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

59 Minute Meeting Slider

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.

Interview with Kit Fitzgerald, 2019 RPAC Hall of Fame Inductee

Kit Fitzgerald, Equity Northwest RealtyOn May 15, 2019, Kit Fitzgerald was inducted into the RPAC Hall of Fame for contributing over $25,000 to RPAC in her lifetime. For over 50 years, RPAC has continued to grow and support the real estate industry through local, state, and national legislation and advocacy, none of which would be possible without the support of REALTORS® like Kit.

In honor of her achievement, we decided to interview Kit and ask her a few questions about what RPAC means to her and how she became a Major Investor.

Q: Congratulations on being inducted into the RPAC Hall of Fame. This is a big deal! How do you feel about this recent recognition of your commitment and investments into RPAC?

A: I think its very kind of NAR to recognize this level of commitment. I would gladly give without the recognition as I believe so strongly in working to defend our REALTOR® Party Issues. 

 Q: Well, your passion and dedication to RPAC is definitely worth recognizing. I mean, $25,000 is a lot of money! Why are you so committed to RPAC and its success?

A: We are the only organization in this country fighting for homeownership. Its the foundation of our economy, our citizens, and the American Dream that so many people desire. RPAC and the REALTOR® Party ensures that we have protection for private property rights, flood insurance, no taxes on services, access to financing for our consumers, and so much more. I firmly believe that investing in RPAC is a protection of not only my business and livelihood, but also ensures that Americans have an opportunity to build wealth via equity, have safe neighborhoods, stronger schools and a place to make memories. So many other countries in this world do not have the same opportunities as we do, and REALTORS® are the people who ensure we do.

 Q: Well said! You obviously know a lot about RPAC and its impact on homeownership rights. But that wasn’t always the case, right? How did you become a REALTOR® and how did that lead to you becoming a committed investor in RPAC?

A: I became a REALTOR® after building a home in Meridian in 2002. I’d just moved here from Washington, DC, became quite close with the onsite sales team and was lucky enough for them to offer me an opportunity to sell homes. As for my investment, Id given small amounts to RPAC via dues, but it wasnt until I became involved in the volunteer world of our association for me to learn the extent of what the organization does to protect our business and homeowners everywhere. I was approached by fellow REALTOR®, Jim Johnston from Pocatello, to truly look at what my investment in RPAC means for REALTORS®, and once I learned more, I was all in. 

 Q: Thanks to your “all-in” attitude, many BRR members have stepped up their commitment to RPAC and become Major Investors, largely because of YOUR influence and example. Why do you go out of your way to encourage other REALTORS® to invest into RPAC?

A: For many of the reasons Ive previously stated, Ive encouraged my fellow colleagues to step up their investment. For my friends that have very successful businesses, they have so much to lose if we dont protect homeownership. I also believe that many of our fellow REALTORS® just dont know enough about RPAC to understand the impact of their contributions. I didnt, and it wasnt until I was educated that I understood the needs of grassroots education for our government and the importance of electing or keeping folks in office that support homeownership and private property rights. I truly believe that being educated by a peer, especially who is successful in our industry, helps any active REALTOR® feel more inclined to participate at a higher level.

 Q: Peer-education is a great tool to get others involved! But what do you tell people who say they don’t invest into RPAC because they didn’t like a specific candidate or issue that their association made?

A: RPAC and the REALTOR® Party are not about a candidate or issue. They exist to ensure that REALTOR® issues, important to homeownership and our business are protected. No one in the country is ever going to agree 100% of the time with a politicians votes, or with every single issue impacting our world. However, when it comes to making sure our clients can close on a home that requires flood insurance, a first time homebuyer has access to financing, extra taxes arent passed on to our consumers and so much more, its pretty hard to tell me that you cant get on board to support the industry that keeps food on your table. We are the REALTOR® Party, not any other party.

 Q: One last question: Is there any other piece of advice you have for your fellow REALTORS®?

