Boise Planners Want Street-Level Residences in Downtown Core 

The Boise City Council will take up the issue on Tuesday, Jan. 13 when it will be asked to adopt the amendment to the zoning ordinance, which planners say will "allow additional residences within walking distance of employment and the countless amenities

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City of Boise planners say they want to make a "significant" change to the Central Business District zoning ordinance and the standards-and-design guidelines for Boise's downtown core.

The ordinance currently prohibits ground floor residences in the C-5 (Central Business District) zone. The original intent was to encourage mixed-use development such as retail and restaurants for active street-level areas. But the the city recently set an ambitious goal to introduce 1,000 new downtown residential units within the next five years. Planners say the current zoning, which encourages retail at ground-level is "unrealistic from a market standpoint." Additionally, planners say "achieving an active 24-hour presence Downtown can energize the street." 

However, there are challenges with putting a living room (or bedroom or kitchen, etc.) at eye-level of passers-by. That's why planners say the units will require creative designs to put appropriate facades along the street.

"This can be accomplished by incorporating a variety of features including windows and doors in appropriate locations," Planning Director Hal Simmons wrote to the Boise City Council and Mayor Dave Bieter. "The planning team believes this concern is most appropriately addressed on a case-by-case basis."

The Boise City Council will take up the issue on Tuesday, Jan. 13 when it will be asked to adopt the amendment to the zoning ordinance, which planners say will "allow additional residences within walking distance of employment and the countless amenities and services downtown."


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