Recap of the Boise Mayor’s State of the City Address

On Wednesday, September 12, the City of Boise held its annual State of the City Address. The remarks were delivered by Mayor Dave Bieter and we wanted to share some highlights from the event that we’re excited about. The initiatives the mayor discussed aim to address the persistent problem all Boiseans are facing; lack of inventory and high prices in the housing market.

The city has developed a framework to address the lack of housing options and especially affordable housing. This is also a response to the City Workshops on Growth that were held this summer where the number one concern was housing affordability. The plan is called Grow Our Housing and it relies on three key factors; create housing that is balanced compact and possible. Boise needs a mix of housing that includes workforce, middle income, and options at other income levels. Future developments should be compact and not contribute to urban sprawl. Finally, new developments should be realistic and achievable. The city is aiming to set achievable goals for new housing models that will address the growing need for more supply at all income levels.

To achieve the goals of Grow Our Housing, the city has developed five sub-points that will feed into the overall goal. First, the mayor discussed a housing land trust on the local level. Currently, the state has a housing trust but doesn’t contribute any funds to that account. The mayor believes that public and philanthropic money can be used to come up with an amount of around $20 million to incentivize the building of affordable, mixed-use housing that will continue to address the affordability issue and stabilize home prices. Second, the city aims to add more incentives for builders to create more affordable housing. More details to come on this point. Third, the city will leverage public + private land to create more mixed-use income developments around the city. Fourth, the city will work to maximize rules for land use and zoning within the city limits and area of impact. Lastly, the city will increase its partnership with entities such as Capital City Development Corporation and Idaho Housing and Finance Association that have different tools to address these issues not available to the city. City officials believe this combination of actions (some of which they’re already utilizing) will create more housing options for all and address the estimated 50,000 new residents projected to move here over the next 20 years.

Another interesting point delivered in the remarks is the plan to halt rezones in the foothills and other public use areas that are unique to Boise. Mayor Bieter stated there are another 400 homes remaining on the original Boise Foothills Plan to be completed but once that is done, the city will work towards protecting other foothill and public use areas (such as close to the Boise River) from rezones that would include housing developments.

The full address can be viewed here.

We’re thrilled to see the City of Boise take a proactive approach to address housing affordability, and look forward to engaging in future community discussions on these initiatives. If you would like to be involved in the process of attending pertinent city council meetings on these issues, please let us know. We will also share new information with you as it becomes available.

Thank you for taking the time to read this important summary of the Boise, State of the City Address. This is just the beginning, but we’re optimistic that these new proposals will lead to a better city for all.