A: Contribute. Even small contributions are incredibly important. We all go through challenges, but without protecting our industry, the very business in which you make a living can be swept away in a heartbeat. Each of us can make an investment in our industry. Were protecting, ourselves, our families and our economy. Even if its just $30-$50 in a year, every dollar is incredibly important. It doesnt seem like much, to ensure we have a future.


To learn more about RPAC, visit boirealtors.com/what-is-rpac or contact Director of Government Affairs, Soren Dorius.

REALTORS® Endorse Meridian Library District’s Plant Levy

Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is proud to endorse and support the Meridian Library District’s Plant Facilities Levy. If approved, the levy will fund the building of two new branches (one in North Meridian at the Linder Village Complex and one in South Meridian at the Hill Complex), pay for the renovation of the Cherry Lane location, and a renovation of the downtown building for the unBound technology branch.

“This levy is a great value as it expands library opportunities for all residents and increases the library’s footprint in underserved areas of Meridian,” said Phil Mount, 2019 BRR President and REALTOR® with Front Street Brokers. “We’re happy to support the Meridian Library District’s goal to expand education and learning opportunities for residents of all ages.”

Learn more about the plan and ballot measure at mld.org/2019levy.

BRR’s Public Policy Committee, made up of volunteer REALTORS®, carefully vets and considers all housing, private property rights, education, transportation, and other public policy matters and issues in Ada, Elmore, and Gem Counties. From there, the Committee provides recommendations for endorsements which are further reviewed and approved by BRR’s Board of Directors. For questions regarding this endorsement or the endorsement process, contact Soren Dorius, BRR’s Director of Government Affairs, at 208-947-7237 or soren@boirealtors.com.


 Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is a 501(c)(6) trade association, representing real estate professionals throughout the Boise region. Established in 1920, BRR is the largest local REALTOR® association in the state of Idaho, helping members achieve real estate success through ethics, professionalism, and connections. BRR has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Intermountain MLS (IMLS) and the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

59 Minute Meeting Recap: Is Affordable Housing Becoming a Crisis in the Boise Metro?

3.12.19 59 Min Meeting ImageThank you to everyone who attended our first 59 Minute Meeting of 2019, which posed the question, “Is affordable housing becoming a crisis in the Boise Metro?” Our panelists included Wyatt Schroeder, Director of Community Partnerships for the City of Boise; Vanessa Fry, Research Director at the Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute; and Margaret Carmel, journalist at the Idaho Press.

Wyatt Schroeder began the conversation by asking the group for input on the purpose and definition of a home. As the former Executive Director of CATCH Inc., an organization that assists the needs of the homeless population in Boise, he brought a unique and important perspective on the importance of having a home. He walked through basic definitions of what affordability looks like by using its practical definition (at or below 30% of one’s income is deemed affordable).

This year, the City of Boise is rolling out a program called Grow Our Housing, which has several components to increase the housing supply in the city and stabilize pricing. The first proposal of this plan is to ease the restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units so homeowners can easily add another unit on their property, thus creating new housing inventory options (which was endorsed by BRR as an important and necessary change to help address housing inventory). The other policy proposals for Grow Our Housing haven’t been officially released yet but they will include a housing land trust, housing incentive packages to get builders to include affordable units in their plans and zoning changes. Wyatt also announced that he will be facilitating discussion groups around the city to get more feedback on these and other possible proposals to add more affordable housing.

Vanessa Fry from Boise State University followed up with a deeper analysis on housing options in the region. As an expert in this field of study, she emphasized the importance of making data-driven decisions that will benefit the community. She highlighted how our current zoning designations are impacting cities, and how other options might be necessary and worth exploring while encouraging discussion on reviewing current zoning designations and identifying ways to be more efficient and forward thinking. Vanessa also spoke about the need for a housing needs assessment tool to help Boise and other cities future proof their strategies for affordable housing.

Margaret Carmel discussed a story she recently wrote that compares the different steps that Minneapolis and Boise have taken to address affordable housing. Minneapolis has unique and different resources that impact how they approach affordability, and has created a housing land trust with a program that pumps $40 million into support for renters and will soon require developers to include affordable units. They also have eliminated single family zoning within the city which they believe will encourage denser and more affordable housing.

