Friday, November 18, 2011

McHanville rental project moves forward

Affordable-housing plan to go before commissioners

Express Staff Writer

The McHanville area next to St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center south of Ketchum could soon be the site of a 15-unit rental complex, part of which would be deed-restricted affordable housing. Photo by Mountain Express

A proposed affordable housing complex in the McHanville area south of Ketchum has one more obstacle to clear before construction can begin—approval from the Blaine County commissioners.

The county Planning and Zoning Commission agreed last month to recommend approval of the plan by CK Enterprises and architect Michael Doty to build a 15-unit rental complex in the McHanville area between Hospital Drive and state Highway 75.

The lot is in the county's Community Housing Overlay District, meaning the developer is required to provide a certain percentage of deed-restricted units.

Blaine County Land Use and Building Services Planner Kathy Grotto said the developer's intention is to make all the housing "affordable," though not deed-restricted.

Five of the complex's 15 apartments will have income-based rents, ranging from $545 for a lowest-income-level three-bedroom to $861 for a highest-income-level one-bedroom.

Grotto said that though the rent breakdown may seem odd, it's not based on the quality of the unit but what the prospective tenants can afford to pay.

"It's determined by income level," she said. "There's no difference among the units—in fact, that's one thing the [Blaine County] Housing Authority was pleased about."

Ten other units will have market-based rent. The units range in size from 777 square feet to 1,463 square feet. Housing Authority Executive Administrator David Patrie noted that the units are planned with energy efficiency in mind, with an eye toward keeping utility bills low.

One potential concern is that the proposed site was formerly owned and used by AMOCO Oil Co. Grotto said the developers conducted an environmental study that detected a few areas of concern.

"There were areas of spills," she said.

She said a second environmental study determined that contaminants were within acceptable levels.

Grotto said the affordable housing proposal is not connected in any way to the relocation of Dean Tire.

Cody Wheeler, son of Dean Tire owner Ken Wheeler, said in an interview that the Ketchum icon plans to close its doors and move to the Woodside Industrial section of Hailey on Jan. 1. He said the move is due to the impending Idaho Transportation Department's Highway 75 expansion project.

Grotto said the McHanville Apartments project is only connected to the highway expansion in that ITD and the developer will conduct a small land exchange to provide for an expanded right-of-way on the east side of the property.

The proposal will come before the Blaine County commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 1:30 p.m. at the old Blaine County courthouse in Hailey. The hearing is open to the public.

Katherine Wutz:

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