Debunking DePriest's Disinformation

    Ever since slow-growth candidates, Luke Somer and Tom Shafer, announced that they were running for Hayden Mayor and City Council, Councilman Ed DePriest has been ardently defending the status quo, and lambasting anyone who criticizes the current leadership.  

    He appears to have unleashed another barrage of evasions and misinformation in a CDA Press Editorial.  

    According to DePriest, the City Council has already reigned in density, so there is no cause for concern about future growth.   Hayden residents should just ignore the fact that the Future Land Use Map still provides for 1500 acres of high density housing, and that city officials have refused to make substantial changes. 

    But before rebutting DePriest's latest tirade, we'd like to suggest a few articles that help put Hayden growth issues in context, and suggest meaningful changes.   The first article deals with Mixed Use, High density housing and the second with Hayden's disturbing plans to densify single family neighborhoods.  

    Fixing Hayden’s Failed FLUM: Part 1: Turbo Charging Multi-Family Housing

    Fixing Hayden’s Failed FLUM Part 2: Densifying Single Family Neighborhoods

    Having provided the necessary evidence to back up our arguments,  we will now rebut DePriest's latest barrage of misinformation.   The exact text of Depriest's claims, as stated in the Oct 13th CDA Press is highlighted in red Italics.


    Claim  1: No Multi-Family Housing Permits Issued Recently

    "Here’s the exact breakdown of building permits issued in Hayden over the past two years:  114 Single Family homes;  2 Manufactured Homes;  3 Accessory Dwellings; 1 Duplex/Twinhomes;  12 Townhomes.   

    High density? For those of you keeping score at home, the answer is: ZERO. Not a single high-density housing permit in two years."

    Response: While its undoubtedly true that no new apartment complexes have been approved recently, in the last year the 144-unit Villas a Carrington was completed, and the initial phase of the 1400+ unit Hayden Canyon PUD got started.   The idea that Hayden residents have no cause for concern about growth is preposterous.  

    While its a good sign that development of large, multi-family complexes seems to be slowing,  the primary concern of most Hayden residents is long term limits on future growth.  And development trends over short periods do not address the fact that the Hayden's Future Land Use Map (FLUM) still provides for nearly 1500 acres of High density housing.  All Depriest's numbers show us is that Hayden's 20-year plan to add 16,000 more "units" to the city is getting off to a slow start. 

    And unfortunately, the reasons why Hayden's multi-family building frenzy has stalled are only temporary.  For example, one reason that expansion is slow is the city's planned sewer upgrade is not yet complete.  Also, interest rates have tripled in the last 18 months, (from 2% to 7%) and constructions costs are unusually high.  And finally, multi-family has been overbuilt so much in the last five years, that market conditions are currently poor.  

    But once conditions change, the FLUM still provides for massive amounts of High density housing and Hayden has no protections  against over-development.  

    Claim 2:   Reduced Densities in the Future Land Use Map

    We are grouping three of Ed's claims regarding reduced densities in the FLUM together, because they are related.  

    "Here are some of the key areas where he shows the city has actively been moving away from, not toward, high-density development.

    1) Made numerous changes to the original Future Land Use Map, reducing potential future density by nearly 15,000 dwelling units.   (Note:  Changes were made to zoning definitions, not to the FLUM itself) 

    2) Reduced the density of Mixed Use/Apartments from 20 to 12 dwellings per acre.

    3) Created Mixed Use I and Mixed Use II, which prevent any Residential Multi-Family/Mixed Use development on some 800 acres contiguous to the proposed Huetter Bypass."

    These statements are different ways of saying that the city has made administrative changes to the definition of the "Mixed Use" zoning type, without actually removing any of it from the Future land Use Map.   

    In other words, the current FLUM still has 1500 acres of Mixed Used housing (i.e. apartments), but instead of allowing 20 units per acre (for a total of 30K apartments), the maximum density has been reduced, so the FLUM now provides for only 12-15 units per acre, or about  20K apartments.   

    DePriest wants Hayden residents to be grateful and content that the city is planning for only 20K multi-family rentals instead of 30K.  To put this in perspective, Hayden now has about 6K single famly homes and less than 1K apartments. 

    DePriest also claims that the city put a moritorium on the 800 acres near the Huetter bypass, but this is hogwash. For one thing, there is currently no sewer available to serve the area, and besides that the entire Huetter bypass project has been put on hold.  The means that the land along the Huetter Corridor cannot be developed for 5 to 10 years anyway, with or without an MU2 moritorium. 


