Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Elementary school plans get Hailey nod

Annexation application allowed despite moratorium

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County School District was given the go-ahead to proceed with an annexation application that if approved will pave the way for construction of a new elementary school in Woodside. The unanimous decision came from the Hailey City Council despite a moratorium in effect on annexation applications to the city.

The decision to give special treatment to the public entity came because the council agreed that the school district?s concerns about the rising cost of construction and the impact on taxpayers, who approved spending for the new school in 2001, were valid. Another reason for the decision is that an ordinance governing annexation applications is expected to be fully approved next month, as is the Growth Management section of the Hailey Comprehensive Plan currently under review as well. Both items were required before the moratorium put in place in August could be lifted.

Blaine County School Superintendent Jim Lewis asked that the school district be granted an exception to the moratorium also because the city had already given the school annexation substantial review before the moratorium and because the Woodside school is already an amenity listed in the comprehensive plan.

The annexation ordinance, a previous agenda item at Monday?s meeting, was tentatively approved paving the way for the school district exception.

The decision will permit the school district to move forward under existing rules, which allow concurrent applications to be considered even before annexation is approved. The city will review proposed zoning designations and design review.

To give city council members another base for their decision to grant an exception to the rule, Hailey City Attorney Ned Williamson said based on Idaho Local Land Use and Planning Act rules, school districts can be given priority placement in such circumstances.

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