Sunday, October 12, 2014

Six-Story Restaurant / Retail / Office Building Proposed for Boise's Central Addition

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM

The Boise corridor between Broadway Avenue and BoDo, framed by Front and Myrtle streets, has witnessed considerable change in recent years: from construction of Whole Foods, Concordia University and Trader Joe's to destruction of a number of historic homes, due to fire and the wrecking ball.

Earlier this year, Boise Weekly reported that there were only eight historic homes left in Boise's Central Addition neighborhood, which was platted in 1890 and was once one of the city's most prestigious areas.

Another big change is on the drawing board for the neighborhood.

Internal city documents reveal that a 158,440-square-foot, six-story building is being planned for a parcel of land bordered by Myrtle Street on the south, Broad Street on the north, Fourth Street on the west, and the alley between Third and Fourth streets on the east. 

The proposal from CSHQA architects would see retail and a possible restaurant on the ground floor, parking on the first, second and third floors, and office space on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors. 

The project won't be completed without some legal wrangling—the neighborhood is zoned to only allow a building height of 35 feet, and the proposed building would come close to 88 feet in height, requiring a zoning ordinance from the city. 

Developers are hoping to get the height variance, as well as a setback variance and a conditional use permit for retail and a restaurant, when they go before the city's Planning and Zoning Commission in early November.
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Boise Homeless Advocates: 'Housing, Not Handcuffs'

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 10:45 AM

At the height of this summer's swelter, Boise Weekly chronicled how a number of the city's homeless were spending many of their days under the overpass near Rhodes Parks on Americana Boulevard, in the shadow of the Boise Connector.

BW spoke to a number of the men and women without a home who had also been issued warnings and citations for violating the city's so-called anti-camping ordinance.

"Listen to me: You can't be punished for doing a normal human thing, such as sleeping, in the city of Boise," attorney Howard Belodoff told an under-the-bridge gathering in August. "You need to fight these tickets. You need to defend yourselves. You need to make sure to plead not guilty, I repeat not guilty, ask for a public defender and ask for a jury trial."

But as the heat has given way to fall's cool days and nights, the numbers continue to grow.

On the morning of Sunday, Oct. 12, advocates for the homeless were out in force to again say that "Boise City is criminalizing homelessness," and warned city officials that the anti-camping ordinance violates citizens' constitutional rights.

In an open letter to the Boise City Council on Sept. 23, the ACLU of Idaho wrote that it hoped "this will be the last letter the ACLU of Idaho must write you on this subject," but accused city officials of a "persistent push to punish vulnerable families and put veterans and people with disabilities in jail just because of their poverty."

Organizers called Sunday's rally "Housing, Not Handcuffs."

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Court Date for Former Police Chief's Suit Against McCall Pushed to April 2015

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM

The much-anticipated trial surrounding the firing of former McCall Police Chief Jerry Summers has been pushed back again.

Summers sued the city, claiming he was illegally fired in early 2013 as "retaliation" by City Manager Gene Drabinski. Summers claimed that he discovered Drabinski was in possession of an Idaho's driver's license at the same time his Massachusetts license was under revocation. Former Valley County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Williams said Summers repeatedly warned Drabinski that he was in violation of the law.

"It's an ugly situation," MCall City Councilman Nic Swanson said in April 2013. "We're between a rock and a hard place."

The McCall City Council voted unanimously to fire Summers, indicating that he and Drabinski couldn't work together.

Summers joined the McCall Police Department in 1997 and was named chief in 2005.

This week's McCall Star-News reports that the trial—initially set to begin later this month—has now been pushed back to April 2015.

Both sides met in settlement earlier this year to no avail. Meanwhile, McCall officials have asked U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge to dismiss the case.
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ISU Officials: Alleged Sexual Assault on Campus

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Students, educators and staff at Idaho State University have been made aware of a recent alleged sexual assault on campus.

KIFI-TV reports that ISU officials sent out an email alerting its community of a sexual assault at Turner Hall on Oct. 4. University officials said they know the identity of the alleged assailant and "believe he is not currently residing in Pocatello." The suspect has also been banned from ISU property. The email indicated that the victim did not wish to pursue criminal charges at this time.

Meanwhile, law enforcement continues to comb the neighborhoods around Boise State University in the wake of a string of incidents where a prowler was spotted, sometimes making his way into homes.

Police released two sketches this past week, using information from two witnesses.

The suspect has been described as a light-skinned male in his early 20s or 30s, medium build, five-foot eight-inches tall to six feet tall, and he has worn a white tank top beneath a dark, zip-up hoodie. Some witnesses said that the suspect smelled of cigarettes.

Citizens are asked to immediately report any suspicious activity by calling 911.

  • Boise Police Department

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Take It Outside: Popular University of Idaho Bar Goes Dry

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 9:30 AM

The Perch - KREM.COM
  • The Perch

Things are a lot quieter at a popular bar near the University of Idaho

The Idaho liquor license for The Perch, on University Avenue in Moscow, allowed the tavern to serve alcohol for years under the provision that it also sell food. When The Perch was sold in 2013 its new owner presumed that everything would remain the same, but officials with Idaho State Police Alcohol Beverage Control said The Perch was being run primarily as a bar, forcing the new owner to reapply for an alcohol license.

Now a nearby church has challenged the new liquor license application, citing a section of Idaho Code that forbids a tavern within 300 feet of a house of worship. 

According to KREM 2, in Spokane, The Perch has been ordered to stop serving alcohol. The tavern can still sell prepackaged beer and wine, but it can't be consumed on the premises.

Meanwhile, the new owner said he still needs to convince officials that 40 percent of his revenue comes from food sales.
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Some Idaho Clergy Would Still Be Able to Refuse Same-Sex Marriage

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 8:30 AM

According to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, Idaho is not anti-gay, it is "pro-traditional marriage," but to Democratic challenger A.J. Balukoff, "Discrimination is discrimination."

This morning's Idaho State Journal points out that even if Idaho's same-sex couples are legally married, they still face the threat of discrimination in much of the Gem State, and that includes some municipalities that have passed so-called anti-discrimination ordinances.

The Journal points out that clergy, and possibly even the mayor, are legally allowed to refuse to officiate a same-sex marriage. "Pastors, priests, rabbis and Muslim clerics ... are on firm legal ground if they say 'I don't' to gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual couples who want to say 'I do,'" the Journal reports.

Pocatello made a point of including religious-freedom provisions in its own Add the Words ordinance, according to that city's chief legal counsel Kirk Bybee. 

What remains to be decided is whether someone who is licensed to perform a marriage and charges a fee would be required to perform a marriage.

The Journal points out that, for the record, current Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad had previously said he would not object to helping gay couples tie the knot.
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Coin Collector: Parking Commission Employee Charged With Robbing Meters

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 8:30 AM

It's one thing for a public servant to steal $10,000 in public funds. It's something else when it's all in coins.

The Missoulian is reporting that a parking commission employee is charged with felony theft and, ironically, he's out on $10,000 bond.

Prosecutors say Duane Larson—a 14-year-veteran of the Missoula Parking Commission—stole $10,000 from parking meters that he was supposed to be fixing. He allegedly stole the cash over a two-year period.

He was arrested after an employee at a local credit union took note that Larson was making unusually large deposits... in coins. When police looked inside Larson's truck, they discovered a plastic container full of coins. 

Meanwhile, on Oct. 10, Missoula officials said that they hadn't noticed any decrease in revenue from the alleged thefts. It's not the first time a city employee has been charged with stealing. In 1993, a former parking commissioner was convicted of stealing thousands of dollars from parking meters.
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