Boise Board Approved $3.25 Million to Purchase Boise Bench Mobile Home Park

The City of Boise is looking for some new affordable housing for their list.

Boise City Council on Tuesday approved the purchase of a mobile home park near Shoshone Park at 2717 Malad Street in order to prevent low-income residents from being displaced by development. The agenda item did not disclose how many homes are on the site, but City Councilman Holly Woodings said there were “many” manufactured homes on the two-acre property. Ada County Assessor lists 24 mobile homes on the site.

[Boise lays out new affordable housing goals and strategies as rents continue to rise]

“It’s an immediate affordable housing project,” Woodings said. “…we don’t have to build additional affordable housing. It currently generates income in the form of rents from the people already living there, and prevents dozens of people from immediate displacement if this piece of property falls into private hands.”

The property will be purchased for $3.25 million from Betts Family Trust. The vote was 5-1, with City Councilman Lucy Willetts voting “no.” The city will now enter a 45-day due diligence period and is expected to close after 90 days in July.

Mom city on sale details before voting

A reference to a possible purchase of the project first appeared on the agenda of the March 8 city council.

Seeing that the city was considering purchasing the property, BoiseDev reached out to city spokesman Justin Core and requested an interview with city employees to ask more questions about the purchase and to gain potential connections with park residents for a longer advantage. Kaur told BoiseDev that the city would like to wait to discuss the project until the 45-day due diligence period is over, but said “If it goes ahead, we’d be happy to talk to you about that.”

BoiseDev again contacted Corr about the property on Monday, March 14 after a property purchase and sale agreement was again on the agenda, wondering if this meant the project would move forward.

Kaur wrote again, “As I understand it, this only begins the 45-day period of due diligence,” without providing further details.

The next day, Willetts requested that the item be withdrawn from the approval agenda, which often contains many items that the council routinely sets and approves with one vote. This action led to a discussion that Willetts and Woodings participated in during the meeting. However, full details about the purchase, and how the city proposes to manage it, are unknown.

Willetts vote only opponent

Buying current, affordable housing is not the direction Willetts hopes to take.

I opposed the purchase for several reasons. She said that buying more real estate in the city and removing it from the tax rolls would be inconsequential to the work of the Idaho legislature to lower property taxes by shifting more of the tax burden to other properties. Willetts also objected that the purchase meant “the city could become owner”. Boise City currently owns and operates more than 200 affordable housing units.

“I don’t think buying this property is wise at the moment,” she said. “He seems to be chasing after a market that is accelerating at a rapid pace and we seem to be doing something contrary to what people are trying to do on the street (in State House), which is lowering property taxes and we are taking away property listings that could increase property taxes.”

This type of property tax shift occurs when certain properties are not taxed or have a cap on how much they are billed, but it takes a significant change to make noticeable effects on Boise residential property taxpayers. For example, Micron’s taxable value was set at $400 million due to a vote by the Idaho legislature, but the property was actually valued at $1.86 billion in 2020. If Micron pays property taxes on its entire appraised value, the average A homeowner in a city with a $350,000 home, Boise would have paid $54.18 less in property taxes that year.

City Councilman Patrick Baggent noted this in his comments in support of the purchase and called on the Idaho legislature to make changes to the property tax formula for relief. He also said the city needs to do its part by addressing the “too restrictive and too onerous” zoning code to make it easier to build more housing and more places to cut prices.

“In my opinion, to address this issue, we need help from the legislature and we need help with our own laws and processes to allow the market to build reasonable and reasonable home prices here in Boise,” he said. “I agree with my colleague that property taxes are a big problem, but I don’t see this type of buying as a driver of the material impact on this problem.”

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