Friday, March 3, 2006

Land exchange would complete River Street

Hailey to negotiate with property owner, developer

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey is negotiating with local landowners to initiate a land exchange that could result in the city taking ownership of a 70-foot by 200-foot piece of property located near River Street, shown here. Taking ownership of the parcel would allow Hailey to finally connect north and south sections of River Street. Photo by David N. Seelig

The city of Hailey is negotiating a potential land exchange that could fulfill one of its longtime goals: the completion of River Street by connecting the north and south sections separated by a stretch of private property.

Members of the Hailey City Council met Thursday, March 2, to discuss the proposal. Idaho statute requires municipalities to declare their intent at least 14 days prior to pursuing such a land exchange.

The city will begin considering the proposed exchange in earnest at a March 27 City Council meeting, Hailey City Attorney Ned Williamson said.

"We have to go through the (state statute requirement) process," Williamson said. "That's what we're doing."

The proposed exchange would involve two parcels of city-owned land in central Woodside and a privately owned 70-foot by 200-foot parcel north of Myrtle Street and south of Empty Saddle Road.

In exchange for the parcel the city desires, a property development company called Sweetwater Developers would take ownership of the two city-owned parcels, which are adjacent to approximately 20 acres it already owns. The parcels owned by the city are 50 feet by 600 feet and 13,000 square feet in size, respectively.

Williamson said the city has evaluated the value of nearby properties to better understand what the River Street parcel is actually worth. He said further details of the exchange including the various properties' appraised values will be available at the March 27 meeting.

All four members of the City Council expressed support for the proposed land exchange.

Councilman Don Keirn said the land exchange has long been a goal of the city. "We're finally getting there. It's a good deal," he said.

Council President Rick Davis said neighbors of the proposed extension of River Street are in strong support of the project. "I think this is more or less a blessing," he said of the exchange.

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