Wednesday, February 16, 2005

P&Z assesses mid-valley PUD plan

Quail Creek development proposed near hospital

Express Staff Writer

Addressing a packed house last week before the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission, developers Robert Kantor and George Kirk introduced a 126-unit development proposal to include community housing near St. Luke's Regional Medical Center south of Ketchum. The development is to be called Quail Creek.

Of the total units designed for the project, the developer plans to build complete structures if the planned unit development is approved, 83 are proposed to be market rate units and 43 are to be deed-restricted community housing units.

The net residential density is 6.13 units per acre. A computer animated "fly through" look at the design of the project, which includes substantial common park space, shared parking and a diversity of home designs on similar floor plans was presented Thursday, Feb. 10, by Dale Bates of Living Architecture.

As proposed, the planned unit development would be served by central water and sewer systems provided by Mid Valley Water & Sewer Co., Inc. The north portion is zoned R1, the south portion is zoned R.4. All portions are subject to the Community Housing Overlay District instituted in April 2004.

The plan includes north and south neighborhoods to be located north of Cold Springs subdivisions. The proposed 12.2-acre north neighborhood is situated between Highway 75 and the Wood River Trail and would contain 54 detached single family dwelling units. The proposed 11.17-acre south neighborhood would be located north and south of the east-west portion of Broadway Run, the existing access to the Meadows Mobile Home Park.

Planning and Zoning commissioners elected to postpone their public review of the project until Feb. 24, when the commission hopes the developers will also respond to substantial public comment and questions posed last week.

During the meeting there was some question about the actual affordability of the community housing units. Kirk said that house prices included the cost of monthly leases over a 30-year period. For example a $125,000 unit would break down as $75,000 for the building and $50,000 for the term of the lease. The developers intend to build three categories of community housing to serve three of five income bracket categories.

Based on the pricing guidelines from the Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority, the homes will be priced as $124,000 for a 1,260 square foot duplex, $165,650 for a 1,560 square foot three bed room house and $241,000 for a 1,890 square foot home. The prices would be adjusted to reflect the median income and interest rates in the county at such time as the project commences.

Quail Creek would lease individual lots to homeowners for 99 years and plans to grant an option for the homeowner to purchase the lot after 30 years.

The project design has a strong focus on community, with homes set relatively close together, with narrow set backs and public spaces to create a neighborhood feel.

Critics, including those neighboring the Meadows mobile home park, which would be surrounded by the project, voiced concern that the density could cause fire hazards and present risks to water quality in the property adjacent to the Big Wood River. Much comment in favor of the project came from citizens who said they are looking for affordable housing that will help them stay in the Wood River Valley, or at least reduce commutes to north county jobs.

Due to the complexity of the project, the commission said they would continue to take written public comment, but reserved the time on Feb. 24 for commission deliberation.

The Quail Creek developers provided the public a brochure detailing the layout of the project, which would have a net residential density of 6.13 units per acre, the mid-range allowed under the community housing overlay district.

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