Outreach Summary Report - Revised Modules 1 + 2

Project Background

Boise’s zoning code has shaped Boise as we know it, guiding how the built environment of our city evolves. To support Boise’s long-term vision as our community grows and changes, we are rewriting our zoning code in three parts, called modules. The first module of the zoning code outlines what kind of uses are and are not allowed within each zone across the city. The second module outlines development and design standards for redeveloping properties within the city. Staff completed outreach for Module 1 in the spring of 2021 and outreach for Module 2 in the winter of 2022. City staff completed another round of community outreach to review the revised Modules 1 and 2 throughout July of 2022.

Executive Summary

The zoning code rewrite is a multi-year process that includes deep community engagement with residents to shape Boise’s future. Following outreach for Module 2, city staff heard residents and made significant changes to the original Modules 1 and 2 that were presented to the community. For staff to begin working on Module 3, it was important for the City of Boise to share revisions with the community and provide an update on the new direction of the zoning code rewrite to ensure there was a solid foundation to build upon.

The community had opportunities to participate through three in-person open houses as well as a digital open house hosted on the zoning code rewrite webpage. The open house format allowed staff to present the new framework, have a conversation with residents during the question-and-answer portion and for the residents to look more in-depth at the presentation with boards spread throughout the room during an open house forum. The boards provided additional details from the presentation and residents were able to share questions or comments with city planners. The digital open house mirrored the in-person event, with the same opportunity to provide feedback.

At the open houses, staff presented the new framework with four new goals for the zoning code rewrite, which are a direct reflection what we heard from the community. The new framework city staff presented are outlined below:

Great Neighborhoods

Our city will have a variety of great neighborhoods.

Planned Public Investment

Direct development where public investments are being made.

Sustainable + Affordable Housing

Our city will have a strategy to produce sustainable and affordable housing.

Manage Growth

Strategic about where to develop as we manage growth at the edges of our city.

Within this framework, staff presented how the city plans to achieve each of these goals. Additional details were covered in depth during the presentation such as descriptions of the new zones that tell us where and what can be built in the city, explaining how transit-oriented development will encourage development and growth where we have our bus transit lines, and how the city will not continue to grow on the edges of the city to be conscious of our current infrastructure and water resources. Residents were encouraged by the updates and could more easily see and predict what could be built, and where, in the city. This predictability carried a positive tone throughout the community conversations and, in general, residents understood how the city is working to utilize where the public has committed to investment areas such as the State Street Urban Renewal District and major streets that have every fifteen-minute bus service times, to our advantage.

This report presents the feedback and recommendations we heard from the community during the latest round of outreach in July 2022 for the revised draft of Modules 1 and 2 of the Zoning Code Rewrite.

Summary of Open Houses + Comments Received

The three open houses hosted by the city brought a variety of community members both who have participated in previous outreach, as well as new participants who had not engaged in this project. Overall, there was predominantly positive feedback from the community, with a broad focus on how the city plans to handle growth in a well thought out way.

As growth and housing continue to be top of minds for residents, members of the community continue to wonder how these changes will impact their individual neighborhoods. While some residents were excited about additional infill in their neighborhoods, others were concerned that the city took a step backwards by removing the triplexes and fourplex allowance in all residential zones.

The presentation slide below shows one of the new mixed-use zones known as the MX-4 Transit Oriented Development zone that is located at four major transit locations along State Street with details of those building dimensions. These four locations have a 60ft height limit and are allowed to exceed that height if they include affordable housing. Residents understood there are only four locations for these types of large buildings and that we want to encourage these areas to focus on alternative modes of transportation; however, a few residents were concerned about the height of the buildings and the reduction of parking causing cars to park in the neighboring streets.

Direct Development Where There is Planned Public Investment: State Street Transit Stations

Basic map outlining Boise City Limits with four small circles in upper left along State Street
mock up drawing of people walking across the street with multi use building behind and busses picking up passengers in the bus lane

MX-45: Mixed-Use Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

  • No density calculation
  • 60 ft height limit / no height limit for affordable housing
  • 0' setbacks with requirement for wide sidewalks

While the large-scale zones received general support, residents continue to prioritize neighborhoods and what those will look and feel like. Several residents acknowledged that we want to enable walkable and bikeable neighborhoods that are safe and have amenities close to where people live. The STIL on Latah Street was given as an example of a MX-1 zone, also known as the Mixed-Use Neighborhood zone and there was general support for these types of neighborhood-scale projects that promote community in walkable places.

