A proposed change to the Hailey Zoning ordinance that would have provided developers a new way to separate commercial buildings into smaller portions was denied by the Hailey City Council on Monday.
Airport Way developer Whitney James, of Portage Bay Partners, proposed the ordinance amendment, which would have allowed for “interior lots” as small as the size of a parking lot, which could be sold individually under one roof.
City law provides for separations of ownership in commercial zones under a condominium plat application, which is governed by the Condominium Property Act, passed into Idaho Law in 1965.
The act was established to “facilitate the construction and development of condominiums and condominium projects, together with the financing of the same.” Under the law, the portion of individual condominiums that can be owned separately is only the space between walls. The walls, floors and ceilings are all owned collectively by the condominium association.
Architect Jay Cone, who represented Whitney at the meeting, said the change was necessary because financing for the purchase of condominiums has recently become more restricted by banks.
To solve the problem, Cone and Whitney proposed a change to the city’s zoning ordinance that would allow Whitney to separate one commercial building into four separate ownerships, similar to the way residential townhomes in the city are allowed to have separate ownership under one roof with shared walls.
“There would be no change of appearance or of use,” Cone said. “It would allow people to buy smaller portions of buildings, allowing for smaller investments.”
Individual townhome ownership in the city’s residential zones is made possible with “party wall” agreements that allow for shared ownership of walls.
Because the city does not allow townhome development in commercial zones, Whitney proposed a new concept called “interior lots” that would run right down the cross section of a building, and use party wall agreements to share costs and liabilities.
Mayor Fritz Haemmerle and City Attorney Ned Williamson said the change would not provide solutions to many potential issues that have already been resolved under the Condominium Property Act, including the governance of common areas, insurance liabilities and provisions for designating liabilities for shared plumbing, electrical roofing and other portions of the building.
Williamson called the proposed change “funky.” Haemmerle said he was willing to “do funky so long as it worked.”
The applicant was instructed to reapply with changes to the proposed amendment, at a time uncertain.
In other Hailey news:
- The City Council directed staff to explore the possibility of creating an overlay district that would allow for an electronic sign to announce public events. The sign would be located at city property at state Highway 75 and Fox Acres Road, or at the intersection of Airport Way and Highway 75 in front of Rodeo Arena entrance.