Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Where do you want growth?

Blaine County gauging residents' vision for the future


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

What Blaine County will look like in 20 years may well be decided during a series of county-sponsored presentations and meetings in the coming weeks and months.

The gatherings are part of a much larger county-led initiative titled "Blaine County 2025, Where and How Will We Grow?" After initial presentations by Blaine County planners at each meeting, county residents and elected officials will be asked to offer their thoughts and opinions on how they would like to see the county manage growth in the years to come.

The first of the scheduled presentations was held Monday, Oct. 24, at the beginning of the Hailey City Council's regular meeting at City Hall.

By July 2006, county planners hope to combine the entire range of responses elicited from the meetings to come up with a preferred alternative for managing growth. That preferred alternative will help guide the creation of new regulations that address future growth.

Blaine County planner Jeff Adams said the initiative came out of discussions related to the county's moratorium on new subdivisions, which was put in place to give officials time to consider how to best manage growth in the county.

County officials are looking for responses from all residents, Adams said.

"We want to get as many people from as many walks of life as we can," he said. "We want to elicit public response."

Adams said a recent study by Idaho Power projected a 44 percent increase in the population of Blaine County by 2025. He said the same study also indicated the county's job growth during the same period will be 67 percent.

The numbers indicate a need to gather input from the public, Adams said.

"We wanted to find out the direction we want to head," he said.

While the initiative is focused most specifically on Blaine County policy, municipalities in the area will also be invited to collaborate in the process, according to Adams.

"We want to find out what you value about this place," he said. "Growth patterns affect the quality of life."

Adams said sometime in the coming two weeks, Blaine County will launch a Web site with information specific to the initiative at www.blainecounty2025.org.




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