How To Build More Affordable Housing in Idaho

Idaho cities can remove barriers to development, adjust zoning codes, and encourage the construction of accessory dwelling units and single-occupancy apartments to sustainably accommodate the state’s growing population.

1 minute read

July 19, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Treasure Valley

CSNafzger / Shutterstock

As Idaho’s population—and housing costs—grow, Sarah Cunningham and Erin Sorensen, writing in the Idaho Capital Sun, outline a set of recommendations for creating more affordable housing. “Developers can and should be able to build the kind of housing that meets our community needs, and do so alongside the infrastructure – for example, public transit or proximity to commuter trails – we all benefit from.”

For Cunningham and Sorensen, “The solution to affordable housing is not to sprawl outward, which would make us become exactly like California and other states that people are desperate to leave. Rather, we need to think outside of the box to incorporate affordability from the beginning of the development process to prevent locals and the employees our business community needs from being priced out.”

Their recommendations to state and local leaders, developers, and residents concerned about affordability:

  • Build more accessory dwelling units alongside single-family homes.
  • Build single-occupancy apartments – and ditch the parking requirements.
  • Encourage home sharing for senior homeowners.
  • Demand 10% for affordability.
  • Attend the city of Boise’s zoning code rewrite open houses.

Ultimately, the authors conclude, most individuals living alone don’t need big houses. But everyone needs “access to parks and nature, the ability to walk or bike to work, shopping, and entertainment safely, and a sense of belonging and connection in our neighborhoods.”

Monday, July 18, 2022 in Idaho Capital Sun

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