Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Neighbors question project's density

Hailey P&Z continues Logan's Run annexation hearing

For the Idaho Mountain Express

Developers made their second pitch to the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission Monday for annexation of a 13-acre area surrounded by the Northridge subdivision.

Named Logan's Run after the former owner of the property, the proposed project is for 64 homes, including 11 community housing units to be built surrounding a linear public park set between state Highway 75 and North Second Avenue. The plan includes four types of housing from single-family homes to townhomes.

The developers pitched the development as sensitive to the city's comprehensive plan and as an in-fill project. The land is currently located in Blaine County.

After reviewing the annexation proposal presented on behalf of Bill Abide, the commission voted to continue the hearing to a date uncertain pending more information addressing density, water pressure and traffic flow on city streets and the highway.

The project, as proposed after some reworking since last summer, has the support of the Parks and Lands Commission. However, neighbors unanimously voiced concerns that the proposed density, although compelling and in line with the city's comprehensive plan, is too high for the distance of the proposed development from the city core, just over one-half mile.

Commissioner Nancy Linscott expressed the view of her partners on the commission that although they support increased density in the city, they regret that Logan's Run is not closer to the core.

Linscott suggested that perhaps the commission could swap the land for something closer to the city core.

Hailey Planning and Zoning Director Kathy Grotto suggested the commission continue the application. In the meantime, the city is awaiting more information from a water-pressure study intended to help correct low flows that have developed during summers over the last decade in Northridge. The study is in conjunction with a new water storage tank to be built this year in Quigley Canyon, which it is hoped will resolve the city's water pressure issues.

Grotto also recommended that more information be provided at the next meeting about water rights, Idaho Department of Transportation input about turn lanes into the development, potential highway widening and potential speed limit reductions. Grotto said she had concerns about whether any highway widening would leave enough buffer area between the road and proposed townhouses.

Grotto also said the commission could look for information about elevations and perspectives of proposed multi-family units as seen from the highway. Finally, she said the commission could ask the developers to contact landowners to the south of the property to inquire about connecting other county land essentially surrounded by the city.

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