Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Eccles family requests annexation of 227 acres

Proposal to be reviewed by Bellevue P&Z

Express Staff Writer

    The Eccles family is asking the city of Bellevue to annex 227 acres of its Flying Hat ranch, all the property between Bellevue and Hailey along the east side of Highway 75. Despite an absence of proposed development details, the effort was unanimously supported by the City Council during a meeting Monday.
    The 700-acre ranch north of Bellevue belongs to the family of Utah billionaire Spencer Eccles. In 2000, Eccles requested that portions of his property, spanning the distance between Bellevue and Hailey, be annexed into Hailey.
    The annexation request was opposed by Bellevue officials at the time, who said it could bring light industrial development to the edge of the city limits.
    C. Hope Eccles, Flying Hat Ranch LLC managing member, signed papers on April 4 authorizing attorney J. Evan Robertson of Twin Falls to be the ranch’s agent “to execute and pursue on its behalf, any and all documents, petitions, or applications required or necessary to complete the voluntary annexation by the City of Bellevue.”
    Robertson was not present at the meeting Monday, but family liaison Marc Reinemann told the council that “this is huge for Bellevue.”
    He did not provide any details to the council about what the Eccles plan for the irrigated fields, which stretches for about 1.5 miles between the Woodside light industrial zone in Hailey and the northernmost residential neighborhood of Bellevue. He also declined to do so in an interview.
     The City Council, led by Chair Dave Hattula, who wrote a letter of support in absentia, expressed support for the annexation, despite the fact that no zoning targets have been presented for the area.
    The council directed city planning staff to proceed with the annexation process before the Planning and Zoning Commission on July 28. Planning Director Craig Eckles said in an interview that he would provide proposed zoning details “not less than 15 days” prior to the P&Z public hearing on July 28.
   The field between Hailey and Bellevue is currently in Blaine County’s R-5 Residential/Agricultural Zone, allowing for one residence per five acres, and R-10 Rural Residential, which allows for one residence per 10 acres.
    Annexation typically increases development density substantially.
    Nancy Cooley, a zoning specialist for Blaine County, said the parcels up for annexation have some Mountain Overlay District portions, which could limit development on hillsides.
    “Generally speaking, when this gets to a hearing, Blaine County would have an opportunity to comment, as would anybody,” Cooley said.
In other Bellevue news:
• The City Council approved a draft budget for fiscal 2015 of $3,052,479 after City Councilwoman Lisa Phillips proposed capping all donations to outside groups at $500. Phillips’ motion was supported unanimously by the council.
Tony Evans:

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