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A newly amended area-of-city-impact map will be reviewed by the Hailey City Council prior to negotiations with the city of Bellevue.

The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission approved a draft expansion of the city’s proposed area-of-city-impact map by hundreds of acres Monday, including additional county lands to the south, west and north.

The map and associated text amendments are being updated as Hailey enters negotiations with the city of Bellevue over overlapping area-of-city-impact boundaries between the two cities.

The maps and ordinances allow cities to have more input on the management of county land than they’d otherwise get. By establishing an area of city impact, they can identify parcels of county land where development would most affect the city, and can target adjacent areas for possible annexation.

The P&Z Commission approved inclusion of hundreds of county acres south of the airport, including proposed open space on the west side of state Highway 75 and a majority of lands on the east side of the highway between Hailey and Bellevue.

At the instruction of the commission, landscape architect Chase Gouley adjusted some proposed zoning configurations between the two cities during Monday’s workshop, including changes to proposed light-industrial, medium-density residential and recreation or open-space zones. He also removed a sizable school zone previously proposed south of the city on the Eccles family’s Flying Hat Ranch in the unincorporated county.

Gouley suggested planning for a winding bike path through future developments between the two cities, with a street crossing state Highway 75 to connect with future developments in Bellevue at Chantrelle subdivision or farther north.

“Ideally, this should happen with Hailey and Bellevue at the same table,” Gouley said.

A portion of Flying Hat Ranch is disputed territory, included in draft maps by both Hailey and Bellevue. Bellevue is responding to an application for annexation by the Eccles family that would bring much of the open space between the two cities on the east side of the highway into Bellevue.

Last week, Bellevue officials began developing the city’s own map through a separate process, which could lead to negotiation overseen by Blaine County.

“The county plays the role of mediator,” said Blaine County Land Use Department Deputy Administrator Kathy Grotto, who attended the meeting.

The P&Z also approved inclusion of hundreds of acres in Croy Canyon into the area-of-city-impact map, as well as areas reaching to a ridgeline west of town above the Big Wood River.

An open space south of the airport on the west side of the highway was proposed to be kept largely undeveloped for a preserve and campground.

“One in three visitors to the Hailey Visitor Center asks about camping,” said Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz.

In addition to the draft boundaries, the P&Z approved text amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan associated with the area of city impact, including traffic data on state Highway 75 through Hailey (14,000 autos per day) and airport traffic (74 take-offs and landings daily).

A revised map will be presented at a continued P&Z public hearing on Dec. 16.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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