An area-of-city-impact map delineating areas that the city of Bellevue would like for future annexation will be presented to the City Council on Monday night and be open for public comment.

Bellevue Planning & Zoning commissioners continued two public hearing discussion on Monday night, after two hours of dialogue with two members of the public voicing their comments on the proposed additions to the city’s comprehensive plan.

On the table are a pair of additions, one to fold language regarding an area of city impact into the comp plan’s chapter on land use, and the second is a new chapter of its own on public airport facilities, now required by state law. Neither issue moved forward to the City Council this week, and both will be discussed again during a special meeting of P&Z on Feb. 18.

The language of the area of city impact is a necessary step in the overall game playing out between Bellevue and neighboring Hailey for land between the two city limits. According to state law, all counties and cities are required to adopt, by ordinance, a map identifying an area of city impact where growth is likely to occur within the unincorporated county.

The Bellevue City Council will take public comment on Monday night regarding the proposed maps of the area of city impact, along with the ordinance.

Bellevue resident Tom Blanchard commented on both the new airport chapter and the ACI language, giving historical context to the airport and Bellevue’s prior involvement until 1994 when the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority board was formed, leaving Bellevue without a seat at the table.

The commissioners cited noise and possible air pollution and discussed whether asking for a seat on the authority board would benefit Bellevue. While all agreed it was important to have the city’s voice represented on the board, they did not finalize language for recommendation to the City Council.

State law mandates that a chapter on Public Airport Facilities be included in each city’s comprehensive plan identifying “facilities locations, the scope and type of airport operations, existing and future planned airport development and infrastructure needs, and the economic impact to the community.”

Turning to ACI language, Blanchard cautioned the commissioners to tread carefully regarding the verbiage used, particularly the word “commercial,” warning that many residents don’t support big-box stores, and want to contain commercial activity to the city’s downtown.

An area on the east side of state Highway 75 north of Bellevue is under consideration for annexation, pending passage of the ACI by the City Council, the city of Hailey and Blaine County.

“The land will provide the City with much needed land area for a mix of commercial, industrial and residential uses as well as green space, recreational playing fields and area for a new school,” reads the current draft language regarding the area of city impact.

Community Development Director Diane Shay said she would work on creating new drafts of both sections and have them ready to present at the commission’s next meeting, at which time it will take additional public comment.

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