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For the week of January 7 - 13, 2004


P&Z continues Hailey cinema project

Traffic, parking and design
concerns to be addressed

Express Staff Writer

Traffic, parking and design questions were major issues for citizens addressing the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission about plans for a new cinema complex on the north end of the city. It would be located where the Hailey Nursery and the Sakura and Chi Chi’s restaurants are now located along Main Street.

The commission heard public comment Monday, Jan. 5, on applications for the Big Wood 6 Cinemas by Sun Valley city councilman Latham Williams. Plans had been submitted for design review and subdivision preliminary plat approval, but final consideration of the two-phase six-auditorium project was continued until Feb. 17.

Citizens were largely concerned about traffic congestion on Empty Saddle Trail and the impact on the Northstar neighborhood.

"My main concern is traffic flow," said Dana Lascheck, a 30-year Hailey resident. "Where are these 600 people going to go? Will they all pull out of that tiny little intersection ... it is kind of a mess down there already."

Marshall Smith, who owns the Ski Time cinema in Ketchum and is a partner in the project, responded that not all moviegoers depart simultaneously.

Although one citizen said a solution could be to move the theater out to Valley Market north of Bellevue, commissioner John Seiller said that suggestion did not fit with the goals of the city to find ways to keep desired amenities closer in to the city core and prevent sprawl. A through connection of River Street running west of Albertson’s and through the proposed cinema parking area has been suggested as the best way to improve traffic flow in the area.

The extension already agreed to by Williams would not completely connect the street to the Myrtle Street intersection, but city planner Diane Shay said Ned Williamson, Hailey’s city attorney is negotiating with Sutton and Son’s and another property owner to find a way to push the street through.

Several residents asked that the commission not approve the project until the extension is completed.

Parking was also an issue. Williams said, despite detractors’ views, the cinema plan would provide more parking than city ordinances require.

Neighbors of Marketron, a business on Empty Saddle Trail, said that some of the employees of the firm end up parking on the street as the 41 on-site parking spaces can’t handle all of the workers’ cars. The 10,793-square-foot project (14,268 square feet, once a second phase is completed) includes 79 on-site parking spaces and a parking agreement with Marketron. The theater parking would be available to Marketron by day and the Cinema could use Marketron spaces in the evening. The project would include off-site sidewalk curb and gutter improvements to improve pedestrian access and create more parking.

Although commissioners voiced support for the project in principle, they also asked that the architect provide more detailed plans that diminish the "great wall" effect at the next hearing.



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