local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Friday — February 20, 2004


Big Wood 6 Cinemas design review tabled

Traffic and urban core goals debated

"There is so much to think about on the cinema I did not want the commission to feel rushed."

KATHY GROTTO, Hailey planning director

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 circulation."

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 rush hour.

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 happen.

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.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.