Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Bellevue annexation hearings to begin

Up to 150 homes could be built at Slaughterhouse Canyon

Express Staff Writer

On Wednesday, July 12, Bellevue city officials will begin considering the annexation of about 100 acres of land near the mouth of Slaughterhouse Canyon. The property, shown here, is currently vacant land. It is owned by Ketchum-area developer Jeff Pfaeffle. Photo by David N. Seelig

What is now a large expanse of open, undeveloped land northeast of Bellevue in Slaughterhouse Canyon may in the future become something else entirely: up to 150 single-family homes on 99 acres of land adjacent to the city.

Whether or not this change actually takes place will largely depend on the Bellevue City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission's consideration of a proposal to annex the property, which is owned by Ketchum-area resident Jeff Pfaeffle.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, July 12, Bellevue P&Z commissioners will officially kick off their consideration of the proposed annexation. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Bellevue City Hall.

In addition to their consideration of the proposed annexation, P&Z commissioners will also have to consider several related items during the entire annexation process, Bellevue P&Z Administrator Craig Eckles said. These include planned-unit development (PUD) and subdivision applications, Eckles said.

The July 12 meeting is just the beginning of what will likely be a lengthy process to consider the proposed annexation, he said.

"There are going to be a lot of meetings on this," Eckles said. "This is just one of the many steps."

Previous public meetings have already been held to discuss the proposed annexation of lands in Slaughterhouse Canyon.

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

Because the P&Z is only a recommending body, the final decision on the proposed Slaughterhouse Canyon annexation will rest with the Bellevue City Council.

The Slaughterhouse Canyon property isn't the only land currently proposed for annexation into the city of Bellevue.

Farther south, approximately 550 acres of contiguous land split into two separate properties are also being considered for possible annexation by Bellevue. The two properties, owned by Wood River Valley landowners Harry Rinker and John Scherer, are located south of the Muldoon Ranch subdivision, east of Gannett Road, north of the Griffin Ranch subdivision, and west of the foothills owned primarily by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Combined, developers have proposed to construct about 1,000 residential housing units on the two properties, in addition to a small portion of commercial real estate. Together, the Rinker and Scherer properties would nearly double the size of Bellevue if they're eventually annexed.

Eckles said no official meeting dates have been set yet for the Rinker and Scherer properties.

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