Sweetwater Community

Sweetwater Community’s original 116-unit expansion plan was approved by the P&Z in December 2019 and has since increased to 137 units.

The Hailey City Council voted on Monday to continue a preliminary-plat hearing for a nearly 50-unit addition to Woodside’s Sweetwater Community, calling for a commitment from the developer to provide more affordable, energy-efficient units.

Representatives from Utah-based developing firm Momentum Development Group will need to meet with the city planning department virtually next week and return for plat approval on Dec. 13.

The Sweetwater Community consists of 55% second-home owners, compared to Hailey’s average of 20%, according to Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz. Council members on Monday found that figure problematic.

Councilman Sam Linnet said discussions about restricting or banning short-term rentals through the community’s CC&Rs—or covenants, conditions and restrictions— “need to be had now, not after the project is built.”

“Once we approve plat, there is very limited room for discussion down the road,” he told project representative Matt Watson.

The preliminary plat agreement that Watson presented to the council on Monday aimed to subdivide a block of Shenandoah Drive into 12 sublots.

Previously, Momentum Development Group planned to subdivide the block into 14 sublots with seven live-work units, one 10-unit condominium building and two three-plex townhomes for a total of 23 units, Watson said. But in light of the valley’s housing shortage, the block was reconfigured to include seven live-work units and four 10-unit condominium buildings rather than the traditional townhouse units, effectively doubling the grand total to 47 units.

Preliminary plat approval gives a developer the ability to build roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure on a lot or lots, whereas a final plat means the developer can actually sell the lots.

Councilwoman Heidi Husbands asked Watson on Monday if the developer could “spare some units at a certain AMI [area median income]” in Sweetwater’s current 137-unit expansion, which was approved by the P&Z in December.

“We’re looking at some options with these units at least being available to residents of Blaine County as opposed to secondary home buyers to help with housing stock,” Watson responded. “But [AMI] is not something that I personally can commit to tonight.

“Our development team is not opposed to having these conversations, but for the sake of time and trying to get units available we would like to keep moving forward with the plat agreement,” he continued.

Councilwoman Kaz Thea said her main concerns were providing solar rooftop connections and electric-vehicle charging stations, along with deed-restricted units.

“All the car manufacturers are going towards electric in the next four, five years. I’m concerned we don’t have the facilities for that,” she said.

Watson told Thea that the applicant team has already planned on using energy-efficient windows and building materials, but could look at installing electric-vehicle charging stations and solar panels on the condos “in the future.” Horowitz noted that the council could require electric-vehicle and solar infrastructure when the project returns for design review early next year.

“Those [requests] belong in design review. EV charging is low-hanging fruit,” Horowitz said.

Thea also said she was concerned that Hailey “only has a certain amount of land left for large-scale developments.”

“I don’t want to be 137 units down the road and not have our desires met,” she said.

Linnet noted that since Sweetwater’s planned-unit development agreement was approved over a decade ago, “the landscape and reality on the ground has changed significantly.”

“I know this is not the timeliest process you were hoping for,” Linnet told Watson. 

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