The developers are looking at what is currently public land for new housing areas. Conservation groups want to keep the land public and free from development.
MCCALL, Idaho – In the summer, Payette Lake attracts the attention of many tourists, but recently the area has also gained the attention of developers who are experiencing massive growth, with room for more.
The developers plan to build more affordable housing on land currently public. However, some residents and conservation groups are trying to keep this land out of the hands of developers.
McCall joins a growing list of municipalities in Gem State that are beginning to feel the brunt of the housing crisis that has started in Treasure Valley. The small town’s growth has increased over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and more people moving there through remote work, according to McCall’s director of community and economic development.
âAt McCall our economic development strategy was to create a really nice place to work and live, I think with people who can work remotely we had a lot more visits last year. People decided it was a place they wanted to live, âMichelle Groenevelt told KTVB.
The city said it is planning its infrastructure with a 3% growth rate in mind. Although official figures for last year’s growth are not available, officials said the city’s utilities were running at a higher capacity than in previous years.
âSummers tend to be very busy and at other times of the year they are a little less busy. I think what happened this year is that we just saw that she just keeps getting busier, âGroenevelt said.
With the city gaining more attention, McCall is now handling more requests from developers regarding construction in the area. The city has had to create and hire an assistant city planner to help coordinate and answer some of the calls, which range from real estate owners looking to build a house to developers looking to build entire subdivisions.
âA lot of the growth and development that we have seen are developments that are happening within city limits. It is already plots that are already plated that are being built, âsaid Groenevelt.
One of the developers looking to build in the town of McCall is Trident Holdings LLC, which has offered a land swap for 28,000 acres of endowment land in the area.
Trident Holdings is creating a plan that they believe will meet the needs of future generations of Idahoans. The company has launched Preserve McCall, which wants to develop Poderosa State Park, expand the park and create new jobs in Valley County.
âOur whole project is about creating open spaces, creating a park that the public can use,â said Kylee Hatfield of Preserve McCall.
However, conservation groups like United Payette hope to keep the public endowment lands and prevent the privatization of land around the lake.
“We are working to preserve our lands so that they are in a permanent state of beauty and health for our community,” said Kristin Hoff Sinclair of United Payette.
United Payette works with federal, state, departmental and municipal authorities to protect natural habitat and water quality, and ensure public access to recreationists.
While no official decision has been made on the proposed land swap, both groups said they were just trying to do what they felt was right.
In the meantime, the Town of McCall is poised to receive more attention from developers looking to cash in on the town’s growth.
âIt’s been pretty constant, the calls,â Groenevelt said.
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