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For the week of June 14 through June 20, 2000

Bellevue, meet Hailey…

Eccles expands holdings for Hailey annexation

Express Staff Writer

The fate of more than 200 acres of land between Hailey and Bellevue got a little less certain last week after Bellevue city attorney Jim Phillips announced to Bellevue officials that the property’s owner had revised his request for annexation by Hailey.

According to Phillips, Utah billionaire Spencer Eccles, who owns the land, asked Hailey on June 6 to include with the annexation additional property he purchased in January. According to the Blaine County Assessor’s Office, Eccles purchased 75 acres of land on the northern edge of Bellevue east of Highway 75.

Speaking at a Bellevue City Council meeting Thursday, Phillips said he learned of the additional annexation request during a conversation with Eccle’s lawyer, Evan Roberts.

If approved, the request would result in all the land between Bellevue and Hailey, east of Highway 75, being annexed by Hailey, Phillips said.

The original annexation request made by Eccles in 1998 included about 150 acres between the two cities. Since then, Bellevue, Hailey, the county and Eccles have battled over what rules govern Hailey’s right to annex the property.

If annexed, the land could be developed for light industrial use, something Bellevue strongly opposes because the land borders the city to the north.

In March, following many meetings between the four entities over a period of two years, planners said they had at last made a major step toward establishing the legal framework that would allow both cities to have a say in how neighboring land is developed.

Blaine County planners gave preliminary approval to a Bellevue area of city impact proposal. Consisting of a map and text, the proposal lays out boundaries outside the city where Bellevue land-development rules would apply.

As initially discussed, the boundaries would have prevented each city from annexing land that borders on the other city.

Now, Bellevue officials say Eccle’s new request flies in the face of that initial compromise.

"We’ve been trying for six or seven months to come up with a boundary with Hailey," Bellevue Councilwoman Vivian Ivie said during Thursday’s meeting. "We wanted some open space."

The council voted to pursue further negotiations with Hailey officials. The Hailey mayor, city attorney and city planner will meet their Bellevue counterparts on June 27 to discuss the new annexation request.


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