Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Sewer extension debate set Thursday

Special meetings address pressure for Hailey services

Express Staff Writer

Having agreed to consider a pitch from housing developer Harry Rinker to pay Hailey to extend sewer services to his 160-acre Peregrine Ranch property north of Hailey, the Hailey City Council is scheduled to hold two special meetings Thursday. A joint meeting at 6 p.m. between the council and the Hailey Planning and zoning commission will focus on establishing a key issues list for 2005, but a discussion of extending water and sewer services outside of city limits is also on the agenda.

At 4 p.m. the city council will meet to discuss proposed amendments to the Growth Management Section of the Hailey Comprehensive plan, a continued agenda item from Dec. 13. The council also plans to discuss what accepting Rinker's proposal would entail and whether the city should move forward and accept Rinker's offer to help pay for an upgrade to the city sewer service. Rinker has plans to build 380 homes on the land located in the county north of the city between Buttercup Road and state Highway 75. To achieve the density of 2.4 lots per acre Rinker must go before the county with a sewage treatment plan in place. Rinker said he would pay what it would cost to install a private sewage treatment plant plus a bonus for operation and management of an upgraded city system. He may also dedicate some of the water rights from the land to the city.

Currently, the property is zoned for one unit per acre. Use of septic systems for treating wastewater is allowed. Carollo Engineers took a look at what would be needed to treat the wastewater from a 380 home development. According to the Carollo report, 380 homes, with 3.5 people per home and 100 gallon per day per capita equates to 133,000 gallons of wastewater per day. Adding a "peaking factor," a treatment plant capacity of 200,000 gallons per day is recommended. The construction cost for a Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) to serve 380 homes is estimated to be $2.4 million dollars. In addition to the treatment facility, lined ponds for winter storage and irrigation equipment is estimated at $1.1 million for a total project cost of $3.5 million. The estimate does not include the cost of land acquisition or loss of development property, Hailey Public Works Manager Ray Hyde wrote in a memo to Mayor Susan McBryant, the city council and other city staff.

"It appears this facility will need a minimum of 50 acres of open pasture grass with additional buffer zones or set-backs depending on surrounding land uses," Hyde wrote. "During non-growing season a lagoon volume of 75 acre-feet (225 million gallons) will be required, meaning an additional 10 to 12 acres of ground for construction."

McBryant said she would not participate in the discussion because Rinker is a property management client, but she said she hopes the council will make a decision soon whether or not to proceed with the proposed extension of services.

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