Boise Looks to Upzoning To Ease Housing Pressures

The rapidly growing city is evaluating ways to increase housing production, reduce car dependency, and make Boise more walkable.

2 minute read

March 7, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Boise Idaho

Pinpals / Pixabay

With housing costs soaring (in January, median rents were up by more than 20 percent from the previous year, rising faster than in any other American city), Boise is looking to revise its zoning code and guide denser development in the rapidly growing city, reports Joni Auden Land for the Idaho Statesman.

"Most council members agreed they wanted the new code to allow for a more urban environment, rather than what they characterized as suburban planning guidelines in the [draft] module," writes Land. Council members expressed a desire to see taller buildings, reduced parking requirements, legalized accessory dwelling units (ADUs) such as garage apartments, and mixed-use development. "One benefit of this denser planning, they said, could be to increase Boise’s housing supply, which lags far behind demand. Proponents say denser planning could allow for more units to be built and help fill the widening gap," according to the article. "Multiple council members said the draft did not go far enough to make Boise a more walkable city, where residents would not need a car to access businesses, schools and other services." Council Member Holli Woodings called for more mixed-use development that puts businesses closer to where people live.

According to an August 2021 city report, Boise needs more than 27,000 new housing units, 77 percent of which should be affordable, by 2030 to meet growing demand. Boise's population grew by 14 percent in the decade between 2010 and 2020. 

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