Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In Hailey, new rules for schools?

P&Z approves plan to regulate new construction more tightly

Express Staff Writer

    After three months of research and public hearings, the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday approved an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance that more tightly regulates construction of school buildings.
    The new requirements address landscaping, traffic impacts and parking.     
    The amendment changes schools from a permitted use to a conditional use in the General Residential, Business and Limited Business zones, and adds schools as conditional uses in the city’s two Service Commercial Industrial zones.
    It will now go to the City Council for final approval.
    City staff worked with Blaine County School District officials and city residents to establish the new requirements after a new-school development application from the Syringa Mountain School in February had residents up in arms over potential impacts on the neighborhood.
    The school had no plans for an assembly area, which had long been used as a determining criterion for school parking-space requirements.
    As a result, Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle called for a moratorium on new school applications until the city could establish acceptable guidelines, especially regarding traffic impacts and parking requirements.
    The moratorium was never enacted, but city staff and school officials went to work on the issue, and found that no schools in the city had parking spaces that matched the city’s requirement, but were instead using city street parking and lawn parking.

Different schools have different needs.”
Dan Smith
Hailey P&Z

    A preliminary ordinance change proposal would have required Wood River High School to increase its asphalt parking spaces by 25 percent if the school expanded by 10 percent or more.
    In an effort to not create what were described as “seas of asphalt,” that plan was scrapped in favor of a new ordinance that Community Development Director Micah Austin and City Attorney Ned Williamson drafted and presented on Monday. The new amendment calls for specific parking requirements for elementary, middle and high schools.
    Under the new ordinance, elementary and middle schools would be required to build one improved (asphalt), on-site parking space for every  teacher and employee, and have one improved or unimproved (grass or gravel) on-site or off-site (city street) space for every six seats of the largest assembly area on the school site. If no assembly areas are proposed, the required minimum number of on-site parking spaces is one for every teacher and employee, and five asphalt or unimproved on-site or off-site spaces per 1,000 feet of gross area of school buildings.
    Under the proposed ordinance, high schools would be required to have one improved on-site space for every four students and one improved space for every teacher and employee, or one unimproved on-site or off-site space for every eight seats of the largest assembly area on the school site. If no assembly areas are proposed, the required minimum number of on-site improved parking spaces is one for every four students and one for every teacher and employee, and five improved or unimproved on-site or off-site spaces for every 1,000 feet of gross area.
    Planning and Zoning Commissioner Dan Smith offered “kudos” to city staff for creating the ordinance change.
    “Different schools have different needs,” he said.
    In other Hailey news:
- The P&Z denied a design-review exemption for  Ken Sangha that would have approved his choice of red paint for the walls of his Chateau Discount Outlet store at 960 S. Main St., saying the color did not match closely enough the red color of the Hailey Welcome Center across the street. City code requires that new colors match the surrounding neighborhood.
Tony Evans:

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