2022 Boise Idaho Real Estate Blog

Interested in Developing Land in Boise? Here is What to Look Out For.

Main Treasure Valley Life

Buying land to develop into houses and subdivisions is part of a growing city, and the Boise area has been doing plenty of growing. Land is a premium here, so developers are actively looking for land to buy and build on. Here are 3 things to look for when looking for land to develop.

How is the land zoned?

When land is put up for sale is divvied up and plotted on zoning maps by either the city, county, or state. These municipalities manage the land and its development in accordance with their goals for the area. For example, you won’t find land zoned for schools next to land zoned for industrial use—you will find it in a residentially zoned area. When looking at land, it is important to look at how it is zoned and if that lines up with your vision for the land. The most common zoning classifications are:

Every municipality has different zoning classifications, so you won't find codes that line up exactly. Make sure to get details from the zoning department for the land such as:

  • Building use
  • Building size
  • Lot sizes
  • Setbacks
  • Density limits
  • Parking requirements
  • Allowable businesses
  • Zoning maps for surrounding zones

If a parcel does not match your desired usage, you can contact the Planning and Zoning Department to petition to have it changed. Keep in mind that this process is slow and time-consuming, but doable.

Utilities and septic

It is important to find outfit the land you want to develop is/will be connected to city utilities. In some parts far out from the city centers in Boise, Caldwell, Kuna, and Nampa, the city’s utilities aren’t set up past a certain point. If the city is working on connecting plumbing, electricity, and internet further out, you may be in luck. If not, it may be worth it to hold onto the land, let its value appreciate, and develop when utilities are nearby. 

In some cases, the land may have to use septic systems instead of city plumbing utilities. If this is the case, it is imperative to get a soil scientist out to the land to inspect the soil composition. The soil needs to be able to safely support septic systems as well as the houses that will be built on it.

If you won't be connected to municipal water lines, you will have to either drill a well or tap into a new one. This, too, brings in other factors to keep in mind as a well owner. We broke down the most important factors here.

Water runoff & pollution

Finally, have the soil engineer perform a topographical survey. This will give you an indication of the natural flow of water over the property and from neighboring properties. This can help you determine where the natural drainage occurs and be able to plan around that. Digging drainage, raising the soil level, or filling in low areas will add time and costs to development. 

It is also a good idea to order a contamination test to determine soil toxicity levels. Lead, arsenic, and other toxic heavy metals are of particular concern. It is also important to note the surrounding properties as well. If they are industrial, you should check for any runoff from whatever the site is being used for.

Overall, buying land for development takes a lot of time and consideration. But the payoffs will be worth it!

Posted by AndrewS at 6/28/2021 10:32:00 PM

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