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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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For the week of April 10 - 16 , 2002

  News

Graphic by Gavin McNeil

Plans to extend Hailey business core north turned down

Critics foresee domino effect, strip malls


By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer

Visions of an empty Hailey downtown and strip malls from Hailey to Ketchum led a group of city residents to oppose an application by EMOSA, LLC, to consider expansion of the cityís business district at the April 2 meeting of the planning and zoning commission.

The principal partner of EMOSA is Ketchum resident Elliot Caplow.

The application, presented by EMOSA representative Gerald Martens, was for a comprehensive plan amendment and land use map amendment. Both proposals require approval before a developer can apply for a rezone.

Martens said his client wanted to rezone his property from Limited Residential-2 to Business and Service Commercial Industrial.

The 30-plus-acre parcel fronts on Highway 75 from the Amerigas property, which is on county land, to a short distance south of the new traffic light at the McKercher Boulevard intersection. The light was recently activated to handle traffic at the new Albertsonís store.

On its east side, the parcel fronts Second Avenue North. The Wood River Middle School is on the other side of the avenue.

Kurt Nelson opposed the application, telling the P&Z that he would hate to see the cityís business district "expand into strip development."

The north gateway into the city has been made ugly, he said, but that was no reason to make it uglier.

"Letís stop and take a look at what weíve done. We donít want a Blue Lakes Boulevard between Hailey and Ketchum." Blue Lakes Boulevard is on the east side of Twin Falls.

Nelson said if EMOSA were allowed the rezone, "it could become a very offensive commercial development."

"We donít know what would be put there."

Linda Haavik told the P&Z that it is time "to say no to more strip commercial development."

She said if the business district were expanded north as EMOSA requested, "the term central business district will lose its meaning."

Steve Thompson was concerned that EMOSA didnít say what was going to be built after a rezone was granted.

He said he wanted to know what the developer was planning on building before the city granted an amendment to the comprehensive plan and a change in the land use map.

"I donít like writing a blank check," he said. "Letís see what weíre in for first."

City planner Kathy Grotto told the commissioners they might consider amending the comprehensive plan and the land use map because there had been a change in conditions in the area.

Martens argued that with the presence of Albertsonís and the new traffic light at the store, the residential zoning of the parcel was no longer suitable.

"Much of this property is not appropriate for single family residences," he said.

Martens argued that because of the traffic light and Albertsonís, some kind of transition was needed to buffer current residential with something other than more residential.

The solution offered by EMOSA is to rezone 13 acres to service, commercial and industrial on the propertyís east and north sides and to rezone 17 acres to business on the propertyís west and south sides.

Martens said there were many "neighborhood-type uses in the SCI zone, like offices that were compatible to residential zones."

"Weíre not looking to develop all the uses allowed by SCI," said EMOSA attorney Evan Robertson. "Weíll stipulate those uses when we bring in a rezone application."

He said approval of the applications for amending the comprehensive plan and the land use map "doesnít mean an automatic rezone."

Opponent Adam King told the P&Z that instead of considering changing the property from limited residential to business and service, commercial and industrial, maybe it should consider rezoning it as high density residential.

"Weíre looking at a potential incompatible use and a first step in a domino effect, moving business northward, eviscerating the downtown core and the proliferation of offensive lighting," he said.

Martens told the commission that any development proposed by EMOSA would be "as far from strip development as you can get. We are talking a planned project with pedestrian features, a park and a trail."

The P&Z voted against recommending the application to the city council.

Commissioner Eddy Svidgal called the public comment against the application "well-put" and that he was "reluctant to change the comprehensive plan when the ink on it is hardly dry."

Commissioner Kristin Anderson said a recommendation would be a violation of the comprehensive plan, which "strongly states the downtown core be protected."

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.