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For the week of July 24 - 30, 2002

News

City officials slam proposed TDR ordinance

Criticism prompted by changes to map


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

Blaine Countyís proposed transfer-of-development-rights program took a hard hit Monday when Bellevue and Hailey officials accused the county of trampling on their planning authority.

The officialsí charges, leveled during a county commission meeting, were prompted by recent revisions to the proposed program that would designate "receiving areas" adjacent to the two towns, rather than in Agricultural-zoned areas farther south.

The meeting was set with the intention of possibly passing an ordinance. However, that possibility was eliminated at the meetingís outset when it was determined that there had been insufficient legal notice made of the meeting.

The intent of a TDR program is to preserve agriculture in the south county by giving farmers and ranchers a means to profit from their propertiesí increasing value without selling it outright. Instead, they could sell development rights, which would be transferred to designated receiving areas. Density allowances in those areas would increase beyond that allowed by zoning.

Under the original proposal created by a citizensí advisory board, both sending and receiving areas were in the A-20 zone, well south of Bellevue. That changed during a June 24 commissionersí meeting under an agenda item designated "planning and zoning discussion." At that time, the commissioners changed the proposed receiving areas to five new locations:

∑  Croy Canyon, west of Hailey

∑  Quigley Canyon, east of Hailey.

∑  Land zoned R-2 from Hailey north to the mouth of Indian Creek.

∑  Land zoned R-5 from Friedman Memorial Airport south to the Bellevue city limits, and east of the Big Wood Riverís flood plain.

∑  A triangular area from the Bellevue city limits south to Glendale Road, containing land zoned R-5.

Commissioner Dennis Wright said the changes were motivated by the countyís comprehensive plan, which encourages development close to towns.

Even so, city officials said they felt left out of the process.

"I have a real problem with the county planning our future, and I get the sense that you donít think Bellevue is capable of planning its future," said Bellevue Mayor John Barton.

The mayor requested that the county refrain from any more planning around Bellevue until the city has an area-of-city-impact agreement in place.

Barton charged that under the new proposal, residents of Bellevue and Hailey would suffer to benefit a few large landowners near Silver Creek.

"There are some 10,000 constituents who will be dramatically affected by this proposal," he said.

Bartonís sentiments were echoed by two Bellevue City Council members and Hailey Planning Director Kathy Grotto, as well as by south-county rancher Katie Breckenridge.

"I sense very strongly that we slam-dunked the cities," Breckenridge said. "I think weíre going against everything we did on the (citizensí) committee."

Hailey resident Bill Hughes contended that the new plan simply exchanges "splattering the south valley for increasing sprawl around Hailey and Bellevue."

The new plan was supported by citizensí advisory board member Larry Schoen and Blaine County Citizens for Smart Growth representative Doug Werth, who said it more closely conforms with the TDR programís intent than did the old map. However, both acknowledged that the commissioners may have moved too quickly by designating the area between Hailey and Bellevue as a receiving area before an area-of-city-impact agreement is completed there.

Commissioner Sarah Michael contended that designation of those areas might jump-start stalled negotiations to complete an agreement. However, she suggested that the proposed receiving area between Hailey and Bellevue be temporarily deleted from the map.

Commission Chair May Ann Mix scheduled an "informal work session" on Sept. 25 for Bellevue officials to come in with proposed area-of-city-impact boundaries.

 


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.