Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cove Springs hearings resume

Water, wildlife issues will take center stage during Thursday hearing

Express Staff Writer

Review of Cove Springs, a massive 338-unit development proposed for a sprawling ranch 5 miles southeast of Bellevue, will continue Thursday with the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey.

The proposal drew heavy fire from a host of citizens during a hearing in November, mainly over concerns that the development would destroy key habitat for key wildlife species like sage grouse and wintering elk, and require too much water.

In early December a large herd of elk was seen feeding on the ranch in the vicinity of the site of the proposed development.

But the applicants—Steve Beevers, Anna Mathieu, Jan Edelstein and Cynthia and John Miley—stress that the development has been thoughtfully planned to protect open space, agricultural and ranching operations, wildlife habitat, water and the south county's rural traditions.

The development would encompass approximately 600 acres of the 4,630-acre ranch, which is located east of Gannett Road. The brunt of the density would be situated about a mile off the road, and the rest of the home sites would fan out into a series of small valleys to the east.

One thousand acres would continue to be farmed, and more than 2,600 acres of wildlife habitat would be permanently protected. Two ranch parcels—152 acres and 3,843 acres—would consume the rest of the ranch.

In addition to concerns over Cove Spring's potential impact on wildlife and water, several people wondered whether additional development is necessary in the area.

Carey is currently eyeing applications for 1,000 new units, and the city anticipates future applications for an additional 800 units, according to a staff report from Blaine County Planner Stefanie Webster.

Bellevue has about 800 units hooked up to water and sewer within the city. Additionally, there are three applications to annex property into Bellevue, including 100 acres and 150 units in Slaughterhouse Canyon and two separate properties along Gannett Road, near Cove Ranch. One application proposes to annex 280 acres and add 689 units. The other proposes 281 acres and 350 units.

On the flip side, it's estimated that only 153 new lots were approved in unincorporated Blaine County in a five-year period between 2000-2004, according to Webster's report.

Proponents of the development counter that growth is inevitable and the Cove Springs applicants are genuinely trying to design a progressive, environmentally sound community.

The developers hired a dozen consultants, including wildlife, environmental and green building experts to help draft their plan.

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2021 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.