Last year, a community organization voiced opposition to Boise’s plans to annex land at the Murgoitio park site close to West Victory and South Cole roads. Through its Parks and Open Space Protection Initiative, the Boise Parks Association is now working toward the goal of preventing the construction in any additional parks in the city of Boise. According to David King, chairman of the Boise Parks Association, “Once we saw this start happening, a bunch of people in a variety of communities came together and said this is wrong. We need the parks. We need to preserve our open space,” “We’re not for freezing development altogether. We’re for preserving parks and open space – smart development.”
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In order to show their support for the project, the political group collected 10,365 signatures. On Wednesday, the last petitions were delivered to the office of the City Clerk in Boise. The Ada County Clerk is responsible for conducting the verification of signatures. It will be necessary for the Boise Parks Association to have 6,823 of their signatures authenticated. According to King, “Then once it’s verified, is qualified to go on the ballot, it will come back over to the city council,” [Citizens] will have the opportunity to vote on the proposition. The city council has the option of accepting it as is and making it a law for the city; but, if the city does anything other than that, the issue will be put to a vote at the polls.
If the initiative is passed by the city council or is approved by voters the following year, the City of Boise would be required to get approval from voters before selling, trading, transferring, or gifting more than 5% of a park or designated open space. This would apply whether the initiative is passed by the city council or by voters. King is quoted as saying that any usage of those parks other than as parks should be prohibited. “So, yes, naturally that would probably be used for housing, warehouses, or anything other than as a park,” the speaker says. “But a park would be nice.”
Additionally, the City of Boise is working on the creation of its own Parks and Open Space Protections. At the meeting of the city council on Tuesday, resolutions to place deed restrictions on ten parks were unanimously accepted by the members of the council. At the council meeting on November 29, another ten parks will be discussed regarding potential deed restrictions. There are 95 parks located inside the city limits of Boise, in addition to 14 open space reserves. There are currently deed limitations in place for 42 of the parks, and eight of the open areas are protected. A second area that is preserved is the Boise River Greenbelt.
“We welcome the city council making the same effort to protect parks,” King said. “We have a responsibility to preserve our green spaces.” It is an absolute necessity to accomplish this end of allowing voters to have control over the use of parks and open space in the future. “However, those deed restrictions can be circumvented, and you still need voter approval for that check-and-balance on the city’s use. That would not obviate the need for voter approval and deed restrictions are not infallible, there are legal ways to eliminate them. It is an absolute necessity to accomplish this end of allowing voters to have control over
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