The Bellevue City Council will on Monday continue a discussion about a plan to split half of its area of city impact in the 227-acre Flying Hat Ranch East and share equal control over zoning of the area with the city of Hailey.
The discussion will take place at 5:30 p.m. during a public hearing. It follows a meeting on Feb. 13 that halted the process, which would cede about 100 acres to Hailey’s ACI.
“Frankly, I don’t think Bellevue has had much input into the ACI split discussions,” Bellevue City Council Chair Doug Brown said in an interview. “The council agreed that we need to get our feet under us.”
The Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission recommended a renegotiation of the ACI last month, but with a word of caution about the possibility that Hailey could quickly implement commercial zoning that might impact Bellevue.
“There has to be a level of trust,” P&Z Chair John Kurtz said in January.
Blaine County has played referee at times between Hailey and Bellevue at times during legal tussles that eventually led to Bellevue controlling the entire area between the two towns. Blaine County will also play a role in the ACI renegotiation if it takes place.
Brown said Thursday that a letter submitted as public comment last month by Bellevue resident and Blaine County Land Use and Building Services Director Tom Bergin caused him to “think again” about what is going on.
Bergin, in his role as a “Bellevue tax and fee payer,” said “the word on the street is that the developer [Oppenheimer Cos.] of Flying Hat Ranch East is seeking this Area of City Impact renegotiation because they want a Hailey address. That is not listed for defining an ACI line.
“Bellevue leaders should show a little community pride and push back against such a shocking perspective. ... Bellevue should stand firm and not agree to a new boundary shifted so appallingly far south from its current, previously negotiated location.”
Bergin said he was surprised that after months of conversation between the developer and the Blaine County Recreation District about plans for a sports complex and open areas between the two cities, the Recreation District had no plans.
“In my experience, a map guides the conversation from very early on,” wrote Bergin, calling for further details on potential development and open spaces. “If Bellevue is not ready to annex today, it will be tomorrow. All development happens over time. Annexation by another city [Hailey] will be a permanent reality.”
Brown said he called for the Monday meeting and continued discussion, which will be attended by developer’s representative David Patrie.
“We all know the magnitude of what this annexation means for the city of Bellevue and its future,” Brown said. “We don’t want this to take too long. We want to see the annexation take place so we can get going.”
The question remains: If the ACI is split, what will Hailey do with its share of the land under its control with regard to zoning, and when. And how might that impact Bellevue?
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. The developers are also invited to attend.
Brown said last month that 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.
Bellevue City Councilman Chris Johnson last month said he believed Bellevue’s sewer facility could eventually handle development of the entire area, “whether it’s 227 acres or 30 acres.”
Bellevue is also facing possible annexation of land to the south of the town at Gannett Ranch, which could bring 400 new housing units into the city. ￼
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