19-09-25 Hailey ACI

The city of Hailey’s proposed area of city impact map extends farther south than Bellevue leaders are comfortable with. 

An apparent difference in planning goals for areas between their two cities has led elected leaders from Hailey and Bellevue to seek resolution from Blaine County.

At stake are areas of city impact maps and ordinances that could lay out development goals for a 227-acre area on the Eccles Flying Hat Ranch on the east side of Highway 75, south of Hailey and north of Bellevue.

ACI agreements can give city governments some say in how surrounding lands outside their jurisdiction are developed. They are required by state law to be in place before an annexation occurs.

What could get annexed and built on the Eccles’ farmland between Hailey and Bellevue has been a point of contention since 2014 when three Bellevue City Council candidates won election on campaigns that called for a slowdown in the city’s process of an annexation that would have brought 227 acres of the Eccles family’s Flying Hat Ranch.

The proposed development, which was approved by the Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission and is still on the table, would include 91 acres of business-zoned land (and possibly big-box retail stores) to a mile-long stretch of state Highway 75 between Bellevue and Hailey.

A proposed ACI map presented by the Hailey City Council on Monday includes open space, agricultural or park space along the highway, with light industrial, commercial and residential development elsewhere.

Hailey leaders have long called for a “buffer zone” of open space also between the two cities and have expressed concern about airport runway safety areas that they say would restrict Bellevue’s development plans further than that city proposes

Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said Monday that the original Eccles annexation proposal was “monstrous” and that he met with Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns two weeks ago to try to work out an agreement on ACI plans and potential development goals for the area and received “virtually no response.”

Burns wrote a letter to the Blaine County commissioners on Sept. 18 that states that Bellevue, Hailey and Blaine County have been negotiating the boundaries for six to eight months and that “these negotiations have reached an impasse and further negotiations would be fruitless.”

“Because overlapping ACI’s are very likely, the city [Bellevue] would like some time on [a county] agenda to discuss how to go about the process in a way that is fair and cost-effective to all parties,” Burns said.

Burns said in an interview that Hailey’s proposed ACI map is unfair because it would provide Hailey with 75 acres of green space and 65 acres of development potential, while leaving Bellevue only 55 acres to develop in a way that it deems appropriate.

Hailey Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz said in an interview that about 26 acres of Hailey’s proposed area of city impact overlaps with Bellevue’s ACI map.

Burns included no zoning proposals within Bellevue’s map, which was provided to the Hailey City Council on Monday.

“This area is the future of both towns because we are land-constrained,” he said in the interview. “But we feel it is not appropriate to zone the area in an ACI map, but later during an annexation agreement.”

The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission will discuss the city’s proposed area of city impact draft ordinance and map during a public hearing on Oct. 22.

In other Hailey news:

The City Council amended the city’s zoning ordinance to include personal services, including cosmetology, as a conditional use in the SCI – Sales and Office zone.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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