Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hailey hillside ordinance nearing completion

New rules would limit development on steep slopes

Express Staff Writer

Hailey's largely undeveloped hillsides would continue to remain so under a proposal that would make changes to the city's zoning ordinance by creating a hillside overlay district.

Hailey Planning Director Kathy Grotto presented a draft version of the proposed new rules for public and City Council comment during Monday's council meeting at City Hall.

Hailey's Planning and Zoning Commission forwarded the draft version of the ordinance with its recommendations to the City Council on Sept. 19.

Grotto gave a brief synopsis of recent changes to the draft version of the proposed Hillside Overlay District Ordinance.

She said the purpose of the ordinance is to make it clear that development is to be directed outside of hillside areas. Only in limited cases would development be allowed to occur in the district as long as it met the ordinance standards.

Bulk requirements in the proposed overlay district would be limited under the new ordinance to a maximum 28-foot height limit.

Reading from the draft version of the ordinance, Grotto said the Hailey Hillside Overlay District would encompass those areas at or above a 15 percent slope angle. She said the ordinance would limit uses within the district to homes, home occupations, and non-motorized recreation and below-ground public utilities.

Perhaps the most strict of the proposed ordinance's requirements is a provision that prohibits the further subdivision of land that creates a building envelope in the overlay district, Grotto said.

"It's the most strict. That provision would rule in almost every instance," she said.

Ketchum resident Len Harlig, who said he has followed the issue as it has cycled throughout the Wood River Valley, thanked the City Council for taking on the issue.

Harlig said the hillside overlay issue is especially important considering the potential for future annexations to the city.

Instituting such a plan would give the city greater say over how development takes place in those areas, he said.

"I would encourage you to continue on this course," Harlig said.

Hailey City Council members ended Monday's discussion of the overlay district by asking Grotto to revisit several aspects of the draft ordinance. With that, the council voted to continue the discussion of the proposed ordinance until a future date not yet determined.

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