Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hillside homes, slip-slidin' away

The foothills around Boise are teeming with newly built mansions, and there seems to be an insatiable market for them.  The problem is:  while Boise has a foothills planning ordinance, it is riddled with loopholes and the city has been under significant pressure to streamline (read:  neuter) its development process.  It has essentially made the process a sham, which is why I left the planning and zoning commission here.

And since Idaho is a state without meaningful environmental review standards, that means that much of the development in the city goes on with no real oversight.

What could possibly go wrong?!  

Well, a lot, actually.  A project of mansions was approved in the middle of a well-known landslide area and, whattya know, the land slid.  Below is a vivid video of what can happen when cities fail to properly take into account environmental factors in their planning processes.

More about the story, and ensuing litigation (which would make for a nice teaching exercise, by the way) here.  Further, the city is now telling the homeowners that they must tear down these homes, at the owners' expense.  

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