Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Hailey OKs lot size reduction

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council this week agreed with a Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation to reduce the minimum square footage of lot sizes in the limited and general residential districts of the city's original town site.

The council decision Monday, March 28, was in response to an amendment by Hailey resident James Reed, who said he bought a 14,000-square-foot lot on Fourth and Silver streets.

After approaching the Hailey-based planning group Citizens for Smart Growth with the idea, Reed applied to have requirements for lot sizes reduced, as a means to make better use of his own property. The move could indicate a trend toward greater density in the city limits.

Smarth Growth supported the idea of reduced lot sizes.

The existing zoning standards are 6,000 square feet (general residential) and 8,000 square feet (limited residential). Reed proposed an amendment to reduce the minimum lot size to 4,500 square feet in general residential and 6,000 in limited residential. The text amendment does not address setback issues, so homes will not be closer together.

One intention of the change to increased density is to create vibrancy and promote a sense of community, as well as to encourage biking, walking, and public transit.

Hailey Planning Director Kathy Grotto said the commission recommended approval for the smaller lots throughout the town site overlay district. Public comment on the matter was in support of the amendment and a goal of the comprehensive plan to support infill projects in the city.

City Councilman Don Keirn asked if there are conflicts between the amendment and discussions about land use. Grotto said there is no conflict. There are between 90 and 100 lots that could be split. City Councilwoman Martha Burke said future caps on growth are likely to come from water issues.

The measure passed unanimously and the first reading was held.

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