Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Stanley hosts public hearing on land trade

Express Staff Writer

The city of Stanley will host a major public hearing today on a land trade proposed by a Boise developer, but the proposal may already be doomed.

In July, The Hosac Co. Inc. submitted an application to Stanley city leaders to trade 24.18 acres of land along Valley Creek for 18.15 acres of mostly undeveloped city property on the bench near the city?s school and ball fields.

The city would get wetlands. The developer would get views of the Sawtooth Mountains.

The proposal angered some Stanley residents, and a hot public hearing is anticipated at 6 p.m. at Stanley City Hall this evening, but the discourse may be moot.

Stanley obtained the property from the Bureau of Land Management, which imposed a deed restriction that limits uses in perpetuity. An elementary school, meditation chapel, city hall and city park are the only permitted uses for the 40-acres of land.

The only way the property could be made available for development is for the city to exchange it for property of ?equal or greater public use and recreational value.? The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Park Service would have to approve such an exchange.

In his application, Hosac Co. President Steven Hosac proposed that the wetlands along Valley Creek could serve as a recreation and natural area that included boardwalks, hot springs, fishing and floating. But it is unclear if that would constitute ?equal or greater public use and recreational value.?

As part of his application, Hosac proposed to build community housing and market-rate homes on the bench.

?This development would result in the creation of badly needed additional residential building sites within the Stanley city limits, and as homes are constructed thereon, several million dollars of additional property tax base benefiting the city of Stanley and Custer County would be added to the tax roles,? he stated.

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