Wednesday, March 27, 2013

For Bellevue leaders, patience pays off

Business moving to site once targeted by Mountain Rides

Express Staff Writer

The Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission last week approved the design of the planned Safe Haven senior-care facility. This rendering shows the planned exterior of the west side of the development. Courtesy graphic

A parcel of commercial property at the south end of Bellevue that was once slated to become a transit hub for Mountain Rides public transportation service sold recently to Joe’s Backhoe Excavation.

“We’ve been looking at the site for four or five years,” said Joe Matheney, the owner of Joe’s Backhoe Excavation.

He said he’s moving from Hailey’s Woodside light-industrial subdivision because he needs more room. 

The three-acre site is located south of the intersection of state Highway 75 and Gannett Road. The Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission voted in December not to make proposed zoning changes at the site in order to allow the transit center to be built. The Mountain Rides application was then withdrawn.

At that time, several people, including Broadford Road resident Marilyn Plott, spoke against the transit center, saying the site should instead be reserved for commercial development.

“It’s business developments that sustain the city,” said Plott in December. “Mountain Rides is not a business use, but a public service agency, funded by federal, state and local funding sources and subsidies.”

Mountain Rides had proposed that the city forgo payment of $4,000 in annual tax revenue from the property as an “in-kind” contribution for public transportation services. 

Mountain Rides has since been exploring another possible transit hub site in Hailey.

Until about two years ago, the property in question in Bellevue supported a thriving landscaping business. Bellevue Planning Administrator Craig Eckles said the company had an annual payroll of $3 million and employed 140 people. 

Eckles said Joe’s Backhoe has an approved business license for a contractor’s office, storage yard, outdoor nursery, commercial nursery and incidental associated sales.

Matheney said he needs to expand to the new site due to an increase in business. He said he will take on more residential and commercial projects this summer than last, including four in Old Cutters subdivision in Hailey and four or five more in Ketchum. 

“The architects are staying pretty busy,” he said.  

Matheney said most of his heavy equipment will remain out on jobs and at Ohio Gulch, but some trailers and one or two pieces of heavy equipment will remain on the Bellevue site. He said he will add on to a shop at the site, plant trees and add gravel for parking.

“It should look pretty nice,” he said.

In other Bellevue news:

- On Thursday, March 21, the Planning and Zoning commission granted design review approval for Safe Haven Health Care’s proposed Bell Mountain senior care facility. The proposed building, scheduled for completion in late spring or early summer of 2014, would eventually encompass 80 assisted-living and skilled-nursing beds.

- The P&Z voted to grant final plat approval for transfer of nine acres of land in Strahorn subdivision to the city for park use.

Tony Evans:

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