Friday, February 25, 2005

Hailey growth plan moves on to council

Minimum lot size reduction also recommended

Express Staff Writer

Following an upbeat meeting Tuesday, the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission elected to deliver two decisions to the city council that could go a long way to shaping the future look of the city.

The commission voted unanimously in favor of an amendment to the city's townsite overlay district, reducing requirements for building lot sizes. The long awaited Growth Management section of the city's Comprehensive Plan was also forwarded.

"We are very excited," said Hailey Planner Diane Shay, who stressed the value of citizen input in the process. "We had great support from the community in our workshops. It helped us get the project moving forward."

The planning tool for the Hailey Comprehensive Plan includes a land use map, as well as a compilation of citizen input which makes recommendations about how land can be used in the future, both inside the city and on lands adjacent to its borders.

The zoning amendment applicant, James Reed, a Hailey resident, proposed changes to the zoning ordinance that would reduce the minimum lot size and lot width in the town site.

Currently, in limited residential zones the requirements are for 8,000 square foot minimum lot sizes with a minimum lot width of 75 feet, and 6,000 square foot minimum lot sizes with a minimum lot width of 50 feet in limited residential, limited business and transitional zones.

The change is that all zones would have a minimum lot size of 4,500 square feet with a minimum lot width of 37.5 feet.

"One of the goals is infill," Reed said, speaking on a cell phone from Manhattan. "This certainly accomplishes that."

Reed, who owns a 14,000 square foot property, will now be able to build on three lots.

Reed said much of the impetus for submitting the application came from discussions with Aaron Domini and Christopher Simms with Citizens for Smart Growth, who said they believed that the amendment was politically palatable under the current administration.

"They said, 'Why don't you champion the cause,'" Reed said. "We decided to take on the town in a little bit larger scope. I really have a lot of respect for what Citizens for Smart Growth is doing, and I think they have become an invaluable piece of the whole planning process in the valley. And I really do believe in my heart of hearts it is going to bring a more vibrant town."

The two matters are expected to come before the city council this Spring.

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