Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bellevue Councilman Steve Fairbrother resigns

Slaughterhouse Canyon annexation inches forward

Express Staff Writer

Equine veterinarian Steve Fairbrother is stepping down from his Bellevue City Council seat. The former Bellevue mayor is moving to Hailey. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Bellevue will lose a force in local government when City Councilman Steve Fairbrother steps down this month. The former mayor and two-term councilman is stepping down because he is moving to Hailey, which makes him ineligible for the post.

"Steve will be missed," Councilwoman Tammy Eaton said. "He had a great progressive outlook, he was very directed, to the point and thorough. He also cared a lot about the city of Bellevue."

Mayor Jon Anderson is taking letters of interest from those who would like to fill the vacant seat before appointing a new council member. The City Council will then be required to confirm the appointee before he or she takes office. The new council member will have to run for office in November to keep the position.

As of Tuesday, Brett Gelsky was the only candidate to have thrown his hat into the ring. Gelsky ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in November after Anderson encouraged him to do so.

Bellevue City Council members serve two-year terms, voting on planning and zoning, budgeting and city services issues.

Councilman Chris Koch took over from Tammy Eaton as City Council president last week.

In other Bellevue news, developer Jeff Pfaeffle's plan to build 170 homes in Slaughterhouse Canyon northeast of Bellevue moved forward during a second reading of an ordinance regarding annexation of about 100 acres in the canyon for Pfaeffle's Strahorn Ranch development.

The developer agreed to cover any potential clean-up costs associated with an exploratory mine dug in the 1960s on property on the eastern edge of the canyon. The mine straddles both BLM land and property belonging to Pfaeffle, which he plans to donate to the city as part of his annexation request.

"These mines are becoming increasingly important for bat habitats," said City Administrator Tom Blanchard.

This spring, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality will test waste dump materials and spring water emanating from the mine for arsenic.

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