Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hailey reopens comment on Quigley

Change comes after developer reduces size, scope of project

Express Staff Writer

The owners of the Quigley Canyon Ranch property, now an expansive alfalfa field, want to develop 365 home sites on the land. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Hailey City Council will hear another round of public comment on a proposed annexation and 365-unit real estate development in Quigley Canyon on Monday, Aug. 31.

The decision to reopen public comment, which was closed in June, follows a decision made by Quigley Canyon developer David Hennessy earlier last month to remove about 380 acres of environmentally sensitive areas at the east end of the canyon from his development plans.

"I think it made a lot of people happy," Mayor Rick Davis said.

Davis said he expects the changes will reduce the fiscal impact on the city's services. He said consultant Richard Caplan, who carried out a fiscal-impact study on the original proposal, is revising the study to reflect the changes.

Removing development plans above Quigley Pond and in Deadman Gulch reduces the number of acres proposed for annexation from about 1,100 acres to 720, and removes 14 homes from the proposed development.

Wildlife advocates should have less to worry about, unless Hennessy submits an application to Blaine County to develop homes in these controversial areas. Hennessy said in June that he would pursue development plans with the county.

Hennessy's goal of building above Quigley Pond and in Deadman Gulch drew criticism last year from the Idaho Fish and Game Department, the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission and local citizens. The primary concern has been about impacts residential development would have on the environment, particularly wild animals that inhabit the area.

The council has yet to negotiate with the developer over payment for off-site improvements associated with the proposed development, including construction of a sewer line and water-reclamation line running from Quigley Canyon to the Woodside sewer plant, and construction of a new municipal well.

City staff was instructed to hammer out these financial details with the developer before the Aug 31 meeting.

The develeopment group, Quigley Green LLC, wants to annex the land into Hailey and build home sites, a public golf course, a clubhouse and trails.

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