Community Conversation Workshop 3

Conducted December 2018

This third series of Community Conversations, held in November and December of 2018, took a deeper dive into housing affordability throughout the city. Residents provided feedback on a variety of tools and techniques the city is considering implementing. 

This report is prepared by Dr. Jen Schneider, Professor of Public Policy & Administration at Boise State University. The report is based off the Community Conversation in-person workshops available in November and December 2018 for Boise residents.

Executive Summary

This report describes the findings from the third series of Community Conversations hosted by the City of Boise in November/December 2018. The format of this series of Community Conversations differed from previous conversations, in that experts from the City’s Housing and Planning and Development departments gave short presentations on specific policy proposals, and then participants had opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback.

The two policy proposals discussed were:

Boise Land Trust Proposal
  1. The majority of participants mostly support the idea of a Land Trust because they view it as one solution that directly addresses the housing affordability problem.
  2. However, those who support the idea of a Land Trust feel strongly that Land Trust developments must be mixed-income, to avoid the potential for segregating social classes.
  3. Many participants wanted more details before they would endorse the proposal, and some were upset when the City seemed to change or hide information, such as how the proposal would be funded.
  4. Those who were opposed to the idea were vehemently opposed, for ideological or other reasons.
Coding for Density Proposal
  1. The majority of participants strongly support the idea of lifting the square footage and bedroom restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), provided ADUs still respect existing neighborhood aesthetics and conditions. They see ADUs as one useful tool for addressing housing affordability and availability.
  2. However, participants were concerned about the proposal to lift the requirement for on-site parking for ADUs—they are worried existing neighborhoods will suffer from competition over on-street parking, particularly given the lack of mass transportation in Boise.
  3. Some participants were also very strongly opposed to removing the occupancy requirement altogether. Many fear that speculators will purchase properties and hike housing prices, or that ADUs will turn into vacation properties, which does nothing to address housing affordability and can negatively impact neighborhood cultures.
  4. Many would support the idea of changing lot size zoning requirements to embrace density, but for some, this support was largely qualified
    by concerns about the quality of the developments being built. There were also a number of participants who were strongly opposed to these proposals.
  5. A number of participants wanted much more information about the proposals before they would feel comfortable deciding. For these participants, "the devil is in the details."

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