Brake the attitude
When Croy Canyon residents discovered the Blaine County
School District was quietly making plans for a so-called bus barn in their
neighborhood, they got hopping mad.
They were incensed that the school district wants to plunk
down an industrial facility in an area zoned for residential use.
They were concerned about possible effects of leaked
gasoline and oil on wetlands and the Big Wood River.
Instead of addressing their concerns, the district and its
spokesman, school superintendent Jim Lewis, keep saying the concerns are
no big deal. The dismissal is like gasoline thrown on a fire.
The district needs to quit preaching to an irate public
and face up to public concerns.
Some of the inflammatory arguments the district has put
The school district legally can set its industrial uses
down anywhere it wants because it’s a school district.
It doesn’t matter that the proposed site is zoned
residential, not industrial.
Locating a center that deals in huge volumes of grease,
gas and oil near wetlands and near the Big Wood is not a problem.
The development will be a screaming deal for the community
because part of the land in question may end up protected by the Wood
River Land Trust.
The area in question, near Lion’s Park, is
"seedy" and a bus yard will clean it up.
Building an industrial facility in a residential area won’t
set a precedent that will allow industry to creep up the valley.
Neighbors’ objections are no big deal because neighbors
always object when schools are proposed near their neighborhoods.
If the district goes on like this much longer, Hailey’s
going to have to put the fire department on call to cool off any future
meetings between the district and the public.
Legally, the district may have a point about its ability
to locate facilities as it sees fit. But there’s one little problem,
The tax-supported district can’t afford to stiff-arm its
very generous patrons—the ones who go to the polls and keep voting for
big bond issues, the ones who made the schools’ tax override permanent.
It also can’t afford to blow off county zoning
ordinances. Other developers who tried that strategy—legal or not--rued
the day they set off down that road.
With the bus out of the barn, the district needs to brake
the attitude and steer itself toward a smoother road.