Boise is proposing different measures to address the same growing issue of affordability and housing supply. It will be interesting to see how the two cities compare as both strategies progress over the coming years.

For those that were able to join us, thank you for attending our first 59 Minute Meeting of 2019! We have many exciting and important topics planned for the rest of the year, so keep your eye out for details on our next meeting!

RPAC 50th Anniversary

NAR-RPAC 50th Anniversary
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC)!

To celebrate, BRR and NAR will be sharing specialized content throughout the year that features some of RPAC’s accomplishments over the last 50 years. Each week, NAR will share a new photo on their social media account highlighting the work of RPAC and its impact on our industry.

You are encouraged to share these images on your own social media accounts. If you want to catch up on some of the images you might have missed, check back here periodically — we will add them to this page as they become available. You can also apply the RPAC 50th anniversary filter to your profile picture to show your support.

If you are looking for other ways to celebrate, be sure to check out RPAC’s 50th anniversary website throughout the year for updates and merchandise to honor RPAC’s contributions to REALTORS® and the real estate industry.

Learn more about RPAC’s History by checking out this video.


The REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC) protects homeownership and the real estate industry by fighting issues and electing pro-REALTOR® and pro-real estate candidates. RPAC dollars are used on the federal, state and local level to support issues critical to the future of real estate and REALTORS®. Learn more about RPAC at boirealtors.com/what-is-rpac.

REALTORS® Endorse Boise’s ADU Proposal

Boise Regional REALTORS® is proud to endorse and support Boise’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) proposal. If the update to the ordinance is approved, these changes will:

  • Expand private property rights
  • Provide homeowners and investors a tool to increase housing supply and provide affordable housing options to the community
  • Allow for creative financial opportunities for homeowners to maximize the value of their property
  • Increase flexibility for homeowners, allowing them to rent out both the primary residence and ADU

Home prices in Boise region have been driven by a lack housing inventory compared to buyer demand — putting pressure on affordability. Boise’s ADU expansion plans are a great step in the right direction toward increasing our housing supply and helping families achieve the dream of homeownership. BRR is excited to see cities having open discussions and looking for creative solutions to address this growing need and demand for affordable and workforce housing.

You can learn more about the City of Boise’s ADU proposal at www.livboise.org/liv-stories/2019/accessory-dwelling-units.

BRR’s Public Policy Committee, made up of volunteer REALTORS®, carefully vets and considers all housing, private property rights, education, transportation, and other public policy matters and issues in Ada, Elmore, and Gem County. From there, the Public Policy Committee provides recommendations for endorsements which are reviewed and approved by BRR’s Board of Directors.

November 2018 Election Recap

Below is a summary of the candidates and initiatives that BRR endorsed in this week’s election. It’s important to know that our endorsements aren’t about placing bets whomever or whatever is most likely to succeed; but rather, we support people and ideas that best reflect our ideals and interests as REALTORS®, as well as our desire to make the community a better place for everyone. Oftentimes this is a very difficult decision, as there are many great and qualified candidates running for office — which was certainly the case this year.

That said, here is the breakdown of our recent endorsements:

  1. Ada County Commissioner District 1: Endorsed Jim Tibbs LOST to Diana Lachiando
  2. Ada County Clerk – Endorsed Phil McGrane WON
  3. Ada County Assessor – Endorsed Robert McQuade WON
  4. Ada County Treasurer – Endorsed Elizabeth Mahn WON
  5. ACHD D3 – Endorsed Paul Woods LOST to Mary May
  6. Ada County Vehicle Registration Ballot Measure – Endorsed a YES vote but measure FAILED (more on this below)
  7. College of Western Idaho Plant Facilities Reserve Fund Levy – Endorsed a YES vote measure need 55% approval blended result in Ada and Canyon. The vote hasn’t been certified yet, but it appears to have FAILED by less than 1/10th of a percentages point with a combined approval of 54.94%.
  8. Gem County Assessor – Endorsed Hollie Ann Strang WON
  9. Gem County Clerk – Endorsed Shelly Tilton WON
  10. Gem County Treasurer – Endorsed Megan Keene WON

As for the Ada County Vehicle Registration Ballot Measure, BRR endorsed this as part of a coalition of elected officials, builders, developers, and other business and community leaders, and we were able to utilize REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC) funds and a grant from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to support it. Because it was unsuccessful, we wanted to share our analysis on it, both why we supported it and why it likely failed.

