KUNA — The Kuna City Council voted 2-1 on Tuesday to approve annexation of a 165-acre tract of land that could one day be used for a new subdivision.

The annexation plan was requested by the developer of Renascence Farm and Mason Creek Farms. The land is located between Ten Mile Road and Black Cat Road and the developer sought to have it annexed into Kuna and rezoned as residential, with a medium density.

The proposal to annex the acreage has been contentious with some Meridian residents who see the move by Kuna officials as a land grab. Some property owners and critics of the annexation told the council they bought land in the area because of it’s low-density character and are frustrated with changes to the comprehensive plan to making it medium density.

Before the vote, Kuna Planning and Zoning official Troy Behuin said the annexation would include different parts of parcels owned by different residents.

Behuin said the developer, Tim Eck, has the legal authority request annexation because the property abuts city boundaries and meets other requirements.

“The history of this application is long,” Behuin told city officials. “The applicant has been working on this for over 10 years and other homeowners have been working towards the same goals for seven years.”

The property is also near a city sewer water treatment plant, making it possible to connect any development to the city’s water and sewer system. Many residents in the area are now being served by well water systems and a lagoon-style septic system that could one day raise concerns by state environmental regulators.

Kevin McCarthy, an attorney representing Eck, said his client intends to present a preliminary plat of the future subdivision to the council in the future.

“We have a plan to provide a variety of lot types in sizes across the site,” McCarthy said.

A crowd of residents with varied opinions of the development attended the meeting.

Linda Lake, a Meridian resident, said she is in favor of the project. Lake owns about five acres near Amity Road an Black Cat Road and said she came as well on behalf of three other homeowners in the area who are in favor of a future development, in part for the chance to connect to Kuna’s infrastructure.

“We have about 70 acres there that we represent,” Lake said. “And we are really looking forward to the development. The property that we own have a septic system and well systems that are old.”

Roy Spalding, a Nampa resident, said his parents live on the property and he is in favor of the subdivision and annexation.

“I am in favor because the annexation allows my parents to split their land,” Spalding said. “So I can build on that land and help them. The developer has been great with us and helping us figure this out. As long as he keeps his agreements than I am in favor.”

But for Meridian resident and annexation critic Tim Kelly, there are already so many residents and homes in the nearby Bittercreek Subdivision.

“When land development occurs there should be discussion with those who have already developed,” Kelly said.

Kelly said the city’s impact boundary and zoning map does not consider the residents in the Bittercreek subdivision or any development project north of Lake Hazel Road. He complained that this project is being done without sufficient thought and planning by city officials.

“This development is neither logical or orderly,” Kelly said. “It’s a classic example of leapfrogging. According to the housing plan, development should be done logically to plan for services.”

Kelly said Meridian did the same thing with the Bittercreek Subdivision and it negatively impacted the residents within the subdivision when it came to connecting to Meridian’s water and sewer network.

Ada County resident Steve Glubber, who bought land based on the comprehensive plan’s designation that the area would remain rural, said he is strongly opposed to the annexation.

“But now Kuna wants to make it residential, so what is the point of spending money on comprehensive plans?” Glubber said. “As residents, we purchase homes based on your plans and now it’s like ‘well nevermind.’ I am totally against this. If for some reason the city goes ahead on this it should be no bigger than (low density) zoning.”

But Eck said annexation is the best way to ensure future homes are connected to city services, and in extended talks with the city he’s agreed to build a lift station during phase one of construction. Eck said his plan is to build three or four homes per acre instead of six and will include a greenbelt across Mason Creek. He also envisions fencing around the subdivision.

“There will be a lift station there that will take (the septic tanks) offline,” Eck said “This was years of negotiation with the city of Kuna.”

Mayor Joe Stear also sought to dispel notions of Kuna simply making a land grab from the city of Meridian, and Eck added that the project has the blessing of Meridian leaders.

“We are part of fixing the problem between Kuna and Meridian,” Eck said.

Before voting, council members discussed school district boundaries and where students living in the subdivisions would enroll. Behuin said the boundaries now make it a nearly even split between the Kuna School District and the West Ada School District. Behuin said the school districts have had one meeting, but it would take more talks before any boundaries would be redrawn.

Eck said he hopes to start construction of the new subdivisions in 2018 and will have a preliminary plat presented to the council in the next few months.

Council member Pat Jones cast the lone vote against annexation.

Danielle Wiley is the reporter for the Kuna Melba News. Contact her at 922-3008 or email her at editor@kunamelba.com

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