Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't give away the store to developers

The time for being polite and begging developers to come to Kuna is over. Kuna needs to look out for Kuna, and all of the taxing bodies — the school district, the library district, the city, the fire district, etc. — all need to look out for its existing taxpayers.
Future development is going to have a huge impact on what taxes we pay. Our taxing bodies should be making sure that growth is paying for itself and that we, the current taxpayers, are not paying for new amenities created by future growth.
Let’s take, for example, the Vista planned community.
I remember first writing about Vista way back in 2006. It was around the holidays, and I needed something to fill a hole on a page during a slow news week. I put the Vista proposal story on something like Page 16, thinking that it was so far out of Kuna that it was of little consequence. How wrong I was.
Vista is a proposed 1,048-acre subdivision consisting of 3,110 residential lots, 257 common lots, a 42-acre town center lot, two, 2.5-acre neighborhood commercial lots, its own water treatment facility and its own wastewater treatment facility. The development is about one mile south of Kuna Mora Road and immediately west of South Cole Road — 10.6 miles from Kuna High. In addition, Vista is planning for 512,000 square feet of retail and mixed-use space.
The development is being proposed under the auspices of Ada County — not the city of Kuna. Ada County planning staff recommended approval as did the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission.
However, after Kuna city officials and a Kuna library board member testified against the proposal at the Aug. 13 county commission meeting, the County Commissioners voted to table the proposal until Sept. 10, admonishing the developers to work with the city and the library board on resolutions.
One of the things that’s a growing trend is large-scale development. Instead of smaller, 80-acre developments here and there, developers are talking about massive 600- to 1,400-acre development with thousands — not hundreds — of homes.
That will make it even more important for the school district — and the school board — to be tough negotiators with developers. I, for one, will support the school district in telling developers no to insufficient compensation for the privilege of being in the Kuna school district.

No comments: