Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Developers have big plans for Quigley

Plan calls for 379 homes and golf course in canyon east of Hailey

Express Staff Writer

The annexation plan for approximately 1,100 acres in Quigley Canyon includes 379 home sites, a golf course and several beaver ponds. Courtesy graphic

After some 10 years of deliberations regarding the fate of Quigley Canyon Ranch, the city of Hailey is reviewing an annexation request to develop nearly six miles of irrigated farmland and a sage-filled canyon directly east of the town. The Quigley Canyon development plan includes 379 home sites along with a nine-hole golf course, clubhouse and restaurant.

The Quigley annexation request was submitted in December 2007. Public hearings on the proposed development could begin in late February.

"What is noteworthy about this development proposal is its size," Hailey Planning Director Beth Robrahn said. "It is far bigger than the Cutters annexation."

Old Cutters subdivision, close to Quigley Canyon and the most recent annexation approved by the city, comprises 143 acres; the proposed Quigley Canyon annexation comprises 1,109 acres.

Quigley annexation requests considered in recent years by former landowners Stoney Burke and Fred Judd revolved around a partnership with the Blaine County Recreation District to develop a municipal golf course in exchange for city services. They eventually sold the property to the CG Elkhorn Co., which is redeveloping Elkhorn Village in Sun Valley. Its proposed development would cover six miles of mostly agricultural land along Quigley Creek, which would be developed into ponds, and would accommodate nearly 20 acres of parks, five miles of bike trails and a community garden.

Under the proposed plan, a 200-acre, nine-hole golf course would be developed and deeded to the Blaine County Recreation District.

Retired Fish and Game Conservation Officer Roger Olson, who lives in Deerfield subdivision adjacent to the proposed development, has concerns about its impact on the area. Olson has followed community discussions on developing the canyon for several years.

"I think traffic is going to be a big issue," he said. "With that many homes up there you will have something like 1,200 to 1,400 people. How many automobile trips per day, per household does that amount to? As a former wildlife officer, I also think that many people and dogs that close to a major wildlife corridor will be a problem. The golf course could be a big community plus, but I understand the water level in this area is pretty marginal."

The site today is generally accessed by Quigley Canyon Road, but can also be reached from Foxmoor subdivision, near Wood River High School.

The Hailey Planning Department is awaiting initial responses from city departments, including fire, water, police and sewage services, as to the potential impact on city services before hearing public comment on the annexation request. If the parcel is approved for annexation, development plans would be considered under the Planning and Zoning and City Council review processes. An annexation agreement would include zoning specifications.

Annexation proposals are discretionary, meaning that cities can decline for them any reason they see fit. Most annexations involve a process by which cities ask for certain public benefits in exchange for the provision of city services.

A tentative timeline presented by the developers suggests that the first phase of construction for Quigley Canyon's golf course could begin next winter.

The Quigley Canyon site in recent years has still been used for agriculture in the warmer months. In the winter, it is a popular cross-country skiing locale, with groomed trails maintained by the Blaine County Recreation District.

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