For the week of July 1 thru July 7, 1998  

What are McHanville landowners to do?

Planners say maybe medical offices, industrial and housing uses will dot the land

Express Staff Writer

McHanville landowners want guidance from their county leaders. They want an official update on how they can use their land; They want a rezone.

The area was expected to be rezoned to allow for construction of a new hospital.

"We’ve been working with the county for two years," said John McDonald, head of the McHanville property owners group. "McHanville needs to be cleaned up. The people and businesses should be legitimized."

Blaine County has labeled the land just south of Ketchum a Special Planning Area, but it is in no hurry act-- which is part of the landowners’ troubles, McDonald said.

"It’s not our first priority right now," said Blaine County zoning administrator Deborah Vignes when asked about the McHanville rezone process.

Today, zoning in McHanville allows for a motley bunch of activities.

Those owning property in that football-shaped area do anything on their land from fixing cars to running an excavation business to living.

Most of the terrain was zoned R-.4 for residential use in the 1970s, but in reality there has been a pretty loose take on that mandate.

The business and industrial uses edging State Highway 75 pre-dated the residential zoning, and are allowed by grandfather clauses.

Because of a text amendment to the county RD zone last month, soon there can be a hospital, too.

A few weeks ago, a handful of McHanville area landowners waited in the old county courthouse in Hailey, and watched a change in zoning laws for St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center’s hospital pass over the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission table.

McHanville residents sat quietly without really commenting on the text amendment to the St. Luke’s Recreational Development Zone.

The P&Z’s decision didn’t affect any of the McHanville owners’ properties; it just allowed for the new St. Luke’s hospital to move ahead.

The problem is, some McHanville owners were under the impression they would be part of that P&Z action.

"It was my understanding McHanville would’ve been included in the rezone a couple years ago. Why hasn’t that happened?" McDonald questioned.

Blaine County Commissioner Len Harlig had an answer.

"The county is waiting for the city of Ketchum to create a list of acceptable uses down there that could be included in a rezone," Harlig said. "They have pretty well told us they don’t want retail ...but if you’re there, whatever you’re doing isn’t hurting anyone and you can probably stay."

McHanville is within the city of Ketchum’s zone of impact, though it is not inside the city limits, and is considered unincorporated county land.

What this means is the county commissioners will have the final say, though Ketchum’s comprehensive plan will guide whatever decision they make, Harlig said.

Ketchum city planner Lisa Madjiak offered some direction.

"We plan to put two options out in our comp plan," Madjiak said.

She described allowing industrial mixed with housing uses or medical offices. Retail activity will not be encouraged.

Ketchum’s comp plan is under scrutiny this summer, and Madjiak said these options are merely suggestions that will probably go to public hearing before the city council in August.

Until then, there’s not much for McHanville landowners to do but keep waiting.


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