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For the week of Feb 5 - 12, 2002

  News

County open-space
plan moves ahead


By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer

To preserve open space, a group of citizens wants farmers and ranchers in picturesque agricultural areas to sell their rights to build houses and barns to developers in areas where construction would be less of an eyesore.

The idea is called transferable development rights, a concept that has floated in one draft form or another around county offices and citizen groups for four years. But on Monday, a draft TDR ordinance moved into the chambers of the Blaine County Commissioners, who could vote it into law after a series of public hearings that could begin in March.

Under the plan, landowners in so-called sending areas would be able to separate, and sell, their right to build from all other property rights. Other landowners in receiving areas could buy the rights, which would allow them to increase the amount of development allowed on their property.

Sending areas would include private land in southern Blaine County from Bellevue to Highway 20. Receiving areas would include the hamlet of Gannett; a narrow strip along Baseline Road; the Glendale area southwest of Bellevue; and an area south of Bellevue between Highway 20 and Gannett Road.

County planners generally agree that arrangement is not ideal. Farmers and ranchers see TDRs as allowing them to cluster development on their individual parcels. But a more appropriate place to send development would be to cities like Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum, where public services already exist to support it, county planners say.

The P&Z is recommending a phased approach to TDRs because selling the idea to cities, where residents balk at increased development, is difficult. If the county commission gives the plan final approval, then the county would next approach city governments to persuade them to designate more areas to receive TDRs.

Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Mix and Commissioner Dennis Wright both raised questions about the lack of receiving areas north of Bellevue during the meeting Monday.

Wright also suggested that the TDR plan should put a priority on preserving open space that is especially valuable or environmentally sensitive, such as land near Silver Creek.

 


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.