August 2022 Postcard Answers
We can only guess, but time is money to Avimor. It’s far less expensive to donate money to political candidates and Political Action Committees to improve their annexation chances as opposed to incorporation which would be a lengthy process. Avimor would have to petition appropriate county commissions for approval, obtain permission from surrounding cities and existing residents as well. They’d have to create a city government, a budget, hire staff, hold elections, conduct open meetings with transparency and be answerable to the public.
There is no sure way to know how the aquifer under Eagle will be impacted by 9000 new homes in Avimor. In Avimor’s agreement with the City of Eagle and Sage Investments, Avimor will be required to provide its own water initially. It appears that this water is supplied from an aquifer different from the aquifer that currently supplies existing Eagle residents. Once the infrastructure is complete, those water rights will be turned over to the City of Eagle, who will then manage the system and allocate water as needed. The water systems will then be connected so we can’t be sure what will happen to what water goes where after that. But, at least Avimor won’t be purchasing more Veolia water which comes from Treasure Valley wells and aquifers. The water situation can change but this is what we understand as of August 2022.
Two studies ordered by the Eagle City Council both projected a negative impact to existing taxpayers if Avimor is annexed into the city. The first study was under a prior administration and they determined that it wasn’t fiscally smart for Eagle to annex Avimor. The second study is provided below.
- TischlerBise Fiscal Impact Analysis Report – Avimor Development
- This is the presentation made by TischlerBise to Eagle City Council on Nov. 16, 2021.
Avimor disputes those findings, maintaining they’re largely due to Eagle’s impact fees tied to Parks, Pathways and Recreation. They’ve suggested Eagle modify its standards to accommodate their annexation. Short of that happening, existing Eagle taxpayers would bear the burden.
As of August 2022 Avimor has submitted its annexation application to Eagle, dated April 25, 2022. On June 2, 2022, Eagle City Council approved an agreement between Avimor, the City and Sage Investment Partnership to pump water from an Avimor-owned water resource in the foothills north of Eagle. Avimor also presented their community plan to the Parks, Pathways and Recreation Board on June 16, 2022, which was mostly rejected by that Board because it did not comply with Eagle’s standards. The next step will be a public hearing before the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission, then their recommendation. Finally, there will be a public hearing before Eagle City Council where the public can make comments. They then will make their decision.
A shooting park would offer a safer environment for gun or archery enthusiasts, so it could lessen, or mitigate, the number of people who currently shoot on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land where others may be hiking or be engaged in other outdoor activities. While a shooting park will cost money to use, shooting on BLM land would remain free of charge. The City of Eagle does not address shooting activities on BLM land located within city limits.
This is the link to the Eagle Shooting Park Open House held on Mar. 9, 2022. The discussions about the shooting hazards on the BLM land can be found at 48 minutes, 57 minutes , and 1 hour into the recording.
During the June 7, 2022 Town Hall meeting, there was a discussion about property rights for Spring Valley, the developer donating land to Eagle for the proposed shooting park. Not once did the mayor or council address the rights of existing homeowners adjacent to or near the site. How are their rights less important than Spring Valley’s? The homeowners in the area will be subject to increased traffic from shooters and increased sound of shooting near their homes. Could Spring Valley developers find another site to donate that wouldn’t be as potentially damaging to existing and future homeowners? Shooting enthusiasts are entitled to a safe, controlled environment in which to practice their sport. To protect others who have already invested their lives in the area, a different location for the proposed park is in order.
In the Sports Shooting Park Open House, the mayor stated that meetings were held with special user groups to obtain their thoughts about the future venture. They included Code 3 to 1, USPSA, ID Fish & Game, 4-H, (Ada & Canyon Counties,) Appleseed, USA Shooting, the NRA, FBI, ATF, Attorney General, Ada County Sheriff, Garden City Police, and Meridian Police. (Survey Results, 3/22/2022 City Council Meeting & Open House meeting) Shouldn’t ‘regular’ citizens have been allowed to participate too? How about equestrians, hikers, bikers, or area homeowners? Opening those early discussions up would most likely have given other interested parties the opportunity to investigate the proposed park and more importantly, spread the word to other people in advance of the open house. Would more people have attended the open house or responded to the survey had they been given prior notice as those user groups had? The sports shooting park is still a work in progress. Since the open house in March, 2022, the Eagle Council has authorized several studies and is waiting for their delivery to evaluate them.
In addition to a small law enforcement range in the foothills east of Eagle and Highway 55, Avimor has the Rock Creek shooting range in Gem County. Their Crow Foot range was approved by Boise County in April 2022. Both of these ranges are roughly 7 miles from the proposed Eagle site, which would be on Willow Creek Road at the Little Gulch parking area.
Topographical and atmospheric conditions impact the travel of sound. Imagine hearing the noise of gunshots all day long, multiple days of the week, as opposed to an afternoon of engine bursts from the speedway. Eagle has conducted a sound study but results have not been released as yet. Impacted homeowners plan to conduct one too.
Municipal Fiber Project
The Eagle City council authorized the purchase of $1.5M+ for used vehicles nine days before the city even held its Fiber Open House. There were approximately 3 dozen people in attendance and the survey offered to the public was totally inadequate. It provided no information about the project and focused on questions about how much someone would like to pay for access. The city never posted responses to the survey.
SOS Eagle brought this up during the Town Hall meeting on June 7, 2022. Councilman Baun did make a note of it at least. Overall, the study concluded that over a period of 10 years, all 19 municipal projects that were studied failed as they did not generate enough revenue to be self-sustaining. Money had to be infused to either complete the projects or keep them running. The mayor continues to tout the success of Ammon, Idaho, but it’s hard to compare since the town is smaller than Eagle in area as well as population. And, they had a municipal network in place where they could run lines in existing trenches. Should the city of Eagle be competing with private businesses that install fiber?
This is a valid question. The city has already authorized over $2M of the available $6M in ARPA funds for the project that could take 19 years to complete. We don’t know that they have a network diagram yet, and the city hasn’t installed a foot of fiber. A company called Fatbeam is doing it for them so far. The city will also have to hire, or outsource, installers, network technicians and help desk service people. The city is currently advertising for a lead technician project manager. The mayor has stated several times that the city hopes to have 100 subscribers by the end of 2022, which is fast approaching. Though the mayor has said taxes won’t be raised to support this project, the assumption is that taxpayers, whether system subscribers or not, would somehow shoulder the burden if the project isn’t sustainable. The other option would be to abandon the project and complete it at a future date when other money sources become available.