2003 Blog Archive

The following are being carried forward from the former website. They are not being posted for comment but are interesting as a reference or time machine🙂 Dave

Cathedral Place: No Solutions To Dilemma (8/20/03)

A group of concerned neighbors recently met with the Cathedral of the Rockies development committee. The common ground that we found was an interest in developing a parking garage under the Boise High School track. This would solve the school’s, neighborhood’s, and church’s parking problems.

Unfortunately, the church and developer Jim Tomlinson still want to tear apart even more of this historic neighborhood, not just the two blocks that they have already proposed destroying, nor recognizing the losses/damages of the adjacent 1894 Whittier School block that developer David Southers tore down in April of 2003, but even more historic and conservation district properties after that. If that isn’t greed, I don’t know what is.

The City and ACHD have stated that these historic residential and multiple neighborhood school streets will be turned into multi-lane heavy traffic arterials if the Cathedral or other heavy density projects are approved in this area.

ACHD emphasized that they own the parking strip, the trees, and the sidewalks, and if these projects are approved NOBODY will have a choice about the street widenings. The Cathedral of the Rockies itself has approximately 150 children per day at risk along these streets. The other impacted neighborhood schools have approximately 3,200 children exposed to the increasing traffic pollution, projectiles, and stranger dangers.

Probably most stunning in regard to the meeting with the Cathedral of the Rockies was their comment that they don’t predict having a real parking shortage for 10 to 15 years. They are just tearing down historic houses and neighborhood now to prevent any protection of the neighborhood. As to the run down condition of the houses they want to destroy, the church has purchased these properties and deliberately mismanaged them for more than a decade so that they could destroy them at a later date. If you look at the sad condition of these properties you will see the church’s true feelings about the North End neighborhood. There is no reason to believe their management of the massive and noncompatible new project would be any different from what you can see on their properties right now. Their aggression against their neighbors and neighborhood has caused a lot of pain and stress, which is now how many people will forever view the Cathedral of the Rockies and Tomlinson and Associates.

There is a huge number of vacant parcels nearer downtown for high density housing – destroying local, state, and nationally recognized historic properties, districts, as well as school safety for thousands of children is completely unnecessary. Perhaps the Cathedral could be turned into a condo/apartment complex and the church could move out along the freeway or other arterial where they could do less damage to the existing community as they apparently plan to continue gobbling up everything around them. It has been a very rude awakening to realize that a neighbor that we thought was a positive in the neighborhood is every bit or more destructive than a major drug dealer in our midst. Instead of harmony and peace they teach greed and destruction. Unfortunately, the majority of our neighborhood’s children are in their way.

Cathedral Place: Is It As Bad As They Claim?

As a member of the First United Methodist Church, and as a youth member of the Administrative Council, I have gotten a front row look at the issue of Cathedral Place, and the controversy surrounding it. As a (hopeful) future politician, I am using the Cathedral Place debate as a learning experience, showing the power of the people. However, I would like to give my two cents on the matter, even if I’m not old enough to vote.

First of all, the revocation of the demolition permits was one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. City Code doesn’t allow demo permits to be revoked, just because of public disagreement on the matter. Besides, look at the homes on this block: Several are condemned, so they are unusable, and the rest look horrible, and are in disrepair. One of the homes I speak of is our church’s own youth house. The house itself isn’t all that big – it’s hard to believe that at one time it was a 2-apartment home. The home itself looks horrible, and it would cost less to build a new youth center than to repair the existing one. I admit, that house holds a lot of memories; my footprint is even on the wall along the stairs. However, when it is demolished, I will be happy to see it gone.

Another matter is the “gargantuan” apartment complex we are trying to build on this block. After it’s initial rejection by the planning and zoning board, we have started the redesigning process, not only to downsize the number of apartments, but to look at other possibilites for portions of the block. In fact, an idea has been brought up to build a new, state-of-the-art youth center, to sit on the same location where the delapitated youth house sits now.

Part of the complaints surrounding Cathedral Place is the parking it provides. Most people think that it will just be for members of the church, and the residents of the apartments built above it. This is simply not the case. The church will more than likely return the favor of loaning parking places from the YMCA, Boise High School, and the surrounding businesses, allowing parking for YMCA and business patrons, as well as Boise High students. I currently go to Boise High, and I don’t want to drive to school, simply because I don’t want to try to find a parking spot! When I heard parking would be available to Boise High students, I was ready to vote then and there – I wanted a covered place to park my car come senior year. Unfortunately, due to the problems we have encountered regarding the building of this project, I may graduate before I see them break ground.

