Friday, July 13, 2007

Hailey?s future growth begins to take shape

Council gets look at Area of City Impact

Express Staff Writer

After many years of discussion, Hailey appears to be taking the final steps toward implementing its Area of City Impact plan.

At its meeting Monday, July 9, Hailey City Council members listened to a presentation from Planning Director Kathy Grotto as she explained the proposed plan for different uses and priorities of surrounding lands as the city expands.

Grotto said the plan would be split into four different zones, each with special characteristics that the city would strive to preserve through the planned-unit-development process when considering future development.

The "Near Proximity Zone" would include property close to the current city boundary, such as Quigley Canyon and land directly south of the airport. When considering annexation, Grotto said, the Area of City Impact ordinance and Planned Unit Development ordinance would ensure that appropriate consideration would be given to wildlife corridors, access to recreation areas, and the mitigation of traffic impacts on existing residential neighborhoods.

The "Heritage Zone" would preserve the land between Hailey and Bellevue, retaining the element of open space that gives a visual distinction between the two cities.

For the "West Zone," located in Croy Canyon, the important issues would be access over the Big Wood River and respecting the floodplain.

The "Advisory Zone" would be made up of the hillside areas around Hailey and would have a low priority for annexation, as these areas could not be built upon, Grotto said.

If adopted, this Area of City Impact ordinance would determine potential areas the city would consider for annexation, although it would not preclude individual property owners outside the ordinance from requesting annexation.

In addition, Hailey would work with both Bellevue and Blaine County in establishing areas of city impact in order to ensure that the three entities have similar planned-unit-development guidelines, thus maintaining consistency as the area continues to grow.

Although council members were positive about the proposal, it will still be some time before any official plan is in place, as the proposal will have to go before Hailey's Planning and Zoning Commission before being voted on by the council.

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