Friday, March 4, 2011

Hailey delays sidewalk workshop

Mayor says city staff too busy with other matters

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council plans to delay a public workshop to gather input on sidewalk and street standards until sometime this summer, Hailey Mayor Rick Davis said this week. Davis said the postponement is due to a heavy workload at City Hall.

"This will take all of our attention," he said. "We are not going to ram anything through."

Davis said the "Title 18" workshop, previously scheduled for March 14, will take place at a venue larger than City Hall to gather input on designs that could include street widths, bike lanes and sidewalks. He said an official decision by the council to reset the meeting will be made at the March 14 meeting.

Title 18 is a proposed ordinance change that would consolidate street standards in the entire city based on traffic volumes and other criteria. The ordinance change was formerly known as Complete Streets and is based on a national movement to provide options for nonmotorized transportation.

A public hearing on the standards held last month was attended by about 200 people. Davis said his largest concern was addressing issues raised by citizens of Old Hailey. Some of them have spoken out against developing city rights of way that have been used for many years for parking, landscaping and snow storage.

"Most of the people who showed up at the hearing were from Old Hailey," Davis said.

Other residents are eager for sidewalks and bike paths in Old Hailey, in part to provide safe, nonmotorized ways for kids to get to school.

"This is about initiating a process by which the public can get involved in street designs," Davis said.

He said the standards could be established "neighborhood by neighborhood" because Hailey's streets have different widths and setback distances from buildings, and therefore needs differ from one part of town to another.

"They even differ from house to house," he said.

Davis said city staff are working on a River Street upgrade, Woodside Boulevard upgrade, and rodeo arena and Hailey Ice rink construction and do not have time to address street and sidewalk designs.

He said workshops on Title 18 will take place after the snow melts so residents can more easily see where the sidewalks would be built under the new standards.

In other Hailey news:

( The city will hold a workshop on Wednesday, March 16, at 6 p.m. at City Hall to explain some of the ramifications of the revised FEMA floodplain map in Woodside subdivision.

( The city will hold a workshop on Wednesday, March 30, at City Hall to take public input on the development and sale of the Blaine Manor property on Main Street.

Tony Evans:

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