Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bellevue should take time to listen to citizens

    As a county commissioner, I worked collaboratively with three out of four Bellevue mayors and sought the city’s and Bellevue citizens’ input on a number of issues. Now, I hope the city of Bellevue will seek public input into the proposed changes to the Bellevue Comprehensive Plan.
    The Sept. 18, 2014, draft proposes to eliminate language that discourages “isolated commercial development in outlying areas and in the proposed Area of City Impact (ACI).”  The changes are driven by the desire to accommodate the annexation request of Spence Eccles, which maps 91 acres of strip business development along Highway 75 between the borders of Bellevue and Hailey.
    The draft plan also changes the intent of the current plan to keep undeveloped lands on the west side of Highway 75 for open space, eliminates language promoting a dark sky ordinance, beautification of downtown, and affordable housing as city goals. These are just a few of the Comprehensive Plan rewrites, which appear to radically change the vision and values held for decades by the citizens of Bellevue.  
    Comprehensive plans should be citizen-driven documents, not changed for a particular developer. It reminds me of when developers came to Blaine County asking us to change our plan to allow a new city just south of Timmerman Hill. Blaine County has five cities already. Without citizens and community officials demanding the need for another one, we just said no.
    If the city of Bellevue adopts Eccles’ vision, and changes the Comprehensive Plan to support strip mall development, it will impact the economy and quality of life for Bellevue and the entire Wood River Valley. Studies show that box stores bring low wages, create fewer jobs and represent crippling competition for locally owned businesses.
    Bad decisions are made when there is a rush to accommodate developers and citizens are not engaged in thoughtful deliberation and meaningful input. I hope that the city of Bellevue will take the necessary time to vet the concerns of the majority of its citizens so that any changes to the Comprehensive Plan will truly reflect their values now and into the future.
Sarah Michael
Blaine County commissioner from 2001-2008

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.