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Wednesday, June 9, 2004


New plan offered for Old Cutters

Hailey annexation proposal dubbed contentious

Express Staff Writer

After a three-month hiatus from the public review process, an application for annexing a 143-acre county property known as Old Cutters into the city of Hailey returned to the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission for another round of city review.

The commission has not yet discussed the application in its most recent permutation, but Commission Chairman Pat Cooley said it was a very contentious issue for the public. At the outset of the meeting Monday, Cooley explained that the commission would take public written comment on the application until Aug. 10, before an Aug. 16 meeting when the commission expects to have more detailed information about the potential impacts the development would have on city infrastructure.

In March, the city council remanded the application to the planning and zoning commission for further review.

On Monday, the commission heard substantial public comment both for and against annexation approval based on the latest proposal, which is different from ideas submitted by the developers when it was first presented to the city in November 2003.

The commission is charged with deciding if the annexation application conforms to the Hailey Comprehensive Plan and, if so, it must also decide what the appropriate zoning designation should be before the city council makes a final decision.

City staff is researching possible fiscal, infrastructure and environmental impacts to water resources, sewage treatment capabilities, the level of fire safety protection, park maintenance and traffic flow.

The property is located northeast of Hailey, adjacent to the Dove Meadows subdivision and farmland known as the Dumpke property in Hailey. It is also adjacent to the Buttercup subdivision in Blaine County.

The developers, John Campbell and Steve Brown, returned to the commission this week with two conceptual plans for city review. They presented plans for what they called a pedestrian friendly neighborhood akin to old Hailey, but with larger lot sizes, alley-side garage parking, a large landscaping budget, and requirements for porches and intentions to achieve the city’s recreation and parks goals.

Although some residents view the project as part of the solution for providing affordable housing and in conformance with the city’s comprehensive plan, others voiced concern that the plans will only add to current traffic problems, especially pedestrian safety and impacts on water, sewer and wildlife.

For others in favor of the project, another benefit is that the project would increase the property inventory in the city. Others who were opposed said denying the application would not preclude the city from having some influence over development if the property is developed in the county.

The developers said they came to the city for annexation because they understood that the city wanted added control over how the property might get developed.

One version of the plan, referred to as a "base plan," shows 99 house lots. A "community housing" option would increase the density of the 74 developable acres on the property, but is intended to provide 113 lots including 10 duplex affordable housing units for a total of 123 dwelling units.

Of the total 143 acres, 69 acres are above the 15 percent slope line on undevelopable land. Another 2.6 acres lie within canal easements.

The proposed 99 units represent a gross density of approximately 1.4 units per acre. The 123 units in the community housing option represent a gross density of 1.7 units for acre. The net density of the project--including a park, or "passive green space," and area of land in streets--is approximately 2.6 units per acre in the base plan and 3.2 units per acre in the community housing option.

There will be at least one more planning and zoning commission hearing before the application is passed back to the city council.

"We want the city council to understand this is a work in progress, Campbell said, explaining that the developers laid the plans out as a base for the city’s consideration. "If you decide you want something in between the two plans, we are open to that."


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