Gary Allen, the Shakespeare Festival’s attorney, said he’s confident the festival can raise enough money to buy the property in less than a year. He’s basing that on broad support for the festival and just as broad opposition among festival supporters to Jim Conger’s proposed 43-home subdivision.
Ann Triplett, who owns the land with her husband David, said she’s not interested in selling to the Shakespeare Festival, “period, end of story.” That’s because where there was once a good and trusting relationship between her family and the festival, Triplett said, there’s now only hurt and mistrust.
But Allen said the festival isn’t particularly interested in owning the Tripletts’ land. The Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands, which owns the nearby 700-acre Barber Pool Conservation Area, makes the most sense as a long-term owner, he said. That should make it easier to deal with some of the property’s complications, such as cleaning up two inactive sewage lagoons and setting aside a larger easement to protect Ada County’s Barber Dam, Allen said.
Charlie Fee, producing artistic director of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, said the festival is trying to put together enough money to buy the Tripletts’ property. He called the Triplett-Conger-Shakespeare dispute “longer than ‘King Lear and twice’ as complicated.’”
Fee implored the city not to allow Jim Conger’s proposed Barber Mill Estates.
David Triplett, who owns the property in question with his wife Ann, said wildlife has never spent much time on his land.
A representative of Ada County says the county wants a bigger easement on the Tripletts’ land. The idea is to protect Barber Dam, which the county owns. The county also wants a 10-foot fence to separate the easement property from Jim Conger’s development, if it is allowed.
But Boise current planning manager Cody Riddle said six feet is the maximum height allowed for fences in residential subdivisions. That’s not necessarily set in stone though, Riddle said. Since the fence would be inside the development, the fence height might be flexible. But staff would want to have input on the design of the fence. One of the concerns is whether such a fence would accommodate movement of wild animals such as deer.
Gary Allen says Jim Conger’s proposed noise-mitigation measures won’t do much to protect the amphitheater against noise from houses in Conger’s proposed subdivision, and vice versa.
Responding to a question from Boise City Councilman David Eberle, Allen said that there is an “irreconcilable conflict” between the Shakespeare Festival’s amphitheater and any housing development on the Tripletts’ property. However, a subdivision with fewer homes than the 43 Conger is proposing might be acceptable. Either that, or the property should be used for something else, he said.
Gary Allen, attorney for Idaho Shakespeare Festival, is emphasizing concerns that led to Planning and Zoning’s denial of Conger’s application. Among them is the worry that the Tripletts and Conger won’t do a good enough job cleaning up two inactive sewage lagoons on the property. Another concern is the flood plain in the area, and whether Conger’s development would increase the risk that the subdivision and the Shakespeare Festival’s amphitheater would flood.
A Boise staff member said maps of the flood plain that Allen used are outdated, and it’s unlikely a flood would rise above a berm surrounding part of the Tripletts’ land.
As he began his remarks, Allen asked everyone in the audience who was against the proposed development to stand. Nearly everyone – about 150 – did.
“At the end of the day, this is a standard subdivision that’s trying to cram itself into a sensitive space where it doesn’t belong, and it should be denied,” Allen said.
The representative for the David and Ann Triplett, who own the land and filed the appeal, says developer Jim Conger is proposing a waiver that would discourage potential homeowners from complaining about noise coming from the amphitheater. This is one of the major concerns that Shakespeare’s leaders and supporters have talked about: that people who live in the houses would try to shut down the amphitheater’s nighttime performances due to noise.
The Tripletts’ representative says Conger would take the following steps to reduce noise concerns:
- Construction standards for areas near airports
- keep a dirt berm between the Tripletts’ property and the amphitheater in place
- buffering with storage units between the properties
- increased setbacks
- deed restrictions and CCRs
- time limits on construction-related activity and use of storage units
About 50 people are signed up to speak at tonight’s hearing on an appeal of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s denial of developer Jim Conger’s request to build 43 homes on 12 acres next to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s East End amphitheater.
Considering how hotly contested this issue has been, it’s no surprise to see a crowd of 150 or more in the council chambers.
Everyone expects this to be a long one. Some people are wondering if the Council will hand down a decision before midnight.
Check back for updates. I’ll be discussing the issue through the hearing.