59 Minute Meeting Recap: Growth, Outlook, and Plans for the City of Star

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Star is a city in transition with an eye towards the future. Our second quarter 59 Minute Meeting emphasized this point as we were joined by Star City Councilmen David Hershey, Michael Keyes as well as Star City Planner Shawn Nickel.

Star has had an interesting and long history as it was settled in 1863 and incorporated in 1905 with a four-mile buffer in each direction. Early growth and decline were tied to the electric railroad and in 1929 Star was unincorporated due to some issues with highway development and paving disputes. It wasn’t until 1997 that Star was reincorporated as a city and part of Ada County.

Star is unique in that it is not a full-service city. The city does not own the sewer and water department, fire department, police force or street system. They are reliant on agreements and cooperation with other districts, county’s and state entities.

The only impact fees that Star collects is for park development — all other impact fees are passed through other agencies. Even though they are not a full-service city, Star is seeing population growth like other cities in Ada County and is in the process of updating their development code and comprehensive plan.

They have an open space rule of 15% minimum with 10% useable being the new standard for open space rules. There is also a plan to incorporate more compact walkable communities into the development plan. This will include pathways from the river to the foothills and a connection to the greenbelt when areas near the river are more developed.

Due to inconvenient transportation access, the city has been somewhat removed from the population growth experienced elsewhere in Ada County. A major future transportation growth factor for Star is Chinden (US20/26) being widened to five lanes, with the last leg of that project expected to begin construction in 2024, and the future Central Valley Express Way will also play a major role in the growth of Star and because of its central location. Currently, the population of Star sits right around 11,000 but it is projected to grow to over 30,000 people by 2040, which means we could see Star grow faster than other communities in Ada County in the future

Currently, the split between business and personal tax revenue that the city collects is 93% personal and 7% business. The city is working hard to bring in more businesses so people who live in Star don’t have to travel to other parts of the county for work and they can keep that tax revenue local. There are plans in the works for businesses to come to Star with specific details to come later.

There are also plans to turn the river area into a row of development that will include restaurants, living units and other amenities not found in other Idaho cities. Envision a version of the River Walk in San Antonio, but in Star, Idaho. The city’s vision for this plan is very ambitious and forward thinking. If it comes to fruition, they will have one of the most unique mixed-use land areas in the state.

We’re excited to see what the future holds for Star. They have a lot of great ideas on amenities to add to the city over the next decade. They are conscientious about the growth that is anticipated to come their way over the next twenty years.