Boise's Master Plans

Designing for a Responsible Built Environment

Ambassadors toured parts of Barber Valley, Harris Ranch and Bown Crossing where they learned how the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning code work together to create walkable, connected communities that carefully balance the built environment with respect to the natural environment.


The Barber Valley Planning Area encompasses 1,705 acres southeast of Downtown and is home to two planned communities, Harris Ranch and Barber Valley, that will include an additional 3,300 dwelling units at buildout. From Highway 21, this area is the eastern gateway into the City of Boise. Multiple wildlife corridors and the Boise River run through this area, which has a rich history. The area was formerly home to the town of “Barberton,” later shortened to “Barber” in 1909 by the post office, a company mill town developed in conjunction with the Barber Lumber Company.

Woman speaking to a small group
Celine Acord, City Planner, explains the city’s zoning code and the Wildlife Urban Interface (WUI).
Group standing in front of a sign
Ambassadors and city staff at Marianne Williams Park.
Woman addressing group in conference room
Council President Lauren McLean speaking to Ambassadors about the importance of thoughtful city planning.

Harris Ranch is a mixed-use development built on and around the site of the mill town of Barberton. Harris Ranch embraces New Urbanist design concepts. Specifically, it is designed to create an urban pattern, provide for a mix of uses within walking distance, encourage commercial uses to address area residents’ retail and employment needs, provide a mix of housing types and affordability, and support a multi-modal transportation framework. It consists of high-density and compact residential neighborhoods, surrounded by park and trail systems.

Challenges and Opportunities


The success of the development has led to significant increases in property value.  While the master plan calls for newer townhouse and apartment units, single family housing is the primary housing type. Addressing the wide range of housing options is integral to the success of the community.


The Barber Valley area is not fully built out, allowing for the testing of new and innovative concepts. Innovative stormwater management is being looked at for the town center. There are also plans for an urban model elementary school, utilizing much less space than a traditional suburban school.

Cohesive Approach

Where large scale areas are proposed for development, the specific plan allows for a cohesive approach to planning. This approach considers the day-to-day needs of residents from parks and schools, to commercial needs and connectivity. The benefit to the community can be seen in fewer vehicle trips generated, more thoughtful density, and better connections within and to the rest of the City.

Message Sent Successfully!

Message Failed To Send.

Send a Message to Community Engagement

Thank you for your interest in the City of Boise's Office of Community Engagement. Please use the form below to reach out to our team.