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Letter To The Editor – Christina Marie Stanley

Dear Editor:

On January 18th , 2022, the Weiser Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing to consider Agile Homes proposal to modify setbacks and open space requirements for our B & B1 zoning regulations. Agile Homes claimed that by changing the regulations it would give the new development more of a “neighborhood” feel, while at the same time claiming they need to provide options for bigger garages, RV parking, back patio covers and smaller front yards. How do any of those things make a community more neighborly? The commission voted three to one to deny the proposal.

While on the surface this modification seemed harmless because Agile Homes has already been granted approval to build, this affects more than just the Agile Homes subdivision. The modification would have applied to all properties in B & B1, which is approximately one third to one half of the entire area of the City of Weiser and I am grateful for the commission’s decision.

Having said that, I am dismayed by the lack of participation from the citizens of Weiser. Besides me there were two other citizens in the gallery who were not employed by city or county or who were brought in from Boise to sing the praises of code changes in development. We have all seen how well that has served Boise and many of us have moved here to avoid what has happened in Boise and surrounding communities.

Although I am against new subdivisions in Weiser, I know that they will soon be part of the landscape. The questions are how much of the landscape, how quickly, and in what form? Last night I heard the argument that we need more houses so people who want to live in Weiser can move here and have options and choices in buying a home. That raises the question: Why do people want to live in Weiser? Why did you move to Weiser? Was it because you were raised here and want your children to have the experiences and values of growing up in a small town? Was it to live in a town with historic feel and character? Was it to get away from cookie cutter houses, crowded communities, and the traffic and congestion that comes with urban sprawl? These are reasons I hear every day, but at the same time I hear Weiser needs to grow. It’s puzzling.

Like any puzzle, there’s a solution. Since the city appears to be in favor of new construction, I don’t see any reason why there can’t be a happy medium. Maybe slow development and strive to attract builders that specialize in new construction that replicate classic designs that would blend with our current community, instead of what I call, garages with houses attached. This would satisfy the needs of those who don’t want the challenges that come with owning an older home while preserving the look and feel of Weiser. At the same time, P&Z might consider the zoning of new developments to zones that require larger lot sizes to mitigate the impact on existing roads and city services which with current zoning for new developments will quickly be overwhelmed.

If we are willing to think outside the box in providing housing opportunities, we can grow while preserving the integrity of Weiser.

Regards,
Christina Marie Stanley

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