Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Developers offer Hailey $750,000 for sewer line

City moves toward deal with proposed Croy Canyon subdivision

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey last week came close to accepting an offer by the developers of Spring Canyon Ranch to pay $750,000 for an extension of sewer services to the proposed 115-home subdivision. However, approval was derailed when Councilwoman Carol Brown said she needed more time to consider a memo on city sewer plant capacity submitted at the last minute by City Engineer Tom Hellen.

At a Hailey City Council meeting Monday, Dec. 20, attorney Barry Luboviski, representing the Spring Canyon Ranch developers, offered $750,000 in compensation to the city for providing sewer service to the development, just west of the city in Croy Canyon.

At previous meetings in October and November, the council had expressed support for the development plan, as the initial deal included a donation of both $1 million in cash and 10 acres of property to the neighboring Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation, to assist with the development of its planned eldercare facility.

During October's meeting, Luboviski said impact fees would amount to $3,500 per unit on top of the connection fee for city residents, which is currently $2,140. As well, each user would pay a 10 percent premium on the monthly wastewater bill.

The developers would also bear the entire cost of installing pipes to connect to the system, as well as a new bridge on Croy Creek Road over the Big Wood River, estimated at a cost of $1 million.

As further incentive to approve the request, the extension would allow the Blaine County School District to easily connect to the sewer system if it moves forward with its long-term plan for an elementary school located on 28 acres just west of the Big Wood River in Blaine County.

Yet city officials sought further compensation for the sewer-pipe extension, which the developers have agreed to maintain.

The council was prepared to vote on the offer until City Engineer Tom Hellen presented findings in a last-minute memo to the council, which caused Brown to call for a clarification of the city's sewage treatment capacity.

"I need to have something very clear in front of me," she said. "I need to be able to tell a citizen of Hailey that we can meet current city needs along with this development."

Hellen's memo points out that the city's current daily average flow to the sewage treatment facility is 630,000 gallons, 39 percent of the plant's capacity of 1.6 million gallons per day.

"If all we do out Croy Canyon is the Spring Canyon Ranch, the proposed school and the eldercare facility, we will have sufficient capacity with the current system, even with the inclusion of developable lots in Hailey," Hellen said in an interview after the meeting.

The City Council will again take up consideration of the Spring Creek Ranch development on Jan. 14, 2008.

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