After a two-month hiatus, the city of Kuna is taking steps to resume public hearings.
Kuna City Hall is tentatively scheduled to reopen June 1, said City Clerk Chris Engels. Kuna Planning and Zoning confirmed that public hearings are slated to return on June 16 with open testimony on the Spring Rock subdivision.
A public hearing was scheduled for April 7 on the first phase of the development, which at full build-out would include over 2,200 homes across roughly 761 acres. Developer Ten Mile Creek LLC has sought approval to build the Spring Rock subdivision east of Kuna for months. The first hearing on the development was at the Ada County Highway District in early December, but ACHD didn’t approve the project until Jan. 22 on a 3-2 vote that was split by concerns over increased traffic. On Jan. 28, the Kuna Planning and Zoning Commission approved the planned community’s design after a public hearing that drew over a dozen attendees, sending the project to Kuna City Council for further testimony.
Public hearings were halted on March 18 after Mayor Joe Stear and Kuna City Council closed City Hall to the public by declaring a state of emergency. The council last held a public hearing March 17, when council approved Accurate Surveyors' annexation request of 7.67 acres for a subdivision, and B&A Engineers successfully applied to have 1.29 acres rezoned from “C-2,” a medium-density zone, to “C-1,” the lowest-density zone.
Stear has recognized the delays that virtual meetings have caused, but feels that postponing public hearings was a necessary step amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That isn’t necessarily what some of the developers and some of their representatives wanted to hear, but we’re trying to do this as fair as we can,” he said.
After rescheduling public hearings, Kuna City Council has public testimony on its calendar through the end of July. Council is limiting the number of hearings during any given meeting to give itself breathing room.
“We didn’t want to stack too many all at once,” Stear said. “It’s hard to make a good, informed decision when you have a 12,000-page (meeting information) packet.”
On June 16, when the city hopes to continue hearings, city council meetings will look different than they have in the past. Seating will be more spaced out, sanitation measures will be increased and the public will likely have the option of weighing in virtually on Zoom, said Engels.
Despite the city’s tentative plans, “everything is fluid,” she said.