Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hailey P&Z set to discuss school zoning

Syringa Mountain School pursuing alternative options


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

    The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, to consider an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance that would change schools from permitted uses to conditional uses in some zones in the city.
    The change would continue to allow schools in the General Residential, Business and Limited Business zones, but make mandatory a list of requirements that would ensure, according to language in city law, that the school “not create excessive additional requirements at public cost for additional services.”
    Community Development Director Micah Austin said the Feb. 10 meeting would address parking, safe landscaping and street-siting requirements.
    “More commonly than not, schools are conditional uses in cities,” Austin said.
    Austin said he is working on the criteria with representatives of the Syringa Mountain School, which was denied approval of its design for a site in the China Gardens subdivision of Hailey.
    Two criteria exist now for parking at elementary and middle schools in Hailey. One requires one space for every teacher or employee. The other requires one space for every two seats in assembly areas. (A 500-seat auditorium would require 250 parking spaces.)
    Austin said the city was challenged by the school’s application because the proposed Waldorf-style school did not have a gymnasium or cafeteria in its plans with which to devise parking requirements.
    “If they (Syringa School) have assemblies, we have no mechanism to provide parking for those events,” Austin said.
    Austin said the Syringa Mountain School has since withdrawn its application to build in China Gardens and is pursuing several alternative options, including the leasing of existing buildings, the purchase of existing buildings, and the purchase of vacant land elsewhere to build on.
    Safe landscaping requirements will also be discussed at the meeting, and include the need for open spaces and low-lying vegetation around schools.
    “You want to keep as much area as possible visible from any given point,” Austin said.
    The P&Z will also review street-siting requirements, which will require that new schools be located on “collector streets,” larger and more heavily trafficked streets such as Woodside Boulevard and Myrtle Streets in Hailey.
Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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