BRR endorsed this user-based fee because we felt it was the fairest way to address road congestion rather than the all too commonly used increase in property taxes — and to add more bike lanes and improve the safety of children’s routes to school.

Unfortunately, the majority of Ada County voters did not agree. There are many reasons this ballot measure failed. Here are a few:

  1. False information promoted by anti-growth groups and local media. An example of this, many voters believed ACHD chose to increase registration fees on regular motorists instead of commercial, simply because they didn’t want to ask heavy vehicles to pay their share of road usage. The truth is that ACHD does not have the legal authority to do this, only the state legislature can determine whether to increase fees on heavy vehicles (those weighing 8,000 lbs. or more.)
  2. Some voters voiced their desire for “someone else” to pay for more transportation funding, especially developers and new families moving to the area, by raising impact fees or property taxes; however, this would only put more pressure on housing and home prices, exacerbating the concerns over affordability.
  3. Other voters seemed to think these vehicle registration fees were already increasing each year, and that our fees were already too high. They have not gone up since 2008, and we would have continued to have some of the lowest registration fees in the western United States, even if the increase was approved.
  4. Many believed a vote against this ballot measure would improve the chances of getting public transit. This is simply not the case, and ignoring the immediate need for improved funding of our roads and infrastructure only distances community transit from becoming a reality.

Ultimately, supporting this campaign was the right thing to do. We tried to find a fair and balanced solution, through a simple user-based fee. The coalition we worked with on this initiative allowed us to make new friends and demonstrated that REALTORS® have powerful resources and are willing to invest into their community. Looking beyond this issue, we sincerely congratulate every candidate on hard-fought races and wins, whether or not they received our endorsement. We look forward to continuing to build upon existing relationships and forge new ones as we work together to address the opportunities and issues in our community.

Lastly, thank you to the members of BRR’s Public Policy Committee, Board of Directors, and everyone who invested in the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) for supporting these advocacy efforts. If you have further questions about the elections, our endorsements, or to learn more about RPAC please don’t hesitate to contact me at soren@boirealtors.com.


REALTORS® in Canyon and Ada County Endorse CWI Levy

On November 6th, the College of Western Idaho will be asking voters in Canyon and Ada counties to support a $39 million plant facilities levy to add a health and science building to the Nampa campus. All three REALTOR® associations in Ada and Canyon counties, including Boise Regional REALTORS®, Caldwell Board of REALTORS®, and Nampa Association of REALTORS®, are united in support of the levy.

“CWI adds incredible value to our community as an affordable option for higher education,” noted Gary Salisbury, 2018 President of Boise Regional REALTORS® and senior sales consultant with Equity Northwest Real Estate. “We fully support the efforts of the college to expand their healthcare education and training programs.”

Chris Mooney, Chief Executive Officer of the Nampa Association of REALTORS® and co-owner of EnVision Real Estate School and Consulting, Inc., added that “the Nampa campus has been a boon to our growing workforce. CWI has proven itself to be a wise and prudent investment for our community.”

“We’re thrilled to see the continued success and growth of CWI,” said Arvid Salisbury, President of the Caldwell Board of REALTORS® and Associate Broker at Keller Williams Realty. Salisbury went on to say, “This new health and science building will be a fantastic and much-needed addition to our local college.”

Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. For more information on voting, please visit idahovotes.gov. For information requests regarding these endorsements, please contact Soren Dorius, Boise Regional REALTORS® Director of Government Affairs, at soren@boirealtors.com; Chris Mooney, Chief Executive of the Nampa Association of REALTORS®, at cmooney@nampaboard.com; or Jill Stone, Chief Executive of the Caldwell Board of REALTORS®, at jillstone99@gmail.com.

BRR November 2018 Voter Guide

We’re only two weeks away from election day and want to share our voter guide of REALTOR® Champions and issues! REALTORS® are leaders in the community so it’s important that BRR members vote to make our voices heard. The Public Policy Committee at Boise Regional REALTORS® thoughtfully interviewed and vetted candidates and local ballot measures to receive our association’s endorsement. Learn about the candidates and issues and then vote in the general election on Tuesday, November 6.

BRR has endorsed the following Ada County candidates and ballot measures:

Ada County Commissioner, District 1 — Jim Tibbs

Ada County Clerk — Phil McGrane

Ada County Assessor — Robert McQuade

Ada County Treasurer — Elizabeth Mahn

ACHD District 3 – Paul Woods

Ada County Vehicle Registration Ballot Measure – YES

College of Western Idaho Plant Facilities Reserve Fund Levy – YES

Ada County Endorsements


BRR has endorsed the following Gem County candidates:

Gem County Assessor — Hollie Ann Strang

Gem County Clerk — Shelly Tilton

Gem County Treasurer — Megan Keene

Gem County Endorsements


Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Absentee ballots can be requested up until 10/26 and early voting is now open. For information on the candidates, registration, and where to vote, please visit idahovotes.govadacounty.id.gov/elections for Ada County, or gemcounty.org/elections for Gem County.


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BRR’s Public Policy Committee extends interview invitations to all candidates running for office in Ada and Gem County, and the municipalities and agencies within each county. Candidates interested in being interviewed share their views on housing, private property rights, education, transportation, and other issues affecting the community. From there, the Public Policy Committee, made up of volunteer REALTORS®, provides a list of recommended endorsements which are reviewed and approved by BRR’s Board of Directors. For information regarding these local endorsements, please contact Soren Dorius, BRR Director of Government Affairs, at 208-947-7237 or soren@boirealtors.com.

Information about statewide races is available on the Idaho REALTORS® website at idahorealtors.com/your-voice-counts-important-voting-resources, or through the Idaho REALTORS® Government Affairs Director, Max Pond. He can be reached at 208-342-3585 or mpond@idahorealtors.com.

Boise Regional REALTORS® Help Open New Foothills Trail

Trailhead-25Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is having another tremendous year of successfully being awarded REALTOR® Party grants, which help us advocate important issues and strengthen our community relationships. Most recently, we completed a partnership with The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, in conjunction with Cartwright Ranch, the Hidden Springs Community, and several private landowners. With the use of various public trail agreements, Boise Regional REALTORS® were able to provide trail markers, a trailhead sign, and map, along with hardworking volunteers who helped create a safe path for our entire community to enjoy. On September 21, 2018, we were able to officially open the Cartwright Trailhead with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

As part of our REALTOR® Party advocacy and community engagement efforts, the trailhead sign and markers were paid for by a National Association of REALTORS® Placemaking Grant, secured by Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) as well as BRR presidential gift money. BRR’s direct contribution was dedicated to our Immediate Past President Katrina Wehr, an avid mountain biker and outdoor enthusiast.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Cartwright Trail, it offers beautiful views of the valley and surrounding mountains. It’s also significant because it is becoming a vital connection to various different open spaces in the western foothills. BRR encourages association members and the public to explore and enjoy this new trail in the foothills.

“Our members are real estate professionals in the community who understand the value and support the creation and maintenance of trails and open space,” said Gary Salisbury, 2018 Boise Regional REALTORS® President and senior sales consultant for Equity Northwest Real Estate. “Bringing to life a new segment of trail was a natural fit for us and we look forward to enjoying it for years to come.”


Read the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley’s blog post here – lttv.org/news/2018/9/25/a-new-trail-takes-shape-in-the-western-foothills.