Love growth? Here it comes anyway

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Perhaps you remember a column or two, somewhere back down the line, where I’ve made fun of Boise.

Well, maybe not exactly made fun of it, in a true derogatory sense.

I’ve never said there’s anything wrong with Boise itself. As far I know, after a half-dozen or so visits, it seems like a pleasant enough place.

The point I was making is that, except for sending some legislators down there for three months a year, Boise is almost completely out of our orbit.

If you use the same analogy that we’re pulled by the gravity of a particular city, obviously it would be Spokane.

There are thousands of people in North Idaho, I’d wager, who have never been to Boise — but it would be hard to find someone here who’s never visited Spokane.

Now, having said all that, we need to reverse course today and think SERIOUSLY about Boise.

Why?

Because the capital city is going through a bit of agony that, sure as God made little green apples, will be coming our way soon.

The issue is development, more specifically the build-up of areas that residents have considered “country” for generations.

For starters, consider this snippet from the Idaho Statesman …

“To those of you in the northwest and in other parts of town,” Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said, “you don’t live in the country.

“I mean that sincerely. We’re in the city. You might have gotten used to a little more rural kind of [life]. It’s just not that way.

“My grandfather was a sheepherder,” said Bieter, a descendant of Basque immigrants, “but he didn’t herd sheep in town. That’s just the way it is. I think the country is Marsing and Homedale and parts of Canyon County. It isn’t on Hill Road.”

Bieter was under fire during that particular discussion, primarily because he was defending Prominence, a 307-unit subdivision planned for a neighborhood bordering that same Hill Road.

More from the Statesman story …

“Trilogy Development wants to put a mix of townhouses, apartments and single-family homes on 38 acres bisected by West Hill Road Parkway and roughly bordered by Bogart Lane to the east and Duncan Lane to the west. It is part of an area the city annexed in 2014 and 2015.

“Local residents and farmers own another 30 to 40 acres of undeveloped land near the proposed development.”

HOPE YOU didn’t drift off to sleep while we heard about problems on the outskirts of Boise.

This very same debate, my friends, will be coming to you.

We’ve all heard about how Idaho is the fastest-growing state in the nation, and a healthy chunk of that migration has been headed to Kootenai County.

There is no land left for development in Coeur d’Alene, and new neighborhoods are popping up like spring flowers in Hayden and Post Falls.

It’s simply a matter of time until there is more annexation, high-rises begin to dot Highway 41, and we see a new Walmart opening its doors in booming Rathdrum.

This isn’t a maybe. The build-up is going to happen.

And just as we’re seeing in Boise, plenty of people who have settled on the county outskirts because they love “rural living” are going to find that 307-unit mixed-use monster planned down the street.

Relentless growth involves some pain, especially if you thought it was thrilling to see a moose on a nearby hillside.

Yes, there will be jobs.

Yes, we’ll see more retail spending.

But if you’ve treasured country living …

Perhaps it’s wise to look further afield.

•••

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com.

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

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