Article written by Idaho Mountain Express
Project still needs Hailey council approval
A proposal from ARCH Community Housing Trust to build a 60-unit, three-story affordable housing complex in downtown Hailey received a go-ahead from the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission on April 6.
The approximately 72,500-square-foot development at 706 S. Main St.—just north of the Campion Ice House—consists of a senior apartment building and a family apartment building. Nearly half the senior-specific units will accommodate residents at or below 60 percent of area median income, according to ARCH Community Housing Trust Executive Director Michelle Griffith.
On the table for review last Monday were the project’s planned-unit development and design review applications, both of which are now scheduled to go before the City Council on May 11.
If approved by the council, the Blaine Manor Senior and Family Community will begin construction this summer, Hailey Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz said.
Griffith told the Express in an interview Tuesday that about $15 million from a variety of sources, including the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, is in place.
“That includes low-income tax credits, 4 percent bonds, Affordable Housing Program money and other federally incentivized funding sources,” she said. “There are quite a few layers of funding involved.”
The P&Z approvals Monday came after a lengthy discussion on the fate of four large spruce trees on the property.
At a previous P&Z hearing last week, the Hailey Tree Committee said that the four “legacy” Colorado spruce trees—located at the north end of the site—had a collective value of over $80,000 and should be retained.
“These trees … are very large, tall, healthy, add value to the personality and feel of Hailey and show no reason for removal,” the Tree Committee stated in a letter to the city.
But if excavation goes ahead as planned, according to arborist Carl Hjelm, the spruce trees would suffer extensive root damage and put residents and passersby at risk. Thus, either the Senior Building would need to be shifted or the trees would need to be removed.
“It wouldn’t be prudent or safe for these trees to continue existing in their locations,” Hjelm said during Monday’s meeting.
Griffith stressed that moving the senior building would directly eliminate or compromise outdoor amenities, including the senior patio, which were a condition of funding. Due to the timeframe of the project and the need for affordable housing in the community, she said, a redesign would be impossible.
“Making a change of that magnitude would jeopardize the project,” she said on Monday.
All commissioners agreed by the end of the hearing that replacement trees—such as blue spruces or subalpine firs—could act as a windscreen and provide an aesthetic benefit.
“The [replacement] conifers could have their own legacy in a handful of years,” Commissioner Dustin Stone said.
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