I was standing on Deer Flat Road looking at the open field across from Bi-Mart.

That’s going to be a subdivision.

I walked across Ridley’s parking lot to the Meridian Road sidewalk. I stared across the street at the open field.

That’s going to be a subdivision.

What used to grow in those fields? Sugar beets? Corn? Potatoes?

That grass will be gone. That open space will be gone.

It finally hit me just how scary Kuna’s future growth can be.

In a recent column, I posed the question whether or not the city of Melba should grow in order to survive.

Kuna, you didn’t think I’d let you off the questioning hook did you?

I’ve heard the arguments for growth, both residential and commercial. People want more dining and recreation options, and to get that, businesses want to see there is a large enough residential population to support the businesses.

That makes sense to me. Kuna has attracted locally owned and operated businesses, such as Coffee Cup Cafe and Slyce Box recently. This is something I’m happy to see.

However, coming from a small town myself, I feel for the argument that others feel Kuna is either growing too much, too fast or should stop altogether.

Upon seeing the farmland destined for future subdivisions, I find myself echoing a question I’ve heard from residents:

Where is our food going to come from if the agricultural land has houses or commercial lots on it?

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I panicked.

As a reporter, I have follow-up questions:

Is anyone in the government keeping track of how much agricultural land is left in this country?

Is anyone in the government keeping track of how much food is needed to feed the country’s residents?

Just how much do we need to be growing and do we have the land to support that?

I feel the consensus by some residents is that their interests are not being considered in the interest of development. Is there a way to preserve agricultural land, such as by offering tax incentives? Could we talk about the city purchasing agricultural land to preserve it as such?

On the other hand, I have also seen the city’s efforts in addressing residential concerns by allowing public input. A public event was held for residents to give input on Kuna’s comprehensive plan, which helps guide the area’s growth. Residents also had a period of time to comment on the plan online. More opportunities are coming, according to the city.

To our city officials: Please continue to offer opportunities for engagement. Thank you for what you have done for community involvement.

I am here to ask: Where is the balance of Kuna’s growth?

Honestly, I don’t know.

My point, and one thing I do know, is that in order to figure out if one side needs to give, even more discussion needs to take place. This may be counterintuitive, but if you feel your voice isn’t being heard, you need to keep speaking and encourage others to speak up, as well.

There may be a distrust about whether or not the voice is heard. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s harder for public officials to ignore comments from someone standing in their office or a group packing city hall.

If you have comments on development, talk to the city. Better yet, if there’s a group of you with shared sentiments, go to the city as a group. The city won’t know what people want if they keep quiet, or just comment on Facebook.

Alx Stevens is the reporter for Kuna Melba News. Contact her at 208-922-3008 or editor@kunamelba.com.

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