Friday, January 14, 2005

Council looks at land acquisitions

Express Staff Writer

Bellevue City Council members gathered for a special meeting to discuss possible directions to acquire and develop land for city use. Discussions led to considerations of selling existing property to acquire a new parcel of land.

Councilwoman Tammy Schofield initiated the discussion at the workshop Tuesday, Jan. 11. She presented a proposed bill currently in committee at the Idaho Legislature that would enable the city to buy a lot owned by the Idaho Department of Transportation for a negotiated price, that would be less than the appraised value of the land.

At the meeting, the council discussed buying a 2.23-acre parcel owned by ITD on the corner of Gannet Road and Highway 75 in Bellevue.

"I look at the big picture and say, 'If we don't get this piece of ground, where are we going to go?" Councilwoman Vivian Ivie said.

Mayor John Barton questioned how council intended the city to use the property.

"My whole focus is for a fire station," Ivie stated.

Schofield explained she envisioned an "all inclusive community center with a fire station and city hall." She indicated the city could share the land with other organizations such as Wood River Ride Share.

"I think you better have a pretty good plan for (the lot)," Barton said.

The mayor emphasized the council should articulate a purpose for the property and explore other options. Other options he suggested included development of the lot occupied by Bellevue City Hall combined with a city owned piece of adjacent property.

The council indicated that in order to acquire the property, city owned land would need to be sold. Possible lots to sell included a lot in the Chantrelle subdivision and two lots located in the northeast corner of the Southern Belle area.

The council decided to look into the cost of appraising lots owned by the city before proceeding further.

"There is plenty of time to acquire more information," Eric Allen, council president, concluded.

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