In previous outreach, residents expressed concern with sprawling growth and the strain it puts on infrastructure, particularly our water resources. Residents were receptive to the proposal to limit sprawl by managing where growth occurs on the edges of the city. Additional details on this topic (particularly annexation) will be presented in Module 3.

Many residents had comments on the proposed strategic infill incentive that is shown below. A map was shown with all locations eligible for the infill incentives; however, the map does not identify whether they would follow the site characteristics to be able to include a slightly denser development. This proposal created some excitement for those encouraging density within the neighborhoods; however, others wanted to know how many parcels this would apply to within the city.

Strategize to Produce: Affordable + Sustainable Development

Map with Boise City Limits outlined and yellow markings noting Suburban Residential (R-1B) and orange noting Traditional Residential (R-1C)


Yellow: Suburban Residential (R-1B)
Orange: Traditional Residential (R-1C)

Strategic Infill, Location:

  • R-1B or R-1C Zone AND
  • If you are within 300-feet of collector road or minor arterial or within 1/4 mile of a property zoned MX-3

Site Characteristics:

  • 55-feet of frontage AND
  • Vacant lot OR lot where the improvement/structure value is no greater than 25% of total assessed value OR incorporate existing structure AND
  • No approved demolition permit for the property within the past three years.

Overall, most comments received at the public open houses supported the new proposal and aligned with the new framework. Additional comments and themes that emerged are grouped categorically below:

  • Ensure developments have enough parking without adversely impacting the area
  • Ensure adequate monitoring and compliance of affordable units.
  • Encourage affordability for both homeowners as well as renters.
  • Would like infill to be eligible in all residential zones including the R-1A zone.
  • Interest in expanding the MX-3 zone beyond State Street, Vista Avenue and Fairview Avenue.
  • Creating boundaries for the R-2 zone to ensure it does not expand into entire neighborhoods.
  • Concern with the reemergence of the large lot residential zone (R-1A).
  • Disappointment with character overlay zones staying as is. Specifically, the Sycamore and Big Sky Overlay Zones.
  • Encouragement for MX-2 to be pedestrian friendly.
  • Mechanical units should be internal to buildings or ground mounted rather than on rooftops.
  • Desire for detached sidewalks on all roadways.
  • Strong support for open space throughout the city whether the open space was private, communal, pocket parks, access to trails and pathways for traditional parks.
  • More specifics for O-3 Zone and the potential to expand its use.
  • Ensuring neighbors are noticed when a development is proposed in the area.
  • Allowing the public to participate in the development process.
  • Participation earlier in the process.
  • Coordinate conversations with all public service providers.

As residents left the open house, a board was near the exit to ask for feedback on whether they believe these revisions will help shape the future design and development of Boise in a positive way. Participants were given the option of yes or no. Of the respondents who answered, more than 86% believed the revisions to Modules 1 and 2 will help shape the future design and development of Boise in a positive way.

The same question was asked of the online open house participants, but they were asked to rate on a scale of 1-5, 1 being “I strongly do not believe the revisions will help shape the future of design and development in a positive way” and 5 being “I strongly believe these revisions will help shape the future of design and development in a positive way”. Of the seven participants who completed the online open house, 40% of respondents rated the changes a 4 believing that these revisions will help shape the future design and development in a positive way, 20% rated the changes a 1, 20% rated the changes a 2 and 20% rated the changes a 3.

Outreach Methods

On July 11, 2022, Planning and Development Services (PDS) released the revised draft Modules 1 and 2 and began community outreach. In-person events were held at locations throughout the City of Boise to provide convenient engagement opportunities for residents. In addition to three public open houses, the City of Boise also hosted a digital open house for individuals unable to attend the in-person events. The city gathered feedback at each open house as well as collected comments through our email and phone channels. City staff responded to roughly fifty individual phone calls and emails that were about the zoning code rewrite to answer further questions and seek additional understanding.

To encourage broad participation, staff used a combination of social media posts, email outreach using the city’s external In the Know newsletter, press releases and website banners. Local media advertised the outreach events on BoiseDev.com and KTVB Channel 7, and the Planning Director interviewed with additional news partners. Partner agencies and neighborhood associations were also informed of engagement opportunities. In total, roughly 300 people participated in the revised Modules 1 and 2 outreach.

Outlined below is the list of events that city staff presented to the community. The PowerPoint presentation from the open houses can be found as an addendum to this report.

July 14, 2022Open House - Hillcrest Library58In-person
July 18, 2022Open House - Boise Downtown Main Library48In-person
July 28, 2022Open House - Quail Hollow Golf Course62In-person
July 11, 2022 - July 31, 2022Virtual Open House7Virtual
August 11, 2022Neighborhood Collaborative Meeting19Virtual

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