Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hailey signs off on airport master plan

Box stores removed from blueprint

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council approved on Monday a conceptual master plan for the redevelopment of the Friedman Memorial Airport property, after a provision allowing big box stores such as Walmart and Target was removed from the plan.

Councilwoman Martha Burke called the possibility of big box stores competing with established local businesses in Hailey a "political lightning rod" at a City Council meeting last month.

The council also amended the master plan Monday to allow for "creative ideas" from citizens regarding the 210-acre airport property redevelopment.

City Attorney Ned Williamson told the council last year that a "potential conflict" existed between the Federal Aviation Administration'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 redevelopment master plan, which could establish long-term goals for the site, includes a multi-use area with a 200-room hotel and conference center, a retail-residential "village" and a sprinkling of "research and development" centers.

Tony Evans:

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