Plan Big: Harris Ranch

APA Idaho


Friday, October 13, 2017
8:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. MDT

CM | 1.25

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The 1700 acre Harris Ranch Development Project within the city limits of Boise, Idaho went aground in 2005 when city officials, conservation advocates, and neighbors emerged and disagreed with continuous and ambiguous changes to the master plan. A new development manager was hired and suggested a community participatory design charrette process to redesign the community such that stakeholders would understand the Harris family's motivations as well as each other's concerns.

 The charrette involved officials from city planning, public works, parks, design review, fire and police, school district, as well as highway district, property owners,  neighborhood associations, conservation groups, Idaho Fish and Game, transit authority, bicycle advocates, Idaho Smart Growth, and other local developers. The process involved developing criteria with stakeholders at the beginning of the 5 day process for all to evaluate what emerged as 5 different design schemes. The Harris family graciously agreed to abide by the results - a dense, gridded, urban infill, transit village surrounded by hundreds of acres of foothills and river conservation areas, two parks, schools, a full range of housing sizes and types from cottages to mid-rise condos, mixed-use retail and commercial center, transit stops, pathways and trails, bald eagle, heron, and large wildlife habitat, 'green' streets and building practices, while still preserving the original ranch homestead and other historical/cultural assets.

 The project was approved in 2007as the first plan under Boise’s Specific Plan Ordinance, has had several amendments since relating to market and real estate product evolvements, and infrastructure challenges. While the planning and community involvement was as rewarding as it was arduous - the actual infrastructure, financing and construction has proven equally challenging. We will share some of the unique challenges of all of these aspects and discuss your questions.


Sherry McKibben


Contact Info

Diane Kushlan,