerned that the lack of access to the subdivison could be dangerous if a fire were to break out.

They also worry about the possibility of developing on a lot that was previously deemed an open-space lot and on prominent ridge lines.

Tim Breuer, who lives in the central Foothills and is helping the Central Foothills Neighborhood Association fight the project, said the association has worked with other developers who want to develop the area and have supported projects that enhance the neighborhood and are good for the community.

He said the development does not follow city guidance and rules for Foothills development because of the slope of the land, the possibility of developing on the open-space lot and prominent ridge lines, and the lack of access for fire safety.

“This project doesn’t seem to meet any of those criteria in our community,” Breuer said in a phone interview. “Developing an open-space lot when our community that has supported so strongly Foothills preservation, that would be a terribly bad precedent to set.”

Ben Keith, who lives on Arrow Villa Way, is also concerned about the subdivision. Arrow Villa Way is in the adjacent Eyrie Canyon subdivision.

This is a plan for the 30-home Eyrie Terrace development located above the Quail Hollow Golf Course and alongside the Hillside to Hollow Reserve area. Tim Breuer, special to the Idaho Statesman

Keith said some of his neighbors on Winter Camp Drive said they were told that nothing would be developed in front of their homes in the Foothills. Other homes in the area are needing to be reinforced already because the soil is dropping and the houses are subsiding, Keith said.

The entry for the new subdivision would go through Keith’s neighborhood, and he worries about traffic, fire safety, and overcrowding at local schools as more families move in.

Keith uses trails in the Hillside to Hollow area for mountain biking and thinks two of the loops couldn’t exist if the development went in because the subdivision would go where portions of the trails are.

“The Ridge to River folks mark where you go in and out of private property,” Keith said in a phone interview. “There are signs when you’re on the same trail that say ‘you’re entering private property.’ Anything beyond the private property marker would be gone.”

Riddle said the city is aware of the concerns with the proposal.

“Anytime there’s development in the Foothills there’s interest in it,” Riddle said.

Connell could not be reached for comment.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will have a hearing on the hillside permit at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at Boise City Hall. The commission is expected then to make a decision on the hillside permit and a recommendation to the City Council on the subdivision.

About Maddie Capron Idaho Statesman