Specific Area Plan

The Specific Area Plan (SAP) is a process where an applicant can propose zoning code and a master plan for an area that is different than a currently adopted zoning code. If approved, the SAP would become a base zoning district for that property.  

An SAP may be utilized anywhere within the city on properties that would benefit from a master plan and phasing approach. An SAP application is encouraged for the development or redevelopment of properties defined in the comprehensive plan as TOD activity nodes, or as neighborhood destination activity nodes, or as future planning areas. An SAP application shall be required prior to the development or redevelopment of properties defined in the comprehensive plan as future planning areas that are not incorporated into the city on or before February 8, 2021.

Specific Area Plan requests are heard by the Planning and Zoning Commission and Design Review Committee as a recommending bodies and the City Council as the final decision maker. 

Step 1 Prior to application or meeting with the city:


The process begins with a Neighborhood Meeting. This is your opportunity to get feedback from the neighborhood.  The Neighborhood Meeting involves acquiring a list of all property owners within a 300’ radius of the property and mailing them an invite to a meeting to discuss the project. The meeting can be held no sooner than 10 days after the mailing has been sent and must be held between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. M-F. Please contact building@gardencityidaho.org to obtain the 300’ list. Verification of this meeting is required when your application is submitted to the City.  The information required to provide verification is:

  1. The list of who the notice was sent to; and
  2. The notice that was sent; and
  3. The duration that someone was present (we ask that you stay for a minimum of 30 minutes in case someone is running late); and
  4. A sign-up sheet (if no one showed up, please indicate on the sign-in sheet).  We request email addresses to be collected, so that we can notify interested parties as the process progresses.

For your convenience the City has drafted templates of a letter and sign-in.  You can opt to use the linked templates or make your forms.

Step 2 Meet with Staff: The next step is to meet with staff to provide feedback on code and process.  Please follow the Due Diligence procedures.

Step 3 Neighborhood Meeting: Because of the complexity of a Specific Area Plan, a second neighborhood meeting is required before you apply.  This gives you the opportunity to incorporate changes that were identified through the initial neighborhood meeting and conference with staff.  The same process as the initial neighborhood meeting is utilized.

Step 4 Application:

The required application forms will need are the Specific Area Plan and Affidavit of Legal Interest found here.  The cost of the  application is $951.00 for one acre or less; $951.00 +$31.50/acre for 1-10 acres; and $1050.00 +$31.50/acre for more than 10 acres .  North Ada County Fire and Rescue will charge $200 for their review.(please refer to the fee schedule found here to verify the fees have not changed)

Please submit one copy of all application materials and all application materials in electronic format in person or via mail.  The electronic materials can be emailed to building@gardencityidaho.org.

Step 5 Between Submitting the Application and the Hearing:

The Planning and Zoning Commission meet the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 pm. The Design Review Committee meets the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month at 3:00 pm. The City Council meets the 2nd and 4th Monday’s of the month.  Please find calendar showing key dates and application deadlines.  

Once you have submitted, you will receive your hearing dates via an acceptance letter.  Staff will then send out your application materials to stakeholder agencies and publicly notice the application in accord with statutory requirements. 

Staff will provide you with the public and agency comments that the City receives as well as a staff report that provides a thorough analysis of your application with regards to Garden City Code, Title 8 as well as a synthesis of other agency comments and requirements and public comment to date.  While staff is reviewing your application, they may reach out to you to request clarification or additional materials necessary to complete their review.  Staff will provide you with the draft report in advance of the hearing so that you can provide feedback and let staff know if they have accurately captured the application, made any omissions, or had any misunderstandings.  Please provide feedback quickly so that it can be incorporated prior to the staff report being finalized.  Please also note that not all agency and public comments may be included at that time that staff shares the draft report with you.


All Specific Area Plan applications must post signage on site 10 days in advance of the hearings.  Both hearings can be on the same sign. You are responsible for:

  1. Making or having the sign made and posting the sign.  The requirements for the sign can be found in Garden City Code: 8-6A-7 #3
  2. 7 days prior to the hearing date, you will need to provide an affidavit of property posting demonstrating the sign was posted.  Photos of the sign will need to be included with the affidavit Affidavit of Posting. Please submit via mail, in person, or to planning@gardencityidaho.org.


Step 6 The Hearings

You or a representative will need to be present at the hearings to represent the application.  The application will be held in the following order:

  1. The Chairperson/ Mayor will introduce the request.
  2. You will present the application to the Planning and Zoning Commission/ City Council.  You may prepare a presentation if you like, but it is not required.  The Commission/ City Council may ask you questions about your proposal.
  3. Garden City Staff will present the Staff Report
  4. Public testimony will be taken.
  5. You will have an opportunity to rebut any public testimony.
  6. The Commission/ City Council will deliberate and make a decision.


Step 7 After the hearing:

A written recommendation will be provided to you from the Planning and Zoning Commission and Design Review Committee and a written decision from the City Council will be provided to you.  If the City Council approves your request the ordinance that rezones the property, along with the Master Plan will be incorporated into Garden City Code.  The subject property will be rezoned with the County to the Specific Area Plan Ordinance.


If you disagree with the City’s decision you can ask for a reconsideration within 14 days of the request in accordance with Idaho Statutes.  The written request must identify specific deficiencies in the decision for which the reconsideration is sought.  A takings analysis can be requested.


Please keep in mind that the City has very important deadlines that must be met for each application. If these deadlines are not met by the applicant, the city will be forced to move your application to a different date.