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Eye On Boise

House debating bill to override Boise city planning and zoning for state garage…

The House is debating SB 1192a, the Senate-passed bill to exempt a state parking garage project near the Capitol from Boise city planning and zoning requirements. “We sold the bonds on the parking garage last year, and we are on a very strict timetable,” Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told the House. “We would like to have SB 1192 in our back pocket.”

Rep. Ed Morse, R-Hayden, said, “This is special-interest legislation, and while I see the equity, I also see the hypocrisy in the state exempting themselves from local government control.” He said he’d prefer to amend the bill to exempt everyone in the state from planning and zoning requirements. “This is a perfect example, an excellent opportunity to change the law for every private property owner in the state,” Morse told the House. “They’re all suffering under this system.”

Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, noted that the parking garage is six stories high. “Two stories is the height of most of the buildings that surround it,” he said. “Nobody is asking the state not to build the garage or saying, ‘Oh, well, you can’t build six stories.’ What they’re just saying, as I understand it, is can we influence the design a little bit so it fits esthetically with the neighbors. And I think that’s a reasonable discussion to have.”

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, spoke against the bill. “I just contend that the issue is whether or not the state should comply with the rules and regulations that we’re requiring every private party to comply with, whenever they’re doing any building at all, and I urge you to vote no.”

Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, said, “This is just gaming the system. This is just saying when this Legislature decides we don’t want to play by the rules, we won’t.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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