Need more proof that the world has discovered North-ERN Idaho? No folks, The View isn't updating their Top 5 Undiscoved Towns list again. Rather, look no further than the latest development proposal for a roughly 600 acre chunk-o-land near Hayden, Idaho. This is big for the Inland Northwest...and we're not just talking about the size of this development.
This is our region's first attempt at a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND), or new urbanism (which to us is really just 'good urbanism'). We took a look over the site plan/project overview and it looks, well, quite appealing [download pdf here]. And rightfully so, as the developers have certainly stacked their development team with some well known talent from the new urbanist circles (Duany, Plater-Zyberk & Co, Zimmerman-Volk Associates, Strategic Economics, and Spokane's very own ARTIOS).
The proposal is to take this 600 acres and build it out to about 1,800 residential units of all shapes and sizes, 90,000-150,000 sf of commercial/mixed use, a school, community center, and arts school. Implementation would occur in phases over a six year time frame.
Unfortunately, trouble is a brewin'. It seems a number of neighbors of the proposed project aren't too thrilled about the plans. The usual NIMBY-isms have been flying for weeks, and they seem to have scored their first victory with the Hayden Planning Commission. Next round - The Hayden City Council. The first mistake is to think this is just another development. It doesn't appear to be. This effort is more about making a place rather than another soulless collection of boxes to store you're stuff. The second is for the NIMBY's to think life here in the INW is going to remain 'semi-rural' forever. If one believes the credo that 'growth is inevitable', then the residents and City Council of Hayden should consider allowing the annexation that will allow this project to move ahead. The next option might not be as pleasant. We only wish Spokane had developers interested in doing something like Hayden Canyon over here.
- NPR Feature from October 19th (real audio)