Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hailey terminates Quigley annexation

Developer is free to return to city with new application


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Developer David Hennessy’s request to annex Quigley Canyon Ranch into the city of Hailey was formally denied at a special public hearing Thursday. Photo by Willy Cook

The Hailey City Council voted unanimously Thursday, June 28, to sign the findings of fact and conclusions of a four-year-long annexation request by developer Dave Hennessy, formally terminating a request for a 440-home development in Quigley Canyon east of downtown.

The decision to terminate the annexation application was made despite a last-minute effort by Hennessy to jumpstart negotiations last month, after the council had already voted unanimously to deny the request.

"I can appreciate that the council wanted a full council to make a decision of this magnitude," said Councilman Pat Cooley, who was absent from the last City Council meeting, during which the council voted to suspend termination of the application.

"But," he said. "the time to negotiate was long before the vote."

The council voted to seek public input once more on whether to negotiate with the developer. About 25 people showed up Thursday to share their feelings.

Sandra Sullivan expressed concern that Quigley Canyon could now be developed in the county with 5- to 10-acre parcels, beyond reach of most local wage earners. Others expressed regret over the loss of trails and Nordic skiing in the canyon, which Hennessy has said need to be closed off to proceed with alternate plans.

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Yet, most in the room expressed a desire to terminate the application.

Attorney Keith Roark criticized what he said was Hennessy's "all-or-nothing" approach to negotiating with the city.

"When things didn't go his way, he acted like a petulant child," Roark said.

Hennessy is free to return to the city at any time with a new annexation request, but under a new ordinance he will have to provide security for annexation fees and a subdivision application at the same time.

Hennessy's application called for annexing about 1,100 acres into the city along with plans to develop 440 houses in phases. In exchange, he offered the city valuable water rights and public access to parts of the site for recreation.

Mayor Fritz Haemmerle lauded Quigley Road residents Jim and Evelyn Phillips for cutting a trail across their property to help make up for miles of hiking and biking trails closed to the public by Hennessy after the city denied his application.

"I think this city is flexible and can find a way to cover all public uses that were there," Haemmerle said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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