Though the Hailey City Council opted to continue the proposed Sunbeam subdivision’s planned-unit development and preliminary-plat hearings to early May, a number of new project details were announced during a council meeting Monday.
Slated for construction on an agricultural field between Myrtle Street and Quigley Drive, the 54-acre subdivision is expected to accommodate a wide variety of single-family homes and townhouses. The neighborhood will also feature a nearly 10-acre public park—on track to become the town’s largest—and a paved bike trail with connections to Curtis Park and Old Cutters subdivision.
In response to prior requests from the Planning and Zoning Commission, Ketchum-based project architect Ben Young said he had increased the density of the development and diversity of lot types.
“What that meant was dividing half-acre lots, moving cottage lots and distributing smaller lots throughout the property,” he said. “By offering a diverse array of lot sizes, we are also able to offer a diverse range of price points.”
Young’s architectural team also softened the curves of the subdivision’s projected roadways and added controlled intersections to reduce speed. Though initially opposed to adding sidewalks, Young said, he was able to meet popular demand by adding three major sidewalk loops within the development.
Unlike typical subdivisions with fragmented green spaces, Young said, the Sunbeam subdivision will provide a centralized point of recreation for residents via its park, the eastern half of which will be built during the project’s first phase. His new park concept is based around preservation and water conservation, he said, incorporating native grasses and encouraging “natural play” with large boulders and logs.
“The park will be less water-intensive with more wildflowers as opposed to bluegrass and turf everywhere,” he said. “We still have a need for smaller practice fields for kids, but let’s have some fun with this and put in native, edible plants—serviceberry, chokecherry. I’d like this to be a nod to the past with a strong ‘meadow’ visual.”
Young also shared updated renderings of the subdivision’s five cottage-style lots, four of which have been placed around the perimeter of the park.
“The idea is to have these homes facing one another, with green space or a garden in the middle,” he said.
Young said one common complaint has been that most of the subdivision’s planned 145 units will sit on lots that are too narrow. But the lots—which range in size from 8,000 to 32,000 square feet—have been “sliced this way” to promote residents’ well-being, he said.
“This is by design. The [narrow lot shape] provides for front-facing porches and private backyards, and garages that can be set back so cars are kept out of the roadway,” he said. “There are no alleys. We’re trying to encourage pedestrians here, not cars.”
Responding to council President Kaz Thea’s concerns about larger lots having more turf—and thus using more water—both Young and project representative Samantha Stahlnecker of Galena Engineering said water conservation has been a priority.
“A lot of this development has been planned with National Green Building Standard certification in mind,” Young said.
Stahlnecker said Young’s team has gone “above and beyond” city standards in terms of reducing allowable turf per lot.
“We will be implementing a sliding scale—smaller lots would have a maximum of 40 percent turf, and larger lots, such as those between 12 and 14 thousand square feet, would have a maximum of 30 percent [turf],” she said.
Councilman Sam Linnet asked Young and Stahlnecker about the possibility of adding more lots to the project.
“The city is in dire need of modest-sized lots and homes, and I want to make sure we maximize that need,” Linnet said.
Young responded that he’d like the architectural layout to be approved as is.
“While some lots could be cut to obtain more density, I don’t know if that gymnastics, so to speak, is worth it,” he said. “There is still plenty of vacant land downtown for that objective. That’s really the place.”
Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz said traffic concerns will be addressed at the project’s next hearing on May 5. For information on how to attend the virtual meeting, visit haileycityhall.org.