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For the week of October 18 through 24, 2000

South county set for more industry

Express Staff Writer

The amount of land headed for industrial development in the county expanded by 300 acres last week.

During a meeting at the old county courthouse in Hailey Thursday night, the Blaine County Planning an Zoning Commission revised the county’s 1994 comprehensive plan land-use map to increase the amount of land proposed for industrial zoning in the Glendale Road area, three miles south of Bellevue, from 1,200 to 1,500 acres.

The land-use map is part of the county’s comp plan, a document meant to guide county planners for a decade or more.

During the same meeting, the P&Z rezoned approximately 100 acres of the land, previously under mixed zoning of Heavy Industrial and Agricultural, to Light Industrial.

Then the P&Z gave approval to landowner Dan Brown to subdivide his 28.7 acres—all under the Light Industrial zoning--into nine lots.

A Light Industrial zone permits uses compatible with adjoining commercial or residential uses. Activities permitted include light manufacturing, retail and distribution facilities.

The P&Z’s actions become final if the board of county commissioners gives its approval later this month or in November.

The P&Z’s action was criticized by two members of the public.

"I’m not for sprawl," Jay Coleman told the P&Z commissioners. "There’s always a good reason to spread out from the commercial centers, but the word for it is sprawl. I’d like a board someday to say this is where the asphalt ends, this is where the green begins, and that’s the way it’s going to be."

Coleman asked the P&Z to have developers pay for a study of the impact the changes would have on surrounding areas and on traffic. The P&Z did not respond to that request.

However, chair Tom Bowman defended the P&Z’s actions. He said a lot of heavy industrial activity already takes place in the area and that the activity is incompatible with neighboring residences. Rezoning all the land would discourage the incompatible residential uses, he said.

Also, he argued that the change makes good planning sense.

"Our…comp plan really designates this area as compatible for industrial uses," he said. "It doesn’t discourage industrial uses. It says if we’re going to have them, this would be a great place."

Thursday’s actions began over a month ago with the rezone request by Dan Brown. That request created a flurry of similar requests by his neighbors, which in part prompted the P&Z to visit the area two weeks ago to get a feel for the land before making changes.

The Blaine County Board of Commissioners has not yet scheduled a date to review the P&Z’s recommendations for final approval.


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