History of Avimor
Currently, as of early 2021, Avimor sits on nearly 23,000 acres of foothills land north of Eagle, Idaho. The McLeod family purchased the property in 1916 and ran a sheep and cattle ranch known as the Spring Valley Ranch. Colin McLeod, a Scottish immigrant, raised his family on the ranch and began to purchase surrounding parcels, ultimately growing the foothills ranch to about 37,000 acres at one time. The ranch stayed in the hands of the McLeod family, passing from Colin McLeod, to Colin “Smokey” McLeod Jr., and then on to Colin “Sandy” McLeod III.
In early 2000, the McLeod family decided to develop the Spring Valley Ranch (the entire 23,000 acres). In 2002, they partnered with SunCor, a large national developer, and now with Avimor Partners, LLC.
Avimor is currently an 840 acre master planned community. There are just over 22,000 additional acres included in the Trust for future expansion of the planned community. When complete, Avimor plans to have nearly 10,000 homes when fully built out spanning into Boise County, Gem County, and west to Willow Creek.
The first phase, located east of Hwy 55 just south of the Boise County line is currently under production. It includes 661 single-family homes ranging from small 1,000 sq ft starter homes to custom lots for large estate homes. It also includes commercial area with 175,000 sq ft of office and retail space, other amenities, and miles of improved trails.
Avimor plans to provide trails that are available to the community and the public.
Avimor has committed to building an environmentally friendly project. Homes are built with the materials needed to exceed the standard energy efficiency codes by at least 30%. Community landscaping incorporates native and drought tolerant plants. Avimor wants to ensure that fire wise principles and conservation efforts are consistently and diligently applied.
Following is the research into how Avimor came into being. The Spring Valley/M3 Development also was part of the story since it too was sold by the McLeod’s, so it is included first.
Spring Valley Development
In 2005, The M3/Spring Valley Development initially began when Dallas Police and Fire Pension System bought 6,000 acres from the Spring Valley Livestock Ranch for $42 million in 2005 and hired Arizona-based M3 to develop it into a planned community, (according to the Idaho Statesman). This land is located east of SH 16, north of the BLM land, and east to Willow Creek Road with just a small portion across the road.
12-27-2007 M3 – 11A-11-1: M3/SPRING VALLEY DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT:
On December 27, 2007, the city and M3 entered into a development agreement, instrument no. 107170114, The City of Eagle annexed the 6,000 acres of M3/Spring Valley and approved the development of nearly 7,000 homes. The annexation included the BLM land also.The development seemed imminent, but then the Wall Street crash hit hard and questions mounted in Texas about the pension system’s investments.
9-16-2011, The Spring Valley CID Number 1 was formed by the City of Eagle in accordance with Idaho Code Title 50, Chapter 31. M3 Eagle, Limited Liability Company (L.L.C.); M3 Builders, L.L.C.; and the M3 Companies, L.L.C., an Arizona limited liability company, its sole member filed a Petition Formation and Petition For Adoption Of Resolutions Declaring Intent To Form The Spring Valley Community Infrastructure District Number 1 (City of Eagle, Idaho) in accordance with Idaho Code, Title 50, Chapter 31 on the 16th day of September 2011.
In 2012 M3, Eagle created a community infrastructure district that would pay for capital improvements to the site. The project briefly came back to life in 2014 when Eagle approved the first subdivision with a water treatment plant, the Idaho Statesman reported, but it never got built.
On January 14, 2014 M3, the Eagle city council approved the “M3/Spring Valley development agreement” superseding the previous development agreement.
In 2021, Utah-based The Clyde Companies and GWC Capital recently purchased Spring Valley and have been working with the City of Eagle to start building homes.
In 2002, the McLeod family decided to develop the Spring Valley Livestock Ranch and partnered with SunCor, a large national developer. With the downturn in the economy the McLeod family trust and SunCor later dissolved their partnership and formed Avimor Partners, LLC.
In 2004, Avimor submitted a Planned Community application to Ada County; both cities of Boise and Eagle opposed the Avimor development application.
In 2005, Ada County approved 839 units for Avimor. By the fall of 2021, sixteen years after initial approval, only 661 units had been constructed, approximately 79%.
In 2006/2007, Avimor owner, SunCor Idaho, LLC, constructed a state-of-the-art Wastewater Reclamation Facility at a cost of $5,080,000. The facility was designed by Pharmer Engineering. Until recently there was not enough sewage to operate the plant so raw sewage was trucked to the Boise treatment facility. With the addition of more homes and commercial buildings, the wastewater facility is now in full operation. Sewer rates are advertised by Avimor at $116.25 per quarter. However, in the fall of 2021, Avimor announced the sale of the Avimor Water Reclamation Company to Puttman Infrastructure Sewage. Rates for residents under the new ownership have not been advertised.
In 2008, the recession hit the US as well as Idaho. There had been seven planned communities but the recession reduced that number to just one, Hidden Springs. Both Avimor and Dry Creek have moved forward with development agreements through Ada and Boise Counties but not as planned communities.
In 2016, the Ada County Comprehensive Plan designated the Eagle Foothills as “Rangeland” with 10 & 40 acre minimums. Avimor’s denser development plans didn’t fit into those requirements so it was critical at that point that Avimor push for annexation into the City of Eagle.
In 2017 growth was booming and Avimor requested the City of Eagle begin work on annexation of Avimor into the city. No application was submitted. The City raised concerns about the level of services and cost of services due to the distance and foothills location including police and fire response times, library services, prosecution and court services, water services, roadway authority and transportation impacts.
During this same time the City of Eagle continued to hear concerns from citizens about growth in Eagle and how annexation and development were impacting the overall character of the City of Eagle. It was estimated at the time if Avimor was incorporated into the City, 40% of the City’s population would be in the foothills, miles away from the city center and services.
In 2018, the City of Eagle, met with Avimor Partnership LLC to discuss issues related to annexation of Avimor and the issues that were of concern. Until May 2019 the City of Eagle was actively working with Avimor to determine if annexation was possible and mutually beneficial through a reimbursement agreement. As of October 1, 2019 Avimor never made a formal application for annexation to the City of Eagle.
In April 2021, Boise County Commissioners gave the green light for planned community Avimor to expand across the Ada County line and build 1,700 new homes along Highway 55. This newest phase of the development is expected to take 12 to 15 years to complete and stretch over 6,100 acres. One major issue was coverage for EMS services for the homes in Boise County. Avimor has agreed to pay Ada County a $75 fee for each home built in Boise County.
The Idaho Transportation Department also put some stipulations on the project. The department capped Avimor’s building in Boise County to 600 homes so it can further study the project’s impacts on Highway 55. To reduce traffic, Avimor is planning to construct an underpass at the intersection of the highway and McLeod Way, north of the development to help cars cross the highway between sections of Avimor without impacting through traffic. This will include acceleration and deceleration lanes for cars to merge into Avimor at the main entrance.
The sign-off from Boise County gives the go ahead for Avimor’s planned community in the county. It comes with its own land-use plan and a customized zoning ordinance to outline what kinds of development can be built where. Avimor will need subsequent
approvals from the county for specific plats of homes and commercial development within the project before construction.
Avimor plans to develop closest to the Ada County line first before moving further north toward Pearl Road, developing homes and commercial areas in small clusters across the large area. Roughly half of it will be left for open space, with pockets of development in between.
Engineering for this project is underway and it is anticipated to be completed at the end of 2022, which coincides with the first homes being completed on the Boise County side of the project. ITD will later revisit the development and how the traffic improvements, including additional turn lanes further north along Highway 55, impacted traffic and possibly lift the cap so building can continue.