A proposal to turn a vacant lot into a community garden is dead on arrival because the city of Kuna would require curb, gutter and sidewalk at the site.
New Beginnings Christian Church was hoping to turn a quarter-acre vacant lot at the corner of West Fourth Street and Avenue C into a community garden.
But the city said changing the vacant lot into a community garden would require a special use permit, have to go through design review and would require curb, gutter and sidewalk.
And so the plan is dead and the lot shall remain a vacant lot.
The city has got to figure this out — and they have to get this situation fixed.
City officials, primarily planning director Steve Hasson, need to just take a step back, assess the situation and try to apply some common sense.
West Fourth Street, according to the city’s own comprehensive plan, is targeted to be central business district, part of the Main Street corridor envisioned as a mixed-use area with entertainment, dining, cultural venues, offices, etc.
Now, I’m not saying the city is wrong in demanding curb, gutter, sidewalk and parking lots when someone turns a formerly residential house into a commercial business.
Here’s the argument, and it’s a good one: When someone like Mike Young builds a group of new commercial buildings out along Avalon Street, he’s required to put in not just curb, gutter, sidewalk and parking lots, he is also responsible for dragging out sewer and water and installing those utilities already available to these residential properties along Fourth Street. Same thing for Larry Hansen, or Walgreens, Les Schwab, Chad and Marissa Queen. So why should the city go ahead and willy-nilly let other business owners off the hook to put in improvements?
But the city really needs to be able to apply some common sense and discretion to these decisions. Requiring curb, gutter and sidewalk for a community garden just isn’t a reasonable thing to expect or demand. And just look at the end result: a vacant lot. Is that really what the city wants? Would they rather have a vacant lot (without curb, gutter and sidewalk, mind you) than a community garden (without curb, gutter and sidewalk)?