Hailey City Councilman Fritz Haemmerle's implication that the "sky will fall" without the city of Hailey's acquiring the Quigley Canyon senior water rights is a red herring. The potent issues and 800-pound multiple gorillas in the room are unacceptable impacts of huge traffic increases, water use, the dismal local and national economy, and the present and future livability and quality of life for our existing east-Hailey residential neighborhoods.
We have experienced two big development disasters, namely Old Cutters and Sweetwater. With the Cutters bankruptcy, Hailey citizens cannot expect to ever recoup the serious money owed the city in annexation fees. No further convincing proof is needed of the abject folly of even considering a major new annexation. The downsized city budget and overburdened personnel can barely cope with their current obligations.
I understand there are between 800 and 900 existing vacant lots within Hailey city limits already served by water, sewer and roads. The startling number of home foreclosures has resulted in many vacant/abandoned homes, unsightly yards and deteriorating neighborhoods. Hundreds of additional Quigley lots on the market would only further depress the market. The boom-and-bust days of "build it and they will come" are over!
The Aug. 31 Express article neglected to mention that the developer is trying desperately to get off the hook for $3 million in up-front annexation fees to the city. It's inappropriate for him to use the water rights as a quid-pro-quo lever.
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Enough is enough. The Quigley matter belongs under the purview of Blaine County—period. Please speak up decisively to Hailey's mayor and council and ask them to deny annexation with no further delay or obfuscation.