For the week of April 21, 1999  thru April 27, 1999  

City council endorses new zoning for Airport West

SCI district plan heads to P&Z

Express Staff Writer

Hailey City Council members and Airport West Partners, developers of the proposed Hailey Airport Business Park, seemed to be on the verge of a giant group hug at Monday night’s regular council meeting.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, city officials held several work sessions with one of the developers, Ron Sharp, on a new zoning district that would broaden and cluster the permitted uses within the park.

The council unanimously endorsed the proposed plan and sent it off to the planning and zoning commission for its recommendations.

The property under consideration lies south of the Friedman Industrial Park between Airport Way and Broadford Road. It is currently within Blaine County and undeveloped.

Airport West Partners have proposed annexation for the 75-acre property because the Blaine County Comprehensive Plan directs that commercial development be done in incorporated cities.

At the last public hearing on the business park held on March 22, council members told Sharp they were looking for an aesthetic vision for the business park, one that included pedestrian-friendly accesses, landscaping, a campus-like atmosphere, and a wide variety of uses.

"We’ve had a vision articulated," Siemer said at the close of that March 22 hearing. "We need to think outside of our light industrial zoning as to how to achieve that vision."

In work sessions, Sharp and Hailey staff thought outside of light industrial zoning by devising an entirely new zone district—called service commercial industrial (SCI)—that it is hoped will bring that vision to the business park and possibly to other business parks within the city of Hailey.

The purpose of the district, according to city planner Carl Hjelm, will be to provide an area for master-planned business park developments that do not conflict—and do support—Hailey’s downtown business core.

The SCI district will be divided into five sub-districts—office, sales, auto, construction, and warehouse—and will introduce a wide range of uses that the current light industrial and technical industrial zoning designations do not accommodate.

Even though the lists of proposed permitted uses under each sub-district are long and diverse, council members and Sharp do not believe the downtown business core will suffer as a result of new development in the park.

"It will protect the downtown by allowing retail-type stores to locate in a compatible area," Councilwoman Martha Burke said. "I think it’s an excellent plan conceptually."

Councilwoman Jennifer Hazard Davis, who said she discussed the zoning plan with several downtown business owners, expressed enthusiasm.

"No one felt threatened by this proposal," Davis said. "I like the idea of clumping things together. As a plan, it gives a nice vision."

Sharp said many of the proposed uses are not appropriate for the downtown core.

"It’s a lot more logistically functional than what’s available in the core, especially when you consider truck access, storage yards, and sale of larger durable goods," Sharp said.

Development of the property would take place over 30 years in a two-phase plan, with the northern half of the property first, and the southern half of the property in the future. Airport West Partners hope to begin construction this summer.


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