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For the week of May 22 - 28, 2002


Orchards subdivision plan denied

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Commission unanimously denied an application to build a 21-lot neighborhood on semi-rural Broadford Road, south of Hailey, because the plan was flawed, the commission said.

Developer Bob Dreyer’s Orchards subdivision would have created 21 lots on 21.5 acres of alfalfa fields, with each lot served by an individual septic system. Plans called for 7.5 acres of open space with a manmade pond for aesthetics and to help with fire protection.

The area is zoned for residential development with one home per acre. But Dreyer asked for slightly higher density than that under the county’s planned unit development ordinance, which allows higher density in exchange for "superior design and amenities."

"In my heart, I cannot see superiority, I’m sorry," said Commissioner Dennis Wright during a public hearing May 15.

One widespread criticism of the plan, with which Wright agreed, concerned the septic systems. He and others worried that the septic systems, clustered on lots of less than an acre, would threaten groundwater quality.

The South Central District Health Department approved of the plan, however.

Wright suggested Dreyer ask the city of Hailey for permission to connect with the city’s sewer line, which runs within a few hundred yards of the property. Cities typically allow hookups only inside city boundaries.

The commission also said that the pond would be a nuisance by attracting animals and by attracting children to thin ice in winter. Dreyer said that residents could be required to install a temporary eight-foot fence around the pond in the winter, an idea the commission rejected as impractical.

The commission also said that the plan would have too great of an impact on the surrounding roads, especially Broadford Road. Wright said that Dreyer would need to offer at least $40,000 worth of improvements on Broadford Road for his plan to pass.

And, because Dreyer’s property is located near the Hailey airport, a neighborhood there would result in more noise complaints, the commission said. A plan for soundproofing houses would have alleviated their concerns, the commissioners said. But Dreyer said no extra soundproofing would be needed.

After the commission voted, Dreyer said he was disappointed because he wasn’t allowed to offer changes to his plan during the meeting. But the commission said he had a chance to address its concerns in writing before the meeting.

"I’ve been to other meetings where there’s a little bit of communication," he said.


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