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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.
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For the week of June 4 - 10, 2003


Land Trust
strives to improve
Big Wood access

First TDR deal in works

"This is the first example of how the TDR program can protect sensitive open spaces such as the flood plain while allowing for continued growth in appropriate areas."

—Scott Boettger, Wood River Land Trust executive director

Express Staff Writer

Along the Big Wood river in Bellevue, the Wood River Land Trust is one step closer to brokering the first deal in the Transfer of Development Rights program designed to protect open space in Blaine County while respecting private property rights.

Last month, Blaine County approved an addition of two lots on the Griffin Ranch subdivision, south of Bellevue. In exchange, developer Jim Griffin of Seattle, who has been coming to the Wood River Valley since 1947, will contribute $75,000 to be held by the county to such time that the funds can be used to purchase a property owned by J.B. Howard along the Big Wood river front.

Although the property is appraised at $475,000, Howard has agreed to sell the 12 and a half-acre property to the city of Bellevue for $275,000, said Dan Gilmore of the Wood River Land Trust.

"Howard originally had a draft development plan for three houses on the property," he said. "The city went to the Land Trust for help."

The City of Bellevue was eager to buy the property because it will connect parcels of public land that are already accessible to the community.

Howard has a tax incentive to participate in the exchange and has only asked that the land be named after his parents, Lenna and Ellis Howard.

"I’m very pleased we are able to participate," said Griffin in a telephone interview. "I feel that it is going to be a great addition to Bellevue and the whole river parks system. It will give the city much needed river access. It is a beautiful property."

The 10-year-old Wood River Land Trust, which seeks to protect public lands and open spaces in perpetuity, is trying to help Blaine County to facilitate land exchanges that will provide more communal space for recreation as Wood River Valley communities see more density.

"This is the first example of how the TDR program can protect sensitive open spaces such as the flood plain while allowing for continued growth in appropriate areas," said Wood River Land Trust executive director, Scott Boettger.

The purchase option is valid until the end of the year. In the meantime the Land Trust is working with Bellevue and the county to raise the remaining funds necessary to complete the deal.

The Land Trust has so far helped the county reserve 3,349 acres for public access in the county.



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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.