The Bellevue City Council opted to further consider its options before voting on an ordinance that would ratify an annexation agreement it approved in 2014 for development of the Strahorn subdivision in Slaughterhouse Canyon northeast of town.
A public hearing meeting Monday night took citizens’ comments on the ordinance to ratify an amendment to the 2009 agreement between the city and developer Strahorn Partners that reduced the annexation fee. According to supporting materials for the ordinance included in the meeting packet, that process should have occurred when the amendments were approved in 2014.
“This meeting is being held to remedy this defect,” city planning staff stated.
Council members will discussion the proposed ordinance again on July 8.
The annexation agreement brought about 110 acres into the city for a planned-unit development.
Bellevue’s attorney, Rick Allington, provided a brief history and background of the amended annexation agreement—that because of a court judgement on Old Cutters subdivision in Hailey, Bellevue decided to reduce the amount due by the developers to avoid litigation.
Eight Bellevue citizens commented at the Monday meeting, all asking that council members consider the details of the amended annexation agreement and decide whether it is a good deal for the city. After an hour of public comments and discussion among council members, the council decided to do the first reading of the ordinance and then table the discussion to another meeting to allow time for members to review details of the amendment again and come up with a clearer idea of how to proceed.
The council members were not in agreement among themselves.
“I’m of the mind that we should reconsider where we’re going with this amendment,” Councilman Greg Cappel said.
Councilman Doug Brown expressed a different view, commenting that, “‘Not in my backyard’ is a sport in this valley.” Brown said he was for ratifying the amended annexation agreement, adding that the city needs the property tax revenue that the development would provide.
“We have to look at the big picture and what’s going to let our city survive,” he said.
The city is already in litigation with Strahorn Partners. A complaint was filed by Jim Laski, the developers’ lawyer, on April 8 asking for a declaratory judgement confirming the validity of a plat delineating how the land would be subdivided. The large-block plat had been declared “null and void” at a City Council meeting on Jan. 29 after it was brought to light that it was not recorded with the county Recorder’s Office within the legal timeframe. As of June 3, the parties were going to try mediation before going through a court trial, according to court records.