Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Hailey P&Z hones land use plan, map

Express Staff Writer

Public comment has been strong as the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission works to finalize the Land Use and Growth Management sections of the Hailey Comprehensive Plan.

The Land Use and Growth Management sections of the plan are the final two components, said Hailey planner Diane Shay.

"We still have to get together for some more input into the land use map from stakeholders, including property owners from the edges of the city," said Hailey Planning Director Kathy Grotto. "We need to keep working through the text. With final revisions of the map we need to make sure the text and the map are not in conflict with each other."

The total document is intended as a guideline for the commission when making planning decisions.

"It will help the commission regarding proposed rezones and amendments to text of zoning ordinance and decisions regarding annexations," Grotto said.

Acting chairman John Seiller opened Monday's regular commission meeting to public discussion of language for the nearly completed land use section. Planners John Gaeddert and Aaron Domini, Hailey Parks and Recreation volunteer Becki Keefer and Hailey attorney, Terry Hogue each offered suggestions about how to clearly define green space and open space, for instance. Other expressions that address the character of the city like "compact" were also scrutinized.

Domini said that compact referred to the distance between structures, a distance Seiller agreed should be a walking distance.

Commissioner Eddy Svidgal compared the expression to one from zoning ordinances that refers to "human scale" an architectural aspect of design that the city encourages developers to keep in mind when approaching the city with applications.

Although the plan is intended to help with legislative decisions about the future look of the city, Grotto said the work often leads to questions about policy like whether building heights should change to accommodate higher density or whether city services should be extended outside city limits.

Grotto said the working with specific language has been time consuming but, in formulating the land use and growth management sections of the comprehensive plan there has been a great deal of public input.

"I think reason why is at beginning we had three discussion groups," Grotto said. They kept coming back to help and got other people involved. It takes longer but you end up with a better product. It ends with the public's desires not just what the planning department wants."

Shay is in the process of setting up a final workshop next week to give stakeholders a look at a final draft of the Hailey Land Use map and accompanying language before the commission's final meeting of the year, December 20.

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