The Blaine County commissioners last week put their stamp of approval on area of city impact ordinances passed by the Bellevue and Hailey city councils, putting to rest a contentious years-long negotiation process—for now.
The commission voted unanimously on Feb. 23 to approve city of impact maps and ordinances passed by Hailey and Bellevue in December and January, respectively, a development declared a “momentous occasion” by Hailey Mayor Martha Burke.
“I think working together, we have served our communities well,” Burke said in the Feb. 23 meeting.
After initially passing its ordinance in late 2020, the city of Hailey expects to officially approve an updated version with several minor corrections on Monday, March 8. But no more significant changes to the agreement are likely in the near future.
The Bellevue City Council approved its ordinance on Jan. 25.
The final months of negotiations were not without some bumps in the road, including a conflict over whether additional Flying Hat Ranch parcels on the west side of state Highway 75 should be included in Bellevue’s area of city impact. That condition wasn’t agreed upon in a negotiation session between the cities and county in October—but in a December meeting, Mayor Ned Burns said Bellevue would like to see those parcels added to its ACI to prevent the county from developing the area in the future.
While the Hailey City Council had already approved its ordinance and maps at the time of that December meeting, Burke said she would prefer the commission wait to approve the Hailey ordinance until the Bellevue City Council had also passed an ordinance.
In its Jan. 25 meeting, the Bellevue City Council ultimately agreed that the west side parcels should not be included in the city’s area of city impact.
Commissioner Jacob Greenberg last week applauded Bellevue and Hailey city officials and staff for reaching an agreement after years of at-times-heated debate on the matter.
“It’s a function of the characteristics of the people who are in office, and the office staff, that they did this together,” Greenberg said. “Before I became a commissioner, I know this was very contentious. Now it seems like there’s a collaborative spirit and we’re all working together in the best interest of the community.”