Bi-Mart construction is underway

Bi-Mart, located on Deer Flat Road near Ridley’s Market, is being constructed. Its estimated completion date is October or November.

ALX GEORGE/KUNA MELBA NEWS

KUNA — What are city leaders doing to bring new businesses and industry to Kuna?

The question has been raised in light of new subdivisions being developed.

Several city departments, such as Kuna Planning and Zoning, along with committees like the Economic Development Committee are working together to come up with answers.

Some new businesses, such as Bi-Mart, are well on their way to being open. And, there’s more where that came from, such as Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill.

City officials are also offering advice to residents for ensuring they are informed, and their voices are heard.

PLANNING FOR GROWTH

The city’s population is around 19,700 people, according to Trevor Kesner, a planner with Kuna Planning and Zoning. Twenty-five new subdivisions are in various stages of planning and development. Some, like the 677-home Springhill Subdivision, are going through approval phases, while others have some homes built and are getting ready to build more in later phases.

With the homes will come businesses, Kuna Mayor Joe Stear said.

“It’s pretty obvious where the growth is at,” Stear said. “Those spaces are going to be taken up real soon.”

To help bring in businesses and industry, the city is looking into creating a new position for an economic development director.

While the city has an Economic Development Planning Committee, which Stear is part of, the proposed economic development director would bring focused, expert efforts to bringing new businesses and industry to Kuna. The committee looked at Mountain Home’s economic development director position to get an idea for creating a possible position in Kuna.

“Having a point person is going to be vital,” Stear said. “Someone who can make contact with businesses … (who can) help with leads and determine (the community’s) needs and interest.”

The salary and benefits are being discussed in city council budget meetings. A salary of $60,000 was initially proposed at a June meeting, but that will likely go up when benefits are factored in, Stear said.

The Planning and Zoning Department also has a role in bringing new business and industry to Kuna, according to Kesner. Idaho Department of Commerce will send emails to planning and zoning departments throughout Idaho requesting feedback on site feasibility for new or expanding industry.

“It is kind of like a showcase, if you will,” Kesner said. “We present our city as the best choice for your business to locate here.”

GET ACTIVE IN PLANNING

Kesner offers two recommendations to residents on staying informed, and involved, with potential incoming businesses or subdivisions.

The first is to attend Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, which are held 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Information about what will be discussed at the meeting, such as what a business is proposing, is often available the Friday before the meeting.

“The Planning and Zoning Commission is the first stop for all new development,” Kesner said. “Any citizen or interested person that wants to come to a public hearing by all means, please show up we love to hear from our citizens.”

The second recommendation to stay informed and involved is for residents to attend City Comprehensive Plan meetings, which details current and future property purposes. Kesner said the city will put out a survey to get feedback from residents, and people can attend comprehensive plan public input meetings.

“Kuna Planning and Zoning is working really hard with our partners in the region to be able to accommodate the growth that we know is coming,” Kesner said. “It doesn’t please everyone, that the growth is happening, but there’s not much that we can do to stop it. So we have to plan for it and we have to make sure that we can accommodate it in an appropriate fashion.”

Alx George is the Kuna Melba News reporter. Contact her at 208-922-3008 or editor@kunamelba.com.

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