I encourage anybody who has questions regarding Cathedral Place to contact our architect, Mr. Jim Tomlinson, at his workplace. I also encourage the Coalition for the Near North End to wait until the new church directory is published, before sending another letter to “Pat & (large blank) C***********”.

Hale Development Lacks Creativity (08/01/03)

Where do you draw the line? The Northend has always been known for it’s architectural diversity along with its blend of cultures, demographics and lifestyle. Once in a while someone comes along that seemingly, and possibly unknowingly inserts a brand of generic, lifeless buildings into our landscape and gets away with it. What can we do?

This may well be the reasons you may start appreciating the historic area designation. Hale is preparing to add a multi unit development to the block just north of Hyde Park. Is this the type of development you want in the neighborhood?

Summer 2003 Northend.org/Thunder Mountain Line Poll (7/24/03)

Question: In order of importance what is the most important issue
facing our community today?

1. Economy 25.6%
2. Preservation 18.0%
3. Environment 15.4%
4. Tie – Development and City Govt. 10.3%
5. Tie – Education and Crime 7.7%
6. Recreation 5.1%

The results are based on a sampling 437 households with 39 or 6.5% of the total.
Opinion Columbia Disaster Perspective (02/01/03)

The tremendous loss of the people on Columbia at the end of STS107’s mission reminds me of the many things we are thinking about as we go through our daily lives in 2003. The impending Iraq conflict, the deteriorating school system and economy, rising crime rates, and our own Northend issues like development, traffic and public safety.
The people of this crew were very representative of who we are and where our interests lie. They were from all corners of the US, an immigrant and an ally. They embraced the risks and opportunities of what they did and were lost in the final minutes of a triumphant adventure that took them to the stars.

Opinion Coalition for the Near Northend – Cathedral Place Position (01/29/03)

We represent many of the residents and owners of the homes in the neighborhood surrounding the Cathedral of the Rockies.

We are concerned about the number of apartments, the enormous size of the parking structure, and the adverse effects it will have on our neighborhood. We did not object to the original expansion of the Church in 2000 because the construction was confined to the existing site and the application and a letter from the architect, stated: “The grand total of all off-street parking available is 274 stalls which is in excess of either parking requirement assumption.” It went on to state “…the reality is that in this case, most of the church goers park on the street and have done so the past 50-years. There are approximately 410 parking spaces available along the curb within a 2 block walk from the church. Church services are held on Sunday which do not conflict with business uses or student parking from Boise High School.”

We oppose the Cathedral Place Project because it will completely change the nature of our neighborhood. We feel that the neighborhood should be made aware of the impacts of this project and should know that:

This project will create 139 apartments with 207 bedrooms on a block that formerly had 13 homes with less than 40 bedrooms.

The project includes a 3-level parking garage that has 417 spaces and will bigger than 4 of the public parking garages in downtown Boise.
The cost of each parking stall is projected to be $9,000.

The residents of the apartments will generate a heavy impact of an additional 1,150 vehicle trips daily, past our homes.  Currently, according to Ada County Highway District [ACHD] traffic studies, Fort and Hays Streets are at, or exceed, the recommended traffic volume that they were designed to handle. In fact, Fort Street is already 2 levels above the recommended level. The added traffic will create more dangerous pollution in an area that already has air quality problems according to DEQ.

It will make the streets more dangerous for the children attending the neighboring Washington Elementary, North Junior High, Boise High and St. Joseph’s Elementary.

Construction of this project will lead the way to reclassifying Fort, Hays, 13th and 15th Streets to allow massive traffic capacity increases.

If this project is allowed, 4,000 to 5,000 truck loads of dirt will need to be removed through our neighborhood streets.

ACHD has determined this project will place an undue burden on neighborhood streets and exacerbate an already existing problem.

The project is incompatible with the requirements of The Fort Street National Historic District. It is too big, and out of character with the area.

