A year has gone by already, and even though it passed as discouragingly quickly as they all do, it was a full one for the city of Hailey.

The city opened its doors to major growth in 2019 while advancing regulations to shape that growth for safety and sustainability. For city staff it was all about taking care of business.

Despite a record for monthly snowfall in February, the city dodged a bullet and had only minor spring flooding in Della View, thanks to a slow spring warmup and ditch and culvert installations completed by the Public Works Department.

Hate graffiti was transformed by artist-activists above the city on Carbonate Mountain early in the year. About a mile farther down Croy Canyon, Mountain Humane opened its new multi-million-dollar, 30,000-square-foot animal shelter. The nonprofit’s Barkin’ thrift store opened in a remodeled historic Old Rialto building on Main Street across from City Hall.

LeAnn Gelskey was named Idaho Librarian of the Year for 2019, an honor that coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Hailey Library.

Design plans to rebuild a four-block section of River Street for $4 million were finalized, but by year’s end, grant funding for the project had not materialized, leaving it in financial limbo.

Quigley Farm got approval for the first wetlands wastewater system in Idaho and broke ground on streets in what is now east Hailey.

Partners in another annexation/development at the Colorado Gulch Preserve, Jeff Pfaeffle and Preston Zeigler, entered into a legal dispute that was headed for a jury trial over charges of fraud.

Building permit fees tallied by the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2019 fell below the city’s expectations for the second year in a row, causing an adjustment to the fiscal 2020 budget.

Hailey unveiled 20 plaques on historic buildings, and bought some time, until July, in response to a move by Fapo Holdings to demolish historic Forest Service Park buildings.

The Advocates nonprofit organization opened a new 18-unit housing project to shelter clients during times of need. A planned home for the intellectually disabled at Quigley Farm passed a zoning hurdle.

The affordable housing shortage led city leaders to adopt looser standards for unit density restrictions downtown, but they shot down a multifamily rezone option in Airport West proposed by Rick Ryerson, and had mixed reactions to a proposed 42-unit rental apartment complex on River Street.

A “micro-housing” overlay district enacted more than two years ago has yet to yield a free-market development, but ARCH Community Housing Trust got preliminary approval for a 10-unit workforce housing project in Woodside and grant funding to move forward with a senior housing project at the old Blaine Manor site.

Though they have been blamed for removing long-term rentals from the housing market, tax receipts for short-term rentals were way up.

In China Gardens, a Carbonate View 16-unit housing project was granted final approval after a path was built connecting it with Sherwood Forest.

Housing in south Hailey is set to become more plentiful and attractive. A major renovation planned by Dominium Inc. was nearing completion at the 192-unit Balmoral Apartments by year’s end, and Sweetwater Community was granted approval by the P&Z for 116 townhomes and condominiums that could be built in the next two years.

A Hailey Town Square site was selected at the corner of First Avenue and East Croy Street, but no funding was allocated.

Mayor Fritz Haemmerle launched a successful effort to prohibit hands-on cell phone use while cycling. The city attorney initiated new legal procedures related to reports of “dangerous animals,” and took charge of an effort to prohibit unused automobiles and trailers on city streets.

For the first time in several years, the city budget will include efforts to fight climate change, after the grassroots Hailey Climate Action Coalition brought its concerns to City Hall.

Former Mountain Express reporter Michael Ames wrote a book about Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl titled “American Cipher,” and a military court overruled an appeal to dismiss Bergdahl’s convictions.

Hailey voters passed a 2 percent franchise-fee increase that will help fund city infrastructure costs.

The city approved a joint fire command structure with Wood River Fire & Rescue that could lead to cost efficiencies, but by year’s end the city and county were still working on details.

Hailey leaders entered into negotiations with the city of Bellevue over an area-of-city-impact dispute. Both towns want more control than the other accepts in a portion of the Eccles Ranch on the east side of state Highway 75, which is proposed for annexation into Bellevue.

A 74-room Marriott hotel broke ground on Main Street. The Hailey Urban Renewal Agency commissioners agreed to reimburse the developers for up to $369,623 of expected costs to build required sidewalks, curbs, utility lines and other improvements on city rights of way around the hotel property.

In November, voters called for change, electing young challengers Sam Linnet, 30, and Juan Martinez, 27, to the City Council. They will replace incumbents more than twice their ages. Veteran City Councilwoman Martha Burke ran unopposed for the mayor’s seat.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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