More homes popping up in Boise using less space

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- More homes are popping up in Boise, but they're using a lot less space. Harris Ranch has unveiled what's called a "smart growth" project.

We've all heard of and seen in-fill housing in the city of Boise, but developers for Harris Ranch say this is different. Out of the 1,100 acres they have, they're leaving most of it, 700 acres, permanently open.

Betty Floyd moved into Golden Dawn Estates forty-one years ago. Then, she was surrounded with cattle ranches and open space.

"Well it's really built up," Floyd said.

Since then, there's been a boom in growth and development. Floyd says she doesn't mind as long as it's not an eye sore.

"I think it's just went real smooth," Floyd said.

Her daughter lives underneath the same roof but doesn't share her mothers opinion. "The houses they're building out here are monstrosities, too close together," said Colleen Jensen.

She says the growth has forced out wildlife she learned to love.

"You'd see deer coming down the street here, my mom would get them in her backyard, you just don't see them anymore," Jensen said.

She says the construction causes traffic trouble.

"It causes a headache having to detour and it just causes a major congestion on Boise Avenue."

But Doug Fowler, Harris Ranch project manager, says "density is not a bad thing."

The homes they're building are on smaller lots, with shared driveways and tiny yards, in order to fit almost 100 homes on about 11 acres of land. They call it "smart growth."

"Smart growth is the essence of people trying to live in an area where you don't have excessive urban sprawl at real low densities and where people can use alternative transportation instead of getting in their car to go somewhere," said James Hunter, owner of Boise Hunter Homes. "They can ride bikes or walk to go to various parts of the community."

"We think this is an asset to the community because it is located on the Greenbelt and it's so close to the urban core," said Chad Hamel, land development project manager for Harris Ranch.

Developers say this is a trend that's site-specific; for those who want to be close to downtown with low-maintenance land.

"I don't think you can do it out in rural areas, it has kind of a more urban feel to it," Hamel said.

Harris Ranch says before it can think about spreading these projects to other areas, they still have up to 15 years of work to do.
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