A Forest Service building in downtown Hailey will be removed or demolished by next summer, after the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday approved a design-review application for a 26-space parking lot on South River Street.

Fapo Holdings Idaho applied to build the lot on 306-308 South River St., which will provide parking for the Village at Hailey Center, a mixed-use building at 314 South River St. One way or another, the 1936 Forest Service building—which currently houses the Wood River Sustainability Center—needs to make way by July 1, 2020.

P&Z Commissioner Sam Linnet suggested that the applicant not dedicate all spaces in the planned parking lot for Village at Hailey Center tenants and customers only, to ease parking restraints on River Street.

Fapo representative Matt Engel said that would be “problematic” because in his experience business owners who maintain parking lots and pay for snow removal do not favor others using the spaces for free.

“Creating this lot will help the parking situation on River Street anyway,” said Jeremy Lange, the property manager for Fapo.

Meanwhile, the Hailey City Council is in negotiations over a proposed amendment to a development agreement that could protect four other Fapo-owned Forest Service buildings from demolition on Main Street.

The council is seeking assurances that those buildings would not be demolished until the city, a nonprofit or another organization has time to move the buildings to another location.

A public hearing on the proposed amendment was continued to Nov. 6.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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