Friday, October 1, 2010

Hailey starts planning Friedman site

Master plan scheduled to be done by February

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey is looking ahead to redevelopment of the Friedman Memorial Airport property. Photo by Mountain Express

The process of planning for the redevelopment of the Friedman Memorial Airport property in Hailey is set to begin next week. City officials expect a master plan for the 210-acre property, including zoning designations, to be completed by February.

"Every component is meshing now," said City Councilwoman Martha Burke at a council meeting Monday.

Burke said she sat down with Federal Aviation Administration officials in Seattle recently, telling them that the zoning of the property would involve a "public process" among Hailey residents.

City Attorney Ned Williamson told the council that a "potential conflict" existed between the FAA's desire to maximize revenue from sale of the property and the city's goal of developing the land in accordance with the city's comprehensive plan.

Proceeds from the sale of the property will be used to pay for a replacement airport, tentatively proposed for a site in southern Blaine County. About 130 acres of the Friedman property are owned jointly by Blaine County and Hailey. An additional 80 acres will revert to the heirs of the Friedman family.

The council voted Monday to approve a contract with Madison, Wisc.,-based Mead & Hunt, a major aviation and airport consulting firm, to begin an economic analysis of how development would affect Hailey in preparation for the master plan. The work the firm does over the next five months will be funded by the FAA.

Burke said the city's zoning ordinances, including restrictions on the size of roofs, would not permit construction of "box stores" such as Walmart or Target at the site.

Williamson said in an interview that the economic analysis will protect the interests of the city.

"It ensures that the master plan protects the downtown business core, ensures connectivity with the rest of the community and that the uses on the property complement nearby neighborhoods."

Williamson said Mead & Hunt consultants will come to town next week on a "reconnaissance analysis" mission to begin studying the Hailey economy. Whatever their findings, Williamson said, the final master plan for the airport property will reflect the wishes of the City Council.

"Hailey has exclusive authority over zoning of the airport property," he said.

The target date for opening a new airport is 2014.

In other Hailey news:

( The council authorized the Hailey Historic Preservation Commission to install the first of several informational signs on historic downtown buildings. The first sign will be placed on the J.C. Fox Building, which houses City Hall and the Hailey Public Library.

( Harmony Design and Engineering of Driggs, Idaho, was awarded a $42,000 contract to draw up preliminary designs for a grant application to redevelop River Street. The contract does not include transportation and lodging expenses originally requested by the company.

Tony Evans:

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