The black dotted line represents Kuna’s city impact boundary that was placed in the 1990s. The blue line represents the proposed boundary expansion.

BOISE — The Ada County Commissioners approved Kuna’s plans to rezone the city’s impact area boundaries, which will largely expand the boundaries east, during a meeting on Jan. 11.

The Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission had previously denied the plan.

Although the county commissioners moved to approve the plans to rezone the city’s impact area and to change the county’s comprehensive map, a second public hearing is needed before it can become official.

State code requires the commissioners to hold a second public hearing on the application if a material change of recommendation is made. Because the commissioners decided to overturn the Planning and Zoning Commission’s denial, a second public hearing meeting was set for Feb. 15 at the Ada County Courthouse.

“This has been quite a long process,” Commissioner Dave Case said.

Megan Basham, a planner with Ada County Development Services, told the county commissioners that letters recommending approval of the rezoning were submitted by the Kuna Economic Committee, the Kuna Planning and Zoning Commission, A-Team Land Consultants and other local businesses and had support from Kuna Police Chief Justin Dusseau.

Despite support from the city, local community leaders and the Ada County Commissioners, the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission denied the rezoning, because the commissioners believed the expansion was “too large.”

Basham said despite the denial, county staff decided to still present the plans to the county commissioners.

“Ada County is requesting a petition … to adopt the Kuna city impact boundaries,” Basham said. “I have been working with Kuna staff on this application for the last couple of years.”

The rezoning application would repeal the zoning ordinance that created Kuna’s current city impact boundary, which includes a small boxed-in area in the middle of the city, Basham told commissioners during the meeting. The ordinance was originally adopted in 1998.

“We are going to keep the 1998 comprehensive plan’s land use designation,” Basham said. “And this will also expand the area of impact. In that area, decisions would be based on the Ada County comprehensive plan until properties are annexed.”

Basham said by keeping the old comprehensive plan’s land use designations, it would allow residents to retain their land’s current zoning.

“It’s just adopting the boundary,” Basham said.

Commissioner Jim Tibbs asked if the county would still be involved with the land if the rezoning was approved. Basham said any future developments in the impact boundary but outside of the Kuna city limits will be under Ada County jurisdiction unless the land is annexed into the city.

“It keeps the designation in this area as rural and agriculture,” Basham said.

Kuna Planning and Zoning Director Wendy Howell spoke on behalf of the city during the meeting.

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“The current area of city impact was established in 1998,” Howell said. “Since then the city limits have extended far beyond the current boundaries. This amendment would allow the city to plan for future growth and extend city services. Kuna is working with multiple agencies, residents and businesses who want to use city services.”

Howell told commissioners the city is rapidly growing and is now able to offer a large amount of commercial services for residents.

“City staff is aware of six new businesses that will be in construction within city limits within the next six months,” Howell said. “The city will soon have major retail anchors (rather) than just essential stores.”

Howell said there are many geographical boundaries and municipal boundaries that affected the direction of the expansion. These include Meridian to the north, Boise’s southern boundaries, federal land to the south, Nampa to the west and the Snake River. Howell said the city decided to expand east to follow the city’s master comprehensive plan.

“These constraints leave the eastern portions as the only opportunity for Kuna’s growth,” Howell said.

Howell told commissioners that the city expects its population to grow to from its current population of 18,500 people to 45,000 people in the next 18 years.

The city’s population grew by nearly 300 percent in the year 2000 to 2015, according to Howell.

Kuna Mayor Joe Stear told commissioners a goal of the city is to make sure the city is good neighbors with other cities and to accommodate future businesses and residents.

“There is interest in facilities in the outer boundaries,” Stear said. “It makes sense for Kuna, because it lets us keep bringing in manufacturing businesses here but away from residents. We just want to be a good neighbor, we want to get our lines adjusted properly and renewing our comprehensive plan. I’d appreciate a yes vote on this.”

Two Kuna residents came to support the city and told the county commissioners they and their families have been waiting to be within the city’s impact area for years.

“I appreciate all the effort Kuna has put into this,” Commissioner Jim Tibbs said. “It’s a considerably large task to put this all together. But is there any conflict with the (Ada County 2025 Comprehensive Plan) and what Kuna has put together?”

Megan Basham answered Tibbs’ questions and said the designations from the county’s comprehensive plan will be adopted into the boundaries until Kuna creates a new comprehensive plan.

“I will be making a motion in support,” Tibbs said.

“It’s been a long process,” Case said. “I do want to thank Joe (Stear) for his leadership out there. And again I want to go to the fact that it was mentioned of these boundaries and the problems that get created when some residents want to annex into other cities. It creates troublesome working environments.

“I want to commend Joe on his ability to negotiate for his city and to work together to figure things out. You did an excellent job.”

Danielle Wiley is the reporter for the Kuna Melba News. Contact her at 922-3008 or email her at editor@kunamelba.com