Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hailey finalizes Old Cutters deal

Express Staff Writer

After working out a number of small changes over the past month, the Hailey City Council approved an alternative deed restriction at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 22.

The approval was the last step required to record the final plat of the Old Cutters subdivision, said attorney Jim Speck, who represented the developers at the meeting.

Old Cutters is a large development on Hailey's northeast border that will include 116 lots when completed.

Out of the 149 single- and multi-family units slated for the project, the developers will build 25 affordable housing units, 12 of which will utilize the alternative deed restriction.

While the remaining 13 will come under the deed restriction currently used by the Blaine County Housing Authority for affordable units, which limits appreciation to a maximum of 4 percent and qualified buyers by income, the alternative deed restriction makes units available to a much wider market.

Based on a model developed by the city of Telluride, Colo., the main tenet of this alternative deed restriction, as presented to the council by City Attorney Ned Williamson, is that buyers must live and work full-time in Blaine County.

The deed specifies that an applicant must have lived and worked in Blaine County for at least one year, or, for commuters, is looking to move to the valley and have worked full-time for at least two years.

However, rather than a complex income restriction system, a perspective buyer may not have a net worth of more than twice the price of the unit, nor own any real property.

While there's no cap on appreciation, the deed decreases the likelihood of real estate speculators by instituting an "anti-flip clause" that would charge a percentage of appreciation realized if the house is sold within the first seven years.

The final plat still needs to be signed by city staff before being recorded, which the developers hope can be done as soon as possible said Kelly Kipling, a representative of developer John Campbell.

"We want to build as soon as the snow flies," Kipling said.

In other Hailey news:

- The council approved the renewal of the automatic aid agreement between the southern Wood River Valley fire service providers, including the Hailey, Bellevue, and Wood River Fire & Rescue fire departments. The agreement will begin Nov. 1.

- Councilmen Rick Davis and Don Keirn said they spoke with City Treasurer Heather Dawson and concluded that it wouldn't be worth hiring an interim city administrator, as it would take too much time to recruit and bring up to speed an interim just to repeat the process for a full-time administrator. The council will look at this issue further in November.

- Barry Luboviski, representing the developers of the Spring Canyon Ranch, was once again back in front of the council to discuss the possibility of extending water and sewer services to the subdivision, located in Croy Canyon in Blaine County. The developers would pay an additional $3,500 on top of each connection fee. The council members said they liked what they heard and would be willing to sit down with the developers and start working out the details.

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