Friday, January 21, 2005

Downtown goes underground

Hailey building design approved

Express Staff Writer

Granting design approval for the city's first combined residential and commercial development to include underground parking, the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission set a new trend for the county seat, opening River Street to a new round of development.

Despite lingering details concerning street and sidewalk design, planning the city still must complete, the commission was pleased with the scope of the project, which addresses city goals for achieving downtown density and livability.

The proposed site for a 35,000 square foot building, to be called Silver Street Place, is on the north east corner of the intersection of River and Silver streets.

The plan includes retail space on the ground level, office space on the second floor and three, three-bedroom condominiums on the third floor. The commission accepted the project unequivocally, outside of a few questions about sidewalk construction and how to mitigate the impact of a massive, flat northern wall.

The Hailey Fire Chief proscribed a wall that can withstand a four-hour fire because no property line setback is required for the project, said architect Jay Cone. It is expected that a second such building would directly abut the building, essentially making the wall disappear.

The underground component of the project is unique in that it will likely allow the developers, Gerry and Jan Burrell and Gary and Marina Poole to reduce the on street parking requirements for the project.

The city is still in the planning stages for the future look of River Street and sidewalk standards are yet to be determined. The city is considering whether to require diagonal parking or re-design River Street to accommodate parking in the center of the street. The challenge before the planning department is to get plans approved in the face of mounting development pressure, said Hailey City Planner Diane Shay.

"I think as River Street develops we're going to see more of this type of building," Shay said. "We want to master plan River Street so the side walks have a standard."

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