The Bellevue City Council on Monday put the brakes on a plan to split half of its area of city impact in Flying Hat Ranch East and share equal control over zoning of the area to the city of Hailey.
The halt took place during a public meeting held to renegotiate the area of city impact maps of both cities. The 227-acre area between the two towns is likely to be annexed soon by one or both cities following a request by the Oppenheimer Companies Inc., a Boise-based developer. An annexation would greatly increase density for housing and other developments in the area.
Bellevue officials are planning to invite the city of Hailey to a workshop to address specific concerns over the development of Flying Hat Ranch before the Bellevue City Council takes up the area of city impact, or ACI, map renegotiation discussion again on March 13.
The ACI map, along with a conceptual zoning plan presented Monday, is being used to determine which areas are to be annexed by which city, thereby granting control of municipal zoning in those areas.
Though both cities and the Blaine County Recreation District have been involved in communication with the Oppenheimer group about ACI boundary renegotiations, the plan presented Monday to split the areas equally between the two cities took City Councilman Chris Johnson by surprise.
“I find it a little insulting,” Johnson said of the proposed split. “I think we would be doing ourselves a disservice.”
Johnson noted that in 2021, the city of Hailey wanted most of the area in its ACI, a move that Bellevue successfully fought. Bellevue now controls the entire 227 acres in its ACI.
Johnson recommended reducing Hailey’s proposed new ACI in Flying Hat by about a third, shifting the boundary northward to beyond a planned commercial automobile development in Bellevue on the west side of Highway 75.
City Councilman Doug Brown agreed with Johnson. He also asked why Bellevue should relinquish a good portion of its ACI to the Blaine County Recreation District for a nonprofit sports complex proposed between the two cities that would not provide the city with development revenue.
BCRD Executive Director Mark Davidson said the complex would take up 25 to 30 acres, and that the BCRD would work with Bellevue whether or not Hailey was involved in the overall development.
The Solomonic goal of splitting the ACI evenly between the two cities was recently hatched by Flying Hat landowners Skip and Doug Oppenheimer, ostensibly to satisfy the desires of two cities that have historically fought over control of development of the stretch of vacant farmland along the east side Highway 75.
After years of wrangling, Bellevue leaders now have the upper hand, but signaled on Monday a desire to work with Hailey and the Oppenheimers, so long as Bellevue’s interests are safeguarded.
“We need an open forum, with the landowners and the city of Hailey,” Bellevue Mayor Kathryn Goldman said.
Brown said he had felt “steamrolled” by the ACI splitting process, and that Bellevue’s sewer capacity—or lack thereof—had been used as a cudgel in meetings with Hailey and Blaine County to reduce the size of Bellevue’s ACI. Johnson said he believed Bellevue’s sewer facility could eventually handle development of the entire area, “whether it’s 227 acres or 30 acres.”
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The proposed change would increase the base residential development impact fee from $2,270 to $2,543 for units 1,601- to 2,200-square-feet in size, a 12% increase. The fee for retail developments would increase 8%, from $951 to $1,027 per 1,000 square feet.
A good place to start on Idaho's ACI and Annexation laws would be over.
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