Big Wood 6 Cinemas design
Traffic and urban core goals
"There is so much to think
about on the cinema I did not want the commission to feel rushed."
— KATHY GROTTO, Hailey
By MATT FURBER
Express Staff Writer
The Hailey Planning and Zoning
Commission will deliberate March 1 on the design of a six-auditorium
cinema planned for the southwest corner of Main Street and Empty Saddle
Trail. The commission did approve a subdivision application Tuesday,
Feb. 17, for the property intended for the Big Wood 6 Cinemas proposed
by former Sun Valley city councilman Latham Williams.
Due to the extent of public
comment on the project and other applications waiting in the wings,
Hailey Planning Director Kathy Grotto recommended the continuation to
give the commission time to absorb all the input.
"There is so much to think about
on the cinema I did not want the commission to feel rushed," she said.
The two biggest concerns mentioned
in public comment were traffic impacts on the Northstar Meadows
subdivision, and whether the building fits within the goals outlined in
the Hailey Comprehensive Plan for controlling urban sprawl.
A through connection of River
Street—running west of Albertson’s and through the proposed cinema
parking area—has been suggested as the best way to improve traffic flow
in the area.
The extension already agreed to by
Williams would not completely connect the street to the Myrtle Street
intersection, said city attorney Ned Williamson. Negotiations with
Sutton and Sons Auto Center and another property owners to find a way to
push the street through are progressing well, he said.
"The city has been looking at an
extension in this area for some time," Williamson said. "I have talked
with all the property owners and met with staff to go over options for
how to acquire the property (for the extension). I am cautiously
optimistic that this will happen before the end of the year. (The
extension) has the possibility to add to their property and
Several residents asked that the
commission not approve the project until the extension is completed.
Representing the applicant, Brian
Yeager of Galena Engineering submitted a favorable traffic study that he
said showed manageable worst case scenarios for traffic in and out of
the theater complex when it is full and congested.
"Everything in this report is
conservative," Yeager said. "Our traffic peaks (during) off hours."
The study used Main Street traffic
data and projections produced by the Idaho Department of Transportation
and took into account movie schedules, numbers of automobiles expected
for each show, lane geometry and peak travel times both for movies and
Neighbors voiced concerns about
the potential increase in the number of commuters using Northstar and
Angela drives in the Northstar Meadows subdivision.
Yeager said the numbers of cars
going through the subdivision was not very significant and had more of a
perceived emotional impact, which he suggested would not be more than 10
cars per night. Respondents to a neighborhood survey submitted by
resident Charles Gifford said they could live with that traffic.
Steve Thies, a resident in the
subdivision, said he wasn’t opposed to the project, but he said the
traffic to the west of the proposed cinema should remain as it was
intended as residential traffic.
"Northstar Meadows was never
designed to be a feeder network," he said.
Manager of the project and owner
of the Ski Time Cinema in Ketchum, Marshall Smith, said as part of their
construction contracts builders would have to agree not drive through
the neighborhood. He said he would see to it personally that it did not
Smith recommended that signs
deterring people from using the subdivision streets would be helpful.
Grotto said something could be done possibly including speed bumps.
Other residents had problems with
the scale of the building suggesting that the size and the position of
the structure would make the roads worse in winter since the building
would block sunlight onto Empty Saddle Trail.
Hailey resident Dana Lascheck said
that as she reviewed the Hailey comprehensive plan she was surprised to
learn that the property for the project on the north part of town was
included in the description of the core.
The plan for the theater requires
no variances to city zoning ordinances or building codes, Grotto said.
Some residents thought the trend
showed north Hailey turning into a strip of urban sprawl.