A two-story, three-building development to be known as River Street Apartments moved into its design-review phase Monday night after the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission traded thoughts on its design concept during a pre-application design review hearing.
If built, the apartment complex would sit on an undeveloped lot next to the forthcoming Silver River Residences on north River Street. Its three buildings would house 12 units total—four four-bedroom wheelchair-accessible units, four two-bedroom accessible units and four four-bedroom, non-wheelchair-accessible units, preliminary renderings show.
While commissioners complimented the project’s approach, which uses repurposed shipping containers, they voiced concerns over color, parking spots and room size on Monday.
Commissioners Janet Fugate and Richard Pogue said the color scheme was too “monolithic” and similar to Silver River’s natural beige-and-rust tones.
“Landscaping can cover a lot of sins, but you have a rather limited palette,” Pogue told project architect Byron Folwell. “I would hope you’d choose some lighter colors.”
“In the winter when everything is more drab you’re not going to get color from landscaping. This is too monotone,” she said.
More concerning to Fugate and Commissioners Owen Scanlon and Dustin Stone were the units’ proposed 7.5-foot-wide bedrooms.
“You can barely put a bed in there. You’d have to walk sideways, and these are [ADA] accessible?” Scanlon asked. “What’s someone in a wheelchair supposed to do, crawl up on the end of the bed? I can’t see anyone living there.”
To create more livable spaces, Scanlon suggested reducing the number of units and opening up more land for a potential play area. Stone said the small bedrooms spoke to the constraints of the 0.33-acre site.
“I do think that small rooms are the answer to building up housing on River Street, but I would be suspicious of [their] ADA compliance,” he said.
According to Folwell, the development would have picnic tables, drought-tolerant landscaping and 12 covered parking spots within the property line, as well as two additional guest spots on River Street. Developer Leonard McIntosh would also build in several parking spaces for the public to use along River Street, Folwell said.
Pogue emphasized that the four-bedroom units would probably have more than one driver, and 12 parking spaces would not be enough.
“My concern is that we’re going to create a parking lot. Every one of these rooms may have a vehicle associated with it, which could be upwards of 35 vehicles—a headache when the street needs to be [plowed],” he said.
Stone asked Folwell how the buildings’ metal awnings would retain snow.
“I’d be surprised if you made it through spring without snow sliding and sloughing off straight into stairwells,” he said.
Folwell responded that the proposed awnings have grooves and low-grade slopes.
“They’re designed to retain snow and ice until it drains into the gutter,” he said.
After a round of constructive feedback, each commissioner praised the design team for using Boise-based company indieDwell’s repurposed shipping containers.
“The idea of using shipping containers and not having to generate more building materials out of our forests is highly novel and appropriate,” Pogue said.
Commissioner Dan Smith added that it was encouraging to see Hailey’s downtown residential overlay district being used as he’d hoped.
“It’s great to see people willing to develop additional housing that’s on the more affordable side of the spectrum,” he said.
River Street Apartments will go before the P&Z again on Sept. 21 for a design review hearing.