The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday tabled until further notice a proposed rezone development agreement that would bring four lots on River Street and Walnut Street totaling 25,200 square feet of property from the Limited Business zone to the Business zone.
The lots are currently in the Downtown Residential Overlay District and are targeted for multi-family apartment development by West Crescent Advisors LLC in a 40-foot-tall residential building.
The development group’s previous plan to build a 42-unit housing project on the site was scrutinized by the P&Z Commission in January, faced public opposition for its size, and was subsequently withdrawn after the commission called for west-elevation renderings of the project.
Architect Jay Cone again represented West Crescent at the Tuesday meeting. In addition, Cone is also requesting that two contiguous lots totaling 5,369 square feet be rezoned from the General Residential to Business zone, and that portions of these lots be added to the Downtown Residential Overlay and Townsite Overlay District, to make the development feasible.
Cone said the setbacks and height restrictions are preventing his client from developing her property “in the way it was intended by the DRO.”
Cone, a former P&Z commissioner, initially advised the city about two years ago on the creation of the Downtown Overlay District to increase housing density development opportunities by allowing up to 50 housing units per building, as small as 300 square feet each, in an area that encompasses a two-and-a-half- to three-and-a-half-block-wide swath of the central downtown core.
Public opposition Tuesday included a comment from China Gardens resident Tom Lantry.
“This would push the Downtown Residential Overlay District into my backyard. This is not something we can live with,” Lantry said.
“Changing it from Limited Business to Business zoning is critical, but it’s tall,” said Commissioner Owen Scanlon. “I wouldn’t want it in my backyard, either.”
Cone stressed that unit numbers and visual-impact issues could be addressed during a separate design-review hearing.
The P&Z Commission tabled the rezone request until Cone could supply a rendering inside a photograph of the proposed development from Willow Street in China Gardens, a steep 7-foot drop from River Street.
“At issue is the western boundary,” said P&Z Commissioner Sam Linnet, who recommended that it be addressed in a development agreement.
The commission also sought direction from staff and the city attorney on possible setback waivers, permitted and conditional uses, and the legality of implementing zoning changes under the development agreement to facilitate the project.