For the week of March 31, 1999  thru April 6, 1999  

Hailey gives Texaco the go-ahead


By HANS IBOLD
Express Staff Writer

A long time in the throes of Hailey’s design-review process, a modern Texaco gas station, convenience store and Taco Bell restaurant won approval from the city council Monday night.

Mayor Brad Siemer broke a tie after two hours of deliberation that left council members looking burned out.

The owner and developer of the 701 North Main Street property, Rene Bine, had appealed the planning and zoning commission’s Feb. 2 denial of his design.

Called at different times during hearings "Anywhere, U.S.A." and the "Strip Mall," the 4,000-square-foot Texaco and its 3,800-square-foot canopy over five pumps will replace the older station currently operating on the property.

Councilwoman Susan McBryant, coincidentally wearing Texaco’s corporate black and red colors, attached several conditions to the approval:

  • An access to River Street must be provided.

  • Texaco’s colors must be toned down (on the gas station canopy, not on McBryant.)

  • Lighting must be downcast and shielded.

  • Light poles and the canopy height must be less than 15 feet tall.

  • Taco Bell’s drive-through must not have a loudspeaker.

  • Mitigation for odors generated by the restaurant must be provided.

  • No exterior seating may exist and interior seating must be limited to 10 seats.

  • Landscaping must be reviewed by the council.

In order to build, Bine must first return to the council for approval of these conditioned items. A meeting date has not been set.

In opening remarks, Bine’s attorney, Ed Lawson, asked the council to "look at the big picture."

"Maybe it doesn’t match up with how you’d like to see a bank or a clothing store be built, but it is a gas station," Lawson said. "This property will improve on the appearance of Main Street and enhance safety."

Bine seemed to strike a chord with council members when he informed them that if denied approval, he would be forced to abandon the project.

"If we don’t get this configuration, we can’t afford to do it," Bine said. "Maybe someone who doesn’t care to get a return on their money could do it—Bruce Willis maybe."

Bine said he would lose financing from Texaco if the proposal did not retain its features.

Safety and a lack of desirable alternatives ruled over aesthetics in the council’s decision.

"We need to consider the application on its merits," Councilman Scott Basolo said. "There are other alternatives, but I’m not sure they’re better for Hailey."

One of those merits, according to McBryant, would be enhanced safety.

"We have a definite safety issue with the way the site is now," McBryant said, referring to traffic patterns at the current station.

Council members Martha Burke and Jennifer Hazard Davis opposed the proposal, citing the design’s lack of human scale and its incompatibility with Hailey’s historic character.

"I cannot in good faith say that this project is preserving the small-town character of Hailey," Burke said. "It goes against what I believe in."

 

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