After six years in the works, a plan to protect the stately beauty of Capitol Boulevard is nearly ready for public comment.
Among other things, it proposes hiding parking lots behind buildings and barring tall signs on poles.
“We have an interest in the street that it continue to be a highlight of the city, but that it still be possible for people to do their business,” said Mark Dunkley of Dunkley Music.
He’s on a committee of planners, property owners and merchants that is writing the plan.
Mayor Brent Coles said Capitol Boulevard is a high priority for him, partly because he pushed for the city to buy the Boise Depot. Capitol Boulevard was envisioned as the city’s grand entrance, with the Union Pacific Railroad Depot at one end and the Statehouse at the other end.
Tradition has clashed with commerce over the years.
The committee is considering ways to blend the two schools of thought and to keep commercial buildings from upstaging the grandeur of the public buildings.
The plan calls for landscaping to fill areas in front of buildings proposed for Capitol, and parking lots to go behind. Building berms and planting screens would help conceal existing parking lots. Dunkley and some other merchants are concerned that could make the area less safe.
The plan allows low-slung “monument” signs, or signs on the sides of buildings, and bans rotating or flashing signs and tall signs on poles.
Dunkley said merchants are considering forming a local improvement district to help fund recommendations in the plan.