Theres hope on the horizon that the valleys charms may be
preserved, even as the population tide rises.
Blaine County has taken two important steps to exert some control over two
of the uglier sides of growth: automobile traffic and the proliferation of electronic
With the help of an $80,000 grant from the Idaho Transportation
Department, the county will study creation of a regional transportation authority. It has
hired an experienced consulting firm to analyze commuter needs and possible remedies to
The county, with the support of the valleys cities, has also hired a
consulting firm to develop a county-wide plan for dealing with the proliferation of
The towers look like the products of a kids erector set on steroids.
If not controlled, they could sprout in every open field and scenic ridge in sight.
The popularity of personal communication devicescell phones,
personal planners and Internet deviceshas stampeded the private sector into a frenzy
as it tries to meet the enormous demand. Problem is, no one is concerned about the posies
underfoot when a full-blown stampede is under way.
Thats not a good idea in a valley that values its landscape.
Last week, consultants met with members of the public, elected officials
and planners from the county and all but one city. The consultants will come back with
model ordinances that the county and the cities can use to get the towers under control.
The meetings demonstrated the value of bringing the county and cities
together to work on common problems with the aid of experienced consultants.
Until the county and cities slapped on a tower moratorium and hired
consultants, the stampede threatened to trample the local landscape.
The consultant-assisted problem-solving model--with the county taking the
lead and the cities joining in--could be used on many problems that plague the valley:
sprawl, highway congestion, and public access to name a few.
Such a model is desperately needed.
Projections that the population of Hailey could reach 14,000 over the next
20 years should cause event the flintiest land planners to flinch. That means the
countys permanent population could double to nearly 40,000. If Highway 75 commuters
arent hyperventilating now, they will be.
Good, experienced consultants used correctly can bring the valley valuable
outside perspectives. They can help the valley avoid mistakes made in other areas by
demonstrating what works and what doesnt. They can help reduce frustrating and
divisive political bickering by making sure decision makers have the best information
As it grows, the valley needs a new model to wheel around the stampede of
growth problems when they threaten to overwhelm. This one would be a good start.