Cows vs. Condos? 

Developers, feedlots, eyeball SE Ada County

Suddenly, the development pressure is on for parts of southeastern Ada County. First, Meridian developer Westpark Company is angling to build a 2,000-unit planned community, called Mayfield Springs (BW, "Nowhere No More," 07/26/2006), in the area, but now the cows might come home, too.

Cinder Cone Farms recently submitted a proposal for a 15,000-cow feedlot in the area near Simco Road off of Interstate 84. The cows will munch their way to size on 160 acres of a 400-acre site, according to analysis by the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Now, Mayfield Springs is still about 10 miles away, as the crow flies, from the proposed feedlot. Taylor Merrill, who represents Mayfield Springs, said even discussing the two proposals in the same conversation is misleading, because the residential development and its golf course are far, far away.

"We're not neighbors," Merrill said. "We will not be downwind or downstream."

Merrill told BW that the proposed planned community will be completely self-sustaining, and will initially include 900 acres of homes, schools, a town center, storefronts and a hotel/convention center, mostly in Ada County along the Ada/Elmore border but also possibly expanding into Elmore County. The community will also include a championship golf course.

But Courtney Washburn, who has been monitoring the proposals for the Idaho Conservation League, says it's time for Ada County to think hard about the age-old cows versus condos debate.

"The county is going to have to decide," Washburn said. "Who trumps who?"

The Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission will have a public hearing on the Cinder Cone Farms proposal on Thursday, August 24.

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