Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Leaders eye master plan for McHanville

Nine-month timeline put forth

Express Staff Writer

Master planning for the McHanville area, which is located near St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center just south of Ketchum in unincorporated Blaine County, kicked off last week.

Representatives from Blaine County and the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley met with Winston Associates, a land-use planning consultant, to discuss the site's possibilities.

McHanville has long been earmarked as the gateway to Ketchum and Sun Valley and an ideal location for ample affordable housing.

Last spring, the county and both north valley cities each contributed $22,000 to hire Winston Associates to spearhead master planning efforts for the area. The hospital committed $10,000, and the Blaine County Water and Sewer District doled out $5,000.

Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen, who represented the county, said several issues were discussed at last week's meetings, including the provision of services to the site, public transportation, sprawl and the potential economic benefits and drawbacks attached to such a development.

As far as community housing is concerned, several questions must eventually be answered, such as how many units McHanville could actually supply, whether other community housing could be located nearby, such as at River Run, and how land values can be prevented from skyrocketing.

But Schoen said the most important component of the master planning at this point is to ensure that "all of the stakeholders are involved, especially the people who live right in that area."

"This is master planning, but not from the top down," he added. "It needs to be all-inclusive master planning."

Winston Associates is expected to host a series of public workshops in February.

Schoen said the goal is to have a solid plan for the site developed within nine months.

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