Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quigley public hearing set for Thursday

City Council to consider closure to annexation request


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Development Group Quigley Green has been pursuing plans to develop the more than 1,100-acre Quigley Canyon Ranch east of Hailey, above. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Hailey City Council will hold a special public hearing Thursday, June 28, at 5:00 p.m. at City Hall to consider putting to rest a four-year-long annexation application by developer Dave Hennessy for Quigley Canyon.

The council voted unanimously three weeks ago to deny the request, citing issues with the fiscal-impact analysis, a decrease in housing demand and reluctance on the part of the developer to guarantee payment of annexation fees.

On June 18, two hours before the council planned to sign the findings of fact related to the city's review of the proposed development, formally concluding the proceedings, Hennessy called Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle in an effort to restart negotiations.

Haemmerle said Hennessy presented an ultimatum, telling him the city would never see another application from the developer if it signed off on the findings of fact.

Hennessy's attorney, Evan Robertson, said that night to the mayor and council that the nature of the "quasi-judicial" proceedings of the council's review of the application hampered his client's ability to negotiate on housing densities and other aspects of the proposed development.

City Attorney Ned Williamson said in an interview that Hennessy could have at any time during the past four years approached city staff or council members with an indication that he wanted to negotiate any aspect of the proposed development.

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Haemmerle said on Friday that the council was presented on such short notice with Hennessy's ultimatum that there was not enough time to think it through.

"We [City Council] are hopefully driven by thought and consideration," Haemmerle said.

If the council signs the findings of fact Thursday, Hennessy could either apply for a development application with Blaine County, where he would be allowed about one-quarter of the housing density potentially allowed by the city, or return to the city with a new application. In his application to annex the site into Hailey and develop parts of it, Hennessy and his group proposed 440 single-family homes.

If Hennessy returns to Hailey with a new application, he will have to abide by a new city ordinance requiring that he simultaneously submit a subdivision plat, providing far more detail than was provided during the last version of his annexation application.

Haemmerle said he likes the idea of applying an additional layer of specificity for annexations.

"I don't think we should be in the position of having to annex a property with some vague idea of what's going to be there," he said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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