For the week of September 30 thru October 6, 1998  

Proposed annexation sparks controversy

Express Staff Writer

s30but1.gif (11590 bytes)Broadford Road homeowners Jim and Betty Butler discuss plans to build a road through the living room of their house Friday. (Express photos by Willy Cook)

Angry opposition from neighbors greeted the proposed annexation of a 75-acre parcel south of Hailey brought before the city’s planning and zoning commission last week.

Future plans for the property include a light industrial development, a county jail and a county bus garage.

Airport West Partners presented conceptual plans for the Hailey Airport Business Park, proposed for a site west of Friedman Memorial Airport, at the Sept. 22 P&Z meeting.

Currently the property is within Blaine County and undeveloped. Airport West proposed annexation because the Blaine County Comprehensive Plan directs that commercial development be done in incorporated cities.

According to representative Ron Sharp, the flexible development plan shows a "low-key industrial park with mixed uses," a possible transition area between the Broadford Highland subdivision south of the property, minimal residential development, and no direct access from the business park to Broadford Road.

Development would take place over 30 years in two-phases: the northern half of the property first, and the southern part of the property in the future.

Airport West Partners is proposing the land be zoned light industrial, which would also allow for limited retail sales.

The proposed straight-forward development is complicated by the relationship and differing interests between Airport West, Blaine County and the Friedman Memorial Airport. The latter two parties are involved because the county holds the deed and the airport controls 11 acres of the property within the area proposed for annexation.

The three parties are discussing a possible land swap, co-development of the parcel or purchase of the land by Airport West. The county has expressed an interest in developing a jail and a combined shop and bus garage.

The county has also threatened litigation to ensure that a jail is placed on the land.

"(The jail) is not something we’re advocating, but we have to deal with it, Sharp said."

Spurring more controversy during the crowded hearing was Airport West’s configuration of roads.

The plan shows three roads to the property: a revised access to Broadford Road through a new Friedman Road, one from Airport Way and one from Broadford Highland Lane.

The plan requires the relocation of a home built in the early 1900s at 007 Broadford Road, owned by Jim and Betty Butler, and purchase of the property.

The Butlers told the P&Z last Tuesday night the property is not for sale.

"We would rather have the house than the money," 74-year-old Betty Butler told the commission during the meeting. "It may not mean anything to you people, but come down and look at it. We do not want to move or give up our home."

Angry comments were also directed toward the possibility of a bus garage being built near residents’ homes.

"The first time I get sick [from the diesel fumes], I’m going to sue," said resident Cynthia Brown.

Brown and others also objected to the plan to build a jail on the property.

"It seems absurd to put a jail into this area near hotels, residential neighborhoods and the long-term parking at the airport," said Mark Sliwicki, "[The jail bond] has been voted down by the public three times, and now you’re telling us that it’s going to be built. I just don’t get it; nothing seems to have any effect, like we’re just the little guys."

According to Hailey city planner Carl Hjelm, a development agreement between the Hailey City Council and Airport Partners West could customize the zone to allow construction of motels or hotels, as well as houses. The Friedman Memorial Airport Authority has objected to residential uses of the land because of the area’s proximity to the airport.

"Thankfully this is a long process and this is a starting point. We have to start somewhere and throw out all the information," said P&Z member Tom Ward.

The P&Z agreed that the annexation represents an orderly extension of existing city boundaries, a finding required by state law for the process to be carried out.

But P&Z members requested that the road configuration be re-examined and a traffic study done, and expressed opposition to a jail, although they acknowledged they have no authority over its construction on county land.

"I want to personally apologize to the Butlers for involving them so early," said P&Z member Greg James. "If you’re not willing to give up your property, I’m not going to discuss it."

James suggested that Airport Way be looked at for improvements as opposed to a new road into the development.

The P&Z continued the application until its Nov. 17 meeting.


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