A large-scale planned community with homes for more than 5,400 people as well as commercial space, a school, and more along the Ada-Elmore County border can again move forward.
The Mayfield Springs development won approval from the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the Elmore County Commission. The project is a scaled-down version of a plan first approved in 2011 for more than 15,000 homesites.
The Mayfield site, owned by the McCollum family, sits just off the Boise Stage Stop exit of Interstate 84, right across the Elmore Co. line. The project, if built out, would build hundreds of single and multi-family homes about 20 minutes up the freeway from Micron Technology. It would also mark a significant shift in the Treasure Valley’s development pattern, which for decades has expanded westward from Boise. The new project would mark a major turn to the east.
After a series of hearings throughout the summer of 2021, the Mayfield project was allowed to come back to the county for new approvals.
The four-phase project hopes to start construction this year, and build through 2028. In the end, it would feature a total of 2,325 homes for about 5,411 people.
The plan essentially builds a new town roughly halfway between the city limits of Boise and Mountain Home. The development connects at Desert Wind Rd. from Ada County — and would contain many of the elements found in a town off on its own. A roundabout at Desert Wind and Base Line Rd. includes a commercial center with space for a grocery store, shopping, and a medical facility. A site is set aside for a school to service the project’s estimated 900 kids. Multi-family apartments and high-density townhomes and auto court homes also sit near the development’s center.
As visitors travel further from the Ada Co. line, homes become more spread out with lower density, with small parklet features and a large trail system.
For comparison, Mayfield’s 2,325 homes is less than the 2,800 approved for Boise’s Harris Ranch planned community, but the rural nature of Mayfield means it does not as readily connect with nearby amenities as the Harris Ranch development in Boise.
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The project won approval or indications of support from a variety of agencies and third parties. In a letter, Idaho Power said the electrical system is “well positioned” to serve the project. The development has a water rights permit for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, as well as permits to drill a well 900 feet deep to provide water for residents.
The Idaho Transportation Department said changes could be necessary on I-84.
“At full buildout, the proposed Mayfield Springs Planned Community will add significant traffic volume to I-84 between Boise and Mountain Home, with impacts most heavily concentrated at the Mayfield/Orchard (I-84 exit 71) and Simco Road interchange (exit 74),” Regan Hansen with ITD wrote. “Additional study is necessary to determine the full extent of the impacts of the proposed development on I-84, but the (traffic impact study) demonstrates that, at a minimum, modifications fo the Mayfield/Orchard interchange will be required, which will require additional study...”
Though the project is in Elmore Co., drivers will have to use Ada Co. roads to reach it from I-84. The Ada County Highway District provided a number of comments, suggestions, and questions for the project and its traffic impacts.
Not everyone is on board. The City of Mountain Home wrote a letter in August to the county commission.
“The City of Mountain Home strongly encourages that you deny the Mayfield Springs Planned Community Application,” a letter signed by the mayor and all four council members said.
Mountain Home leaders expressed concerns about water availability, the timing of the public hearing, the project’s status as part of the county and not its own city, and that it doesn’t follow the Elmore Co. zoning or comprehensive plans. Mountain Home leaders said Mayfield Springs will be “an ‘Emore County Community in Name Only,’” with the county receiving property tax dollars and nothing else.
Area of growth?
Mayfield Springs may not be alone. Several other planned communities or subdivisions in the area are on the drawing board, including Elk Creek, Sunrider Ranch, Palm Estates, and a project from Far Marell LLC.
To the south of Mayfield Springs, a developer has 113 acres of land listed for sale for just less than $4 million. That concept — Ridgeview Estates — with a set of twenty-one large lots.