We ask you to please (1) post a sign in your yard, (2) express your objection to this project by attending the Boise City Planning and Zoning meeting at the Boise City Hall, on February 3, 2003 at 6 p.m. and (3) express your objection to this project by contacting immediately:

The First Untied Methodist Church 717 N. 11th Street, Boise, Idaho 83702
(208-343-7511) churchoffice@boisefumc.org

Boise City Planning and Zoning 150 N. Capitol Blvd., Boise, Idaho 83702
(208-384-3830) wgibbs@cityofboise.org

Mayor & Boise City Council 150 N. Capitol Blvd., Boise, Idaho 83702
(208-384-4422) mayor&council@cityofboise.org

Please call Polly Peterson (389-1303) with questions or suggestions.

Signing for The Coalition for The Near North End,
Susan M. Graham 1005 W. Fort Street Boise, Idaho 83702

Response to the Northend Coalition Article (02/01/03)

Let me start by saying that the article on the protest was absolutely bogus. Dozens of protesters? more like 9 and a dog. Also when you say that half of the church is against it, that’s wrong. None of your article is fact. treehuggers need to get a life.

“DJ Crowbar”
To: Protesters


Nice article, I understand your concern. Your scared. Scared of change. There are already run down apartment buildings all around the North end that charge way to much. Cathedral place is “Affordable” and liveable. Affordable housing is important, Many of you may think that it’s not because your homeowners of beautiful houses. You have the money to pay for that. Alot of people don’t. By protesting your jeopardising their chance to live in an affordable place that’s not a slum. You say that Cathedral Place is tearing apart community. Well guess what, it’s building community. Everything will eventually change. You people are just so used to knowing everyone and living in tight clusters of friends.

Well This is’nt the 50’s so wake up. Cathedral Place is’nt all about parking and money. It’s about the people, it’s not about money at all but parking is an issue. However, Studies in big cities have shown that apartment buildings built this close to the city encourages and makes more people walk to work. It’s not that bad of a deal. In fact, it’s not bad at all. You should be excited about a growing community. And for the other apartment buildings, several owners of the appartment buildings in the North end have admitted that “They don’t want the competition” But honestly, would you rather have better for less money, or worse for more money. “Fort street freeway” you protestors are simply blameing the North end’s current problems on cathedral place. You say that “Cathedral place will turn the North end into a slum” Well..The North end is a slum alreadey, I mean like I said most of you protestors live in nice houses, but most of the North end Doesn’t. Fort Street is already busy, that’s not the Churches fault. There is already an old rusting antique truck parked right buy the crosswalk which makes it impossible to see if cars are coming when you cross the street. Who does that Truck belong to? To learn is to Change. The Cathedral Place will raise the standards of the North end. Just wait and see.

Thank you (Crowbar) (back to top)

To: Crowbar

There were approximately 30 to 35 protesters at the last picketing of the Cathedral of the Rockies that I attended, a tad more than “Crowbar” is claiming. Maybe he should take off his shoes and socks so he can count higher. The parishioners seemed even more afraid of their pastor and the development committee than they were previously, although several were still whispering their thanks to us for protesting, saying that they thought the project was wrong for the neighborhood and shameful for the church.

We’ve heard from over a dozen families that are quitting the church because of the destruction the Cathedral of the Rockies has planned for this nationally listed historic neighborhood. Just because the Cathedral might get away with this legally through pulling political strings, that doesn’t mean that it’s morally or ethically right. It’s clearly not right for the neighborhood from the impacted neighbors’ points of view, nor from those not impacted but still caring about this old neighborhood, not from the head of the State Historic Preservation Society’s official position, not according to the highway district’s ruling of an undue burden, and not from Boise City staff’s recommendation for denial of the project. It also violates reams of Comprehensive Plan policies, local ordinances, and State Statutes.

The Cathedral’s impacts will also nail several neighborhood schools and generations of thousands of children. What’s not to like? For an organization that is supposed to be a benevolent force in the community, teaching family and community values, they come across as aggressively destructive and greedy, some of their leaders and development committee calling the neighborhood preservationists “stupid” and “liars”.

In my opinion they are tarnishing the reputation of both the Cathedral and all those worshipping there, craving the almighty dollar to the point that they are willing to force so much destruction, degradation, and unpleasantness on their neighbors as to drive them out of their homes and community.

We pray for the neighborhood to survive the church’s ambitions and lack of compassion.


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