Bonneville County neighborhoods concerned about proposed housing projectPublished at
IDAHO FALLS – A proposed housing development on a 44-acre piece of property in Bonneville County is a hot-topic for surrounding communities.
Jay and Brenda Johnson purchased the land on 49th North between Ammon Road and 45th East several years ago. It’s referred to in public documents as the Badger Creek subdivision. Levi Jarvis with Snowcrest Development, the developer for the housing project, tells EastIdahoNews.com the plan is to build about 80 townhomes at that location.
Most of the project will be identical to Rock River Estates, a subdivision he is involved with that is kitty-cornered to this property. The only exception is a 7-acre piece, where he says they’re hoping to add another 10 lots with townhomes that will be similar in appearance to the ones next to Wood Funeral Home in Ammon.
The project will require the property to be rezoned from R-1 to R-2, which is what Eagle Rock Engineering is proposing. It’s currently zoned for R-1, which is a designation for single-family housing. R-2 is a designation for townhomes and multiplexes.
Badger Creek is surrounded by several subdivisions, including Berkley Park and Hatch Hollow on the south and Southwick on the west.
Kendall Rice lives in Southwick and she cites several concerns with the project.
Her 8-year-old son has attended three different schools in the last three years because of overcrowding, which is a result of rapid growth in the county. The growth creates a bigger demand for more housing, bigger schools and upgrades to roads and infrastructure to accommodate the increase in traffic.
“If they change the zoning to R-2, then (the developer) can fill this entire acreage with fourplexes,” Rice explains. “We do not have the infrastructure to support that many people.”
With the addition of another subdivision, Rice says the developer will not be adding any significant infrastructure upgrades, creating more of a safety hazard for homeowners and drivers at an intersection that already has a lot of traffic accidents.
Before the project moves forward, she would like to see regulations put in place to address these issues and make sure the project is compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.
“Berkley Park is zoned for R-2, but it was regulated. There is not a townhome in there, there are no apartments in there. It is just single-family housing,” Rice says. “Even if this gets rezoned, they should have to regulate it to keep the consistency of land use.”
Susan Bodily, who also lives in the Southwick subdivision, agrees, adding that her property value will “diminish drastically” if this project is approved.
“These are all single-family dwellings around here and people have worked hard to get these places with acreage and trees. To put (townhomes) next to it just doesn’t seem consistent or even make sense,” Bodily says.
While Bodily doesn’t have anything against multi-family housing, she says this project would be better suited in an area where multi-family housing already exists.
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Other developments are being planned in this area in the near future, Bodily says, and if infrastructure issues are not addressed, it’s going to be a big problem at some point.
Bonneville County has received similar written objections from many other homeowners in the area, including a petition with 200 names who are opposed to the project as it’s currently outlined.
EastIdahoNews.com made multiple attempts to reach Jarvis for further comment.
The project will be discussed at a Bonneville County planning and zoning meeting Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. It will be held in the election office building at 497 North Capital in downtown Idaho Falls.
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Once the community has had a chance to weigh in, county commissioners will hold a meeting in November or December and make a final decision.
Ultimately, Bodily is hoping for an outcome that is favorable to homeowners in the area.
“I’d like to see it stay at R-1 and I’d like to see them put larger homes on larger lots, or even if they can’t put larger homes, make the lots bigger so that we can keep the integrity of this area. I don’t see why that would be a problem for any developer,” says Bodily. “We’d love to have new neighbors that can move in and spread out and enjoy themselves.”