Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hailey Coffee Co. expansion approved

Old elm tree to make way for parking


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

An old Siberian elm tree, left, will be removed to make way for expansion of the Hailey Coffee Co. Photo by Tony Evans

    The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission voted Monday to approve the design of a two-story addition to the Hailey Coffee Co. building on Main Street in Hailey.
    The addition will include an on-site bakery and upstairs housing unit. The expansion triggers the need for a new sidewalk along the south side of the building, and necessitates under city law that the café owners develop three new parking spaces, or pay in-lieu fees to build spaces elsewhere in the city.
    The new addition will include a garage door wall that will open during warm weather, similar to the door at Velocio café in Ketchum.
    “We are expanding to create jobs and to draw people from Ketchum and Sun Valley to Hailey,” said Carrie Morgridge, owner of Hailey Coffee Co., at the meeting Monday.
    Due to the need for more parking, a large Siberian elm tree on the south side of the existing building on city property will be removed at the owner’s expense.
    Two years ago, the Hailey Tree Committee voted to recommend not removing the tree, which is valued as an $8,000-$9,000 asset in the city’s urban forest.
    Hailey Community Development Director Micah Austin said recently that the Tree Committee was split in its vote, over whether to recommend that the tree be removed, until “further discussion” led to a vote to recommend its removal.
    The city will not be compensated for the tree, but the café owner is required to plant four new trees in the new sidewalk, which will be used for outdoor seating when weather allows.
    Morgridge said Monday that losing three parking spaces would cost her $17,000 per year in revenue, the amount that three customers could contribute over the course of a year, said Austin.
    “I am emotionally attached to it [the tree], but it is best for everyone if it goes,” Morgridge said.
    Austin said to build the new sidewalk and make the area wheelchair accessible would have required decking to go around the tree, and material to keep cars from parking on its roots.
    Austin said the city is not in the habit of recommending removal of trees on city property for development, but that Morgridge’s situation is unique.
     “An extremely large tree is located in the wrong spot, in a sidewalk where we would never plant it to begin with,” Austin said.
    “I believe that in Carrie’s business it is crucial that she have adequate parking to accommodate her customers, especially the ones that need to get in and get out quick,” he said.    
Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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