Wednesday, January 15, 2014

City allows delay of $500K payment

Strahorn developer Jeff Pfaeffle praised for service to the city

Express Staff Writer

    The Bellevue City Council voted unanimously Monday to postpone for two years collection of a $500,000 annexation fee payment that was due this month from Strahorn Partners, a company with plans to develop 205 homes in Slaughterhouse Canyon.
    The extension was granted by ordinance to fulfill a request by developer Jeff Pfaeffle. Under the new agreement, Pfaeffle will owe the city $500,000 on Dec. 16, 2016, or prior to the filing of the Phase 1 plat of the development.
    Reasons for the postponement included the status of a federal district court case pertaining to the city of Hailey’s right to collect agreed-upon annexation fees considered, by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jim Pappas, to be in excess of the impacts the Old Cutters annexation development would have upon the city of Hailey. The Old Cutters case is under appeal by the city of Hailey.
    The ordinance also cited as reasons for the postponement the ongoing recession and the delay of the Phase 1 final plat for the Strahorn development.
    Final plat was not required in order to collect the payment, which Pfaeffle agreed to five years ago, in an annexation agreement.    
    Pfaeffle was praised in the ordinance for fulfilling many obligations associated with the proposed development, including the transfer of title to 61 acres of land with a capped well in Slaughterhouse Canyon, his work to resolve issues involving an abandoned mine, and the transfer of title to a home on six acres on Cedar Street, which was traded for land in downtown Bellevue that is now used for a fire station.

Under the new agreement, Pfaeffle will owe the city $500,000 on Dec. 16, 2016, or prior to the filing of the Phase 1 plat of the development.

    Carl Pearson, a self-described “newcomer” to Bellevue and resident of Sunrise Ranch subdivision at the mouth of Slaughterhouse Canyon, said Monday to the City Council that the request for postponement of the payment provided an opportunity to reconsider the Strahorn development plan.
    “Slaughterhouse Canyon is a special place,” Pearson said.
    Planning Director Craig Eckles told Pearson that 16 public hearings took place over a three-year period before the annexation and development plan were approved.
    During an interview after the meeting, Pearson said demand for housing may have diminished since the development was approved in 2009, and that there may now be more interest in open space.
    “A lot has changed in five years,” he said.    
Tony Evans:

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