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Friday, July 9, 2004


Justus Ranch annexation app comes back

Hailey to hear ‘Colorado Gulch Preserve’ plan Monday

Express Staff Writer

After testing the waters of the Hailey annexation application process last fall, Ketchum real estate broker and developer Jeff Pfaeffle is bringing a revised proposal to the Hailey City Council for consideration on Monday.

The plan Pfaeffle will present for the 180-acre parcel known as the Justus Ranch has been renamed Colorado Gulch Preserve. The name change signifies the developer’s intention to deed a three-quarter mile-long river corridor for public access.

He said 78 percent of the property, would be preserved as open space, an amenity many citizens already share with cows that currently graze on the property.

Annexation and preservation of public access to the river would improve the quality of the public’s river front experience, Pfaeffle said. "It would remove any questions about whether people have permission to be here or not."

The property extends from Heagle Park south of the Della View subdivision. It borders Broadford Road and extends south and part way up Colorado Gulch Road across the Big Wood River.

Residential development is planned for portions of the property closer to Broadford Road and in elevations of the property that are above the 100-year flood plain along the river.

Who would take responsibility for the stretch of river front property and how adjacent property will finally be developed for residential housing is a matter of negotiation.

But Pfaeffle will present plans that show 65 lots to include community housing. Proposed lot sizes range from .2 to more than 2 acres and would include some premier homes, Pfaeffle said.

On a tour of the property last week, Pfaeffle ran into Della View resident and avalanche forecaster Doug Abromeit, who initially had questions about the efficacy of the project. Abromeit and other neighbors shared concerns last fall about the impact of development on wildlife and hydrology.

Abromeit said there have been times when he has waded through water on the property, but he added that if it is designed properly the project could be a good thing for the city. He showed renewed support for the project and planned to attend Monday’s meeting.

Pfaeffle said engineering and design plans he has for the property take into account hydrological complexities and represent a good use of the property.

"I have to trust the judgment of the engineers," he said.

Pfaeffle said he hopes the city is now more prepared to review the plan.

He said annexation fees collected by the city should cover the cost of the impact on city services in both the short and the long term.

He also said he views the development as a natural extension of city boundaries, which as a residential property would conform with the character of bordering city property. The property parallels the Airport West Industrial Park. City water and sewer lines already run by the property on Broadford Road.

Pfaeffle said he would agree to make improvements to the crumbling county road up to the existing city boundary if annexation is approved.

Focussing on the riverfront access component of the project Hailey Parks and Lands Board, chairwoman, Becki Keefer, voiced support for the project.

"Jeff has been trying very hard to include things in his proposal that are valuable to the public," she said.


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