Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Hailey comp plan maps scrutinized

Express Staff Writer

After Hailey Planning and Zoning Commissioners Nancy Linscott and Elizabeth Zellers were sworn in Monday, the commission nominated Kristin Anderson as chairwoman and Trent Jones as vice chair. The new commission then immediately jumped into a public hearing on the latest draft of the Purpose Section, Natural Resource and Recreation and Parks and Lands sections and associated maps for the Hailey Comprehensive Plan.

In the course of a two-hour discussion, the commission, city and private planners, and adjacent property owners tinkered with language and debated the permanency of lines indicating resources such as wildlife corridors, recreation trails and watercourses on the maps.

Hailey Parks and Lands Board member Becki Keefer explained that the maps are planning tools intended to become visual references for the text of the comprehensive plan.

Some of the lines are drawn over private property as a kind of wish list for conservation of green space and recreational opportunities. Quigley Canyon Ranch owner Stoney Burke and his property became the center of the discussion since Burke attended the meeting with retired Fish and Game officer Pat Cudmore, who has been studying the canyon wildlife for an upcoming annexation application. Burke thought lines drawn were arbitrary.

"I am uncomfortable with leaving (the lines) as they are," Burke said, concerned that nothing be set in stone on the maps.

Curmore said, for example, that a line drawn through the Quigley Canyon shows a 1,000 feet wide migration corridor.

Fish and Game officer Roger Olson said the number could be 500 feet or 1,200 feet and the actual corridor could vary.

Keefer explained that the intent of the maps and the lines is to show that the community is aware of its recreational and natural resources, and developers should keep them in mind when approaching the city with plans.

Not entirely opposed to the lines, Commissioner Trent Jones worried that "the question of migration corridors could be used as a tool to squelch development."

Hailey attorney Martin Flannes reiterated that the comprehensive plan is the city's opportunity to send a strong message to developers. For example, he recommended that rather than "promote water efficient landscaping," the plan should require it. Review of Monday's revisions was tabled to Feb. 7.

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