Friday, February 24, 2006

Developers pitch Bellevue annexation plan

Public meeting set for 6 p.m. Tuesday


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

Wood River Valley developers Harry Rinker and John Scherer have proposed to have approximately 560 acres of their combined properties annexed into the city of Bellevue. The two adjacent properties, shown here, are located south of Bellevue off Gannett Road. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, Rinker and Scherer will be hosting a public meeting to discuss the proposed annexations at the Bellevue Elementary School at 305 N. Fifth St. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Photo by David N. Seelig

What is now a large, open stretch of farmland south of Bellevue could become an extensive subdivision with approximately 1,000 housing units, if the City Council decides to approve a pair of annexations proposed by two local landowners.

Bellevue residents will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed annexations at a public meeting Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Bellevue Elementary School, located at 305 N. Fifth St. The meeting is being hosted by developers Harry Rinker and John Scherer. It is open to anyone interested in the annexation proposals but is being held primarily for city residents to comment on the plan.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The plan calls for annexation of approximately 560 acres owned by Rinker and Scherer. Their adjacent properties are located south of the Bellevue city limits, east of Gannett Road, north of the Griffin Ranch subdivision, and west of the foothills administered by the Shoshone field office of the Bureau of Land Management.

Picabo resident Nick Purdy, who is representing Harry Rinker during the annexation process, said the meeting is a way for the developers to gather comments from local citizens so the city can craft an annexation proposal that meets with the public's approval.

The topic of the meeting is unrelated to another proposed annexation Bellevue city officials are considering: 99 acres east of the city in Slaughterhouse Gulch. That land, owned by Wood River Valley resident Jeff Pfaeffle, is being considered for a 150-unit housing development.

At a public meeting he hosted on Feb. 10, Pfaeffle and several Bellevue residents discussed a number of aspects of the proposed development, including community open space, available water sources, street design and pedestrian and recreational amenities. He also discussed the possibility of dedicating some land farther out Slaughterhouse Canyon to the city or the Wood River Land Trust as wildlife habitat and undeveloped recreational open space.

Bellevue Planning and Zoning Administrator Craig Eckles said the mayor and the City Council are "trying to ensure that there is public awareness prior to the formal annexation process."

Key topics that will likely be discussed at the Feb. 28 meeting include the inclusion of community housing units, general site design concepts, a possible light industrial zone, open space, recreation amenities and non-dedicated and dedicated streets, Eckles said.

For more information on the meeting, contact Eckles at 788-5351.




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