    Claim 3:   Replaced Residential Multi-family with Mixed Residential.

    "Removed Residential Multi-Family, which allowed 14+ dwellings per acre, and replaced it with Mixed Residential (single family, twin-home, tri-home), which is capped at 8 dwellings per acre."

    The misinformation campaign involving Hayden's city-wide rezone of R-MF to MR is an egregious example of the untrustworthiness of Hayden's current leadership.  City officials (not just DePriest but the entire planning department) has consistently claimed it has reduced the density of residential multi-family neighborhoods, while it has actually increased them, as the following chart clearly shows.   

    In other words, their often-repeated claim that MR is less dense than R-MF is a bold-faced lie.  And the city's claimed limit of 8 dwellings per acre for MR is unenforcable and is contradicted by the actual zoning code.

    For a full explanation of what is really going on with Hayden's program to Densify Single Family neighborhoods, read the above article. But the truth is,  MR is an "Agenda 21/Smart Growth" zone type that was designed specifically to allow duplexes and triplexes to be built on existing single family parcels (of 8250 sq ft).  This means that any SF neighborhood that is converted to MR can be easily densified.  

    And the reason it is possible for City officials to misrepresent the relative densities of R-MF and MR zoning is because Hayden's old multi-family zone, R-MF,  handled both medium and higher densities.   Property owners who had large R-MF parcels on arterials could request a permit to build small-scale apartments.  But all such requests were subject to public hearings and rigorous standards of approval.  The new zoning codes split R-MF into two different multi-family types, MU and MR, each with higher structural densities and less rigorous standards of approval, than R-MF ever had.   

    Another reason that R-MF densities can be misrepresented is that R-MF zoning regulations limited structure size rather than dwellings units per acre.  R-MF restricted all structures to 2 stories, and 35% lot coverage  to be compatible with Hayden's suburban-rural character.   Compare this to the new Mixed Use zone, that allows for 3 stories, and 70% lot coverage.   

    R-MF provided for modest, two story multi-family structures with no more than 35% lot coverage.   MU provides for enormous, corporate, mixed use complexes, with over twice the structural density.    This is vision for the future of Hayden that DePriest presents as "moving away from high density development." 


    Claim 4:   Returned "Neighborhood Context" to the Standards of Approval.

    "Returned 'Context of Neighborhood' to the Standards of Approval, which gives neighbors a bigger voice.

    DePriest's Claim that the "context of neighborhood" standard was restored to the city's Standards of Approval for Zoning changes, neglects to mention that the new zoning regulations, adopted in 2021, gutted Hayden's former Standards of Approval for Zoning Changes, and were nothing but a rubber stamp for high densitiy development.   

    DePriest also neglects to mention that the "Neighborhood Context" standard was only restored after a six month campaign by concerned residents, and that it was only suggested by DePriest after his fellow council member, Sandy White, proposed to restore the older standards in full.   DePriest made the suggestion,  not to protect residents, but to do the minimum thing necessary to save face, while voting against White's proposal to restore ALL of the standards.   If DePriest was really trying to protect residents, instead of hornswoggling them,  he could have voted with White to restore the old standards in full. 

    It is relevant that Luke Somer's opponent for Mayor, Alan Davis, was on the P & Z Commission in 2020 when the new, water-down Standards of Approval were proposed, and he voted in favor of the toothless, rubber-stamp version.  

    Don't Get Fooled Again

    When Ed Depriest was running for Hayden City Council two years ago, he ran on a compaign of reigning in high density development and changing the Future Land Use Map.   Here is a speech before the city council on August 10, 2021, (t=27:00) where he advocates repealing the new FLUM and zoning regulations. 

    Yet today he is the city's chief spokesman for the status quo, and the most vigilent defender of keeping the city on track for massive over development.

    The two pro-establishment candidates,  Allan Davis and Roger Saterfiel don't even bother to make appeals for reigning in growth. They simply stand by the status quo, and assure us that things are not so bad as the "alarmists" claim. 

    Research the issues for yourself, and make up your own mind.  But what is 100% clear is that the same stakeholders, and large property developers that were behind the 2040 Comp PLan and are standing four square behind Davis and Saterfiel.     

    Ed Depriest deceived us about his intention to reign in growth when he ran for Hayden City Council, and now he misrepresenting the threat the Future Land Use Map still poses to Hayden.   We were fooled in 2021.  WE WON'T BE FOOLED AGAIN. 




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