Wednesday, December 13, 2006

County authorizes $22,000 for McHanville planning

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County and the city of Sun Valley have not given up on the potential of the McHanville area as a hub for workforce housing and a gateway to Sun Valley Resort.

The Blaine County Commission on Tuesday authorized a payment of $22,000 for Winston Associates—a landscape architecture and urban planning firm—to develop a master plan for McHanville, which is adjacent to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center on the west side of state Highway 75.

The payment will be made to the city of Sun Valley, which is spearheading the master planning effort and will hire Winston Associates.

The land is privately owned but is located in the county. The county, Sun Valley and Ketchum have all been eyeing the site for its potential to provide much-needed community housing for about seven years. But the city of Ketchum recently decided not to contribute funding to the study, citing too many other priorities.

"Blaine County recognizes the importance of the McHanville area as an entry point to the North Valley and the importance of the hospital to the region with potential for improved transportation, workforce housing and other uses, including limited hospital uses," a resolution authorizing county funding states. "(T)he McHanville is already identified by the county through its adoption of the Community Housing Overlay District as an area acceptable to increased densities, near to existing services and suitable for workforce housing."

According to County Planner Jeff Adams, who drafted the resolution, the master planning process will bring all stakeholders to the table in a series of meetings over the next couple months.

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