Friday, March 17, 2006

Blaine County hosts 2025 open houses

Ordinances, maps and comment cards will be provided

Express Staff Writer

With public hearings related to Blaine County's "2025 Preferred Scenario" beginning April 6, the county will host a series of open houses next week to give citizens a head start on what is sure to be a complicated, intense process.

Specifically, the public will be able to preview a number of ordinances that have been drafted in response to the "Blaine County 2025: Where and How will we Grow?" public outreach campaign, which was held last year.

"We want to make sure people have sufficient time to look at the maps and understand the changes proposed and to better understand how the county is planning to accommodate growth over the next 20 years," said Blaine County Commission Chairwoman Sarah Michael.

The campaign was instigated by a projected population increase of about 50 percent in Blaine County by 2025. A moratorium on subdivisions in unincorporated Blaine County was instituted in January 2005 to give the county a chance to prepare for the anticipated growth. The moratorium will expire this June.

In the beginning of the campaign, consultants Ben Herman and Chris Duerksen, of Clarion Associates, presented the public with four scenarios for handling growth. Citizens selected "Scenario C," which dictates that density should be directed toward the cities. About 500 people participated in the outreach campaign.

For the past month, Herman, Duerksen and Blaine County Planner Jeff Adams have been drafting ordinances that would fit that desired scenario.

"(We'll) have all the ordinances there, and all the ones the county has done for the moratorium," Adams said. "That includes quite a few things."

In a nutshell, the ordinances will focus primarily on changes to zoning in the county, especially in remote locations and agricultural areas.

The first open houses will be held March 22 in the Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey—one from 12-2 p.m. and another from 6-8 p.m. On March 23, open houses will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall and from 6-8 p.m. at Carey City Hall.

In addition to copies of the ordinances, Adams said brochures, detailed maps and comment cards will be provided to the public.

"This is just the beginning," said Adams, who will attend the open houses. "There will not be any kind of presentations, just walk-ins for people who want to come in and ask questions. Hopefully I'll be able to answer any questions."

Adams added that the information should also be available on the county's Web site,, today or early next week.


Open House Schedule

Wednesday, March 22

· Blaine County Courthouse, noon to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

Thursday, March 23

· Ketchum City Hall, 9 a.m, to 1 p.m.

· Carey City Hall, 6 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, March 29

· Blaine County Courthouse, noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 30

· Blaine County Courthouse, noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

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