For the week of June 30, 1999  thru July 6, 1999  

Bellevue asks County’s help in "land war"

Development of ag land at stake

Express Staff Writer

The city of Bellevue is turning to Blaine County for help in its negotiations with Hailey over future uses of the agricultural land between the two cities.

The land lies on the east side of state Highway 75 and is owned by Spencer Eccles—to the north—and Ted Divine—to the south.

At the advice of city attorney Jim Phillips, Bellevue City Council members will request that an advisory board—including the three county commissioners, three Bellevue City Council members and three others from the county or the city—recommend an area-of-impact map for the city of Bellevue.

Under Idaho law, a city has some control over development within its area of impact, which in the Wood River Valley consists of county land. Unless the city and the county negotiate otherwise, the area of impact is a one-mile-wide band around the city.

A city is allowed to annex only property that is within its area of impact, unless the property is contiguous to the city boundary and the property owner requests annexation.

Eccles has requested that his 152-acre property be annexed into Hailey as Light Industrial and that his property not be considered part of Bellevue’s area of impact.

Divine has indicated that he is interested in being annexed into the city of Bellevue, according to Bellevue Mayor Steve Fairbrother.

Discussions on the Bellevue area-of-impact map stalled at the Bellevue City Council meeting Thursday night after Hailey city planner Carl Hjelm surprised Bellevue City Council members with a new area-of-impact map for the city of Hailey. Hjelm’s new map depicts the Divine property on the east side of state Highway 75 as within Hailey’s area of impact.

Hjelm said that his map was drawn in reaction to a preliminary map drawn by the Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission, which depicts the Eccles property within Bellevue’s area of impact.

Previously, an ad hoc committee of planners from both cities had been negotiating a joint area of impact.

Hjelm stated Thursday night that Hailey City Council members felt that the ad hoc committee’s efforts were "too far removed from the issues."

"This could be perceived as a breakdown of negotiations," Hjelm told Bellevue council members.

Evan Robertson, the attorney representing Eccles, agreed.

"We got a land war going on," Robertson blurted out during the Bellevue City Council meeting.

In yet another effort to settle the "land war," a joint city council meeting between Bellevue and Hailey on July 19 will address the joint area of impact. It will be the first time the councils have met collectively on the issue.

Under Idaho law, a city has until the year 2000 to approve an area-of-impact map.


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