The Ada County Highway District Commission on Wednesday delayed a vote on the proposed Spring Rock planned community west of Kuna.
The commission will again review the project’s preliminary map on Jan. 22.
Commissioners expressed concern about accepting the map before Kuna officials had decided whether to annex the Spring Rock subdivision. One commissioner noted Ada County had opposed the project due to the potential for sprawl, loss of open space and premature development of the area.
“This one seems unusual to me because it has not been annexed by the city of Kuna and may not be annexed,” ACHD Commission President Rebecca Arnold said during the pre-commission meeting Wednesday.
Arnold and commissioners Kent Goldthorpe and Mary May said they had concerns Spring Rock subdivision’s application would not get enough of a public airing during the pre-commission meeting.
May noted the subdivision was a “very large project” and that the preliminary plat had come onto the agenda just 48 hours before Wednesday’s meeting.
“It may be something we want to defer a little bit — an opportunity to digest everything,” May said.
Arnold also mentioned the Board of Ada County Commissioners had “concerns” with the annexation of the Spring Rock subdivision, a project proposed by Ten Mile Creek, LLC, that at full build-out over the next 20 years could have more than 2,200 housing units on 761 acres.
The county commissioners sent a letter in October, signed by Chairwoman Kendra Kenyon and Commissioner Diana Lachiondo, to Kuna city officials that said the board of commissioners believed there was a “disconnect” between the Spring Rock developer’s plans and the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho’s projections for Kuna, according to a copy of the letter.
The planning association, known as Compass for short, completed a development review of the Spring Rock project earlier in the application process, which was referenced in the Ada County commissioners’ letter.
“The proposal exceeds growth forecasted for this area. Coupled with the Falcon Crest proposal to the southwest, transportation infrastructure may not be able to support the new transportation demands,” Compass’ review said.
Compass said it had concerns about the lack of public transportation in the area, and that, until the site was built out to include commercial enterprises, the number of trips in and out of the community would stress the roads around Spring Rock.
The Ada County commissioners agreed with Compass’ analysis.
“This application will pre-maturely expand urban and suburban types of land uses in rural areas of Ada County, extending demands for public facilities, services and utilities in this remote area of Ten Mile Creek. This subdivision will create an increased demand on many of our County services such as the Sheriff, Paramedics, Coroner, Mosquito Abatement, and others. Additionally, this development will result in increased car dependency, increased strain on utility services, loss of open space, and several other negative effects,” the Board of Ada County Commissioners wrote.
“By supporting such a large application, the City of Kuna will incentivize sprawl and premature development of one of Ada County’s beautiful open spaces. Therefore, Ada County and Boise City encourage Kuna to follow best planning practices, resist the lure of short-sighted property tax increases, and deny the Spring Rock Subdivision application for now,” the board concluded.
During Wednesday’s ACHD pre-commission meeting, ACHD Director Bruce Wong said accepting the map or “plat” was “standard operating procedure,” and voting on the procedure would be acceptable.
The district last month approved a staff report on the planned community, which at full build-out would have over 2,200 housing units, commercial lots and a school.
Construction of the first phase of Spring Rock is proposed to include 757 single-family homes, 136 fourplexes, seven commercial lots, 23 lots for common use, a school, a lot planned for multifamily housing and two public-utility lots across 477 acres.
Spring Rock is proposed to be completed over the next two decades next to the Falcon Crest golf course and planned community.
During the regularly scheduled meeting, the ACHD commission discussed whether or not moving the decision on the Spring Rock plat to Jan. 22 made sense, especially in regard to the fact the city of Kuna planned to listen to and vote on Spring Rock’s master plan, annexation and plat all in one hearing before the Jan. 22 ACHD meeting.
“I’m advised Kuna has indicated they will not act unless they have action first from ACHD,” ACHD Assistant General Counsel Scott Spears said.
If ACHD does move forward and accepts the preliminary plat before Kuna does, but Kuna then decides to not give the planned community the go-ahead, then ACHD’s preliminary plat would be void, said Gary Inselman, the deputy director of development and technical services for ACHD.
ACHD Commissioner Sara Baker noted that if Kuna did not take a vote on Spring Rock before ACHD comes back to the preliminary plat on Jan. 22, the commission would be in the same position.
“We’re hoping Kuna plays ball, but if they don’t, we’re back where we are today,” Baker said.
Developer Dave Yorgason said he recognized the concerns the ACHD commission brought up during the meeting, but added Commissioner Baker was “correct.”
“If you hope Kuna will take action, that is not gonna happen,” Yorgason said.
Yorgason said he understood the desire to allow the public more time to look at and respond to Spring Rock’s application, but said he was concerned the application could be caught in a vicious cycle.
“I hope we’re not in a death spiral where no action is ever taken,” he said.