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Hayden annexes 54 acres for R-1 development

Staff Writer | August 13, 2020 1:05 AM

Hayden grew by 54 acres Tuesday night after its City Council approved a proposal to annex three parcels of land into its city limits.

The Marks Annexation project plans on adding 62 housing units along the newly-annexed land off Lancaster Road, just east of Government Way. The City Council designated the once-agricultural land as R-1, which allows no more than two dwellings per acre, setting the stage for development across the rolling greens south of Lancaster.

The property was once controlled by Marks Living Trust, whose representatives first approached the city in May of 2019 about the possibility of an annexation. The land was since transferred over to developers to build 62 residential units on the Marks property in three separate parcels, along with 10 units from another development possibly occupying part of the site, as well.

Hayden council members debated the finer details of the project’s impact on the community, including whether or not the city’s Parks Department could handle the additional 5 acres of parkland that would come with the project, a 10-percent requirement mandated by city code. Because of its topography, that 5 acres will likely encompass areas around the newly-annexed land as part of a larger outdoor network that could include paved pathways and trails that connect with the neighboring Stonecreek subdivision.

Ownership will also cut the city of Hayden a check for just under $30,000 to offset the development’s impact on traffic on the bordering roads. Because 10 of the Stonecreek properties will gain their access through the Marks Annexation land, those additional units were considered in the impact of the project.

Driveways won’t be the only amenities the two projects will share. The Marks Annexation might require an easement from Stonecreek for sewer hookups, a catch that wasn’t lost on council.

“That (Stonecreek) property is currently in the city of Hayden,” Councilman Matt Roetter said. “What I’ve read is, if that property is not developed, an easement would have to be obtained. I don’t want to annex a property that can’t be serviced with sewer.”

But Councilman Roger Saterfiel pointed out that the burden was not Hayden’s responsibility to take.

“What’s the downside to the city if we annex the property, and the developer cannot develop?” he asked. “He’s kind of taking a risk here. It’s his risk.”

Ultimately, the loudest concern was raised over the broader issue of growth, and whether or not the project would pay for the services the new residents would require. The argument of developers and homebuyers paying the lion’s share of the cost of infrastructure was one Hayden resident Mary Casey argued for in her statement to council.

“Unfortunately,” Casey wrote in opposition, “our slice of paradise has been discovered and is now growing into a metropolis. New developments are frustrating, but growth can’t be stopped. I am so sick and tired of developers coming in and not paying 100 percent for infrastructure. Traffic is going to be terrible at the intersection of Government Way and Lancaster. I am opposed to this new development because of the additional tax burden that will be placed on us because our laws are so dumb that developers don’t have to pay for additional infrastructures.”

The cost of growth was an issue Councilman Dick Panabaker acknowledged, saying that discouraging people from moving to Hayden is an understandable impulse, but that it’s wrong to punish newcomers for wanting to join the community, though he added that he sees the impact growth is having on the area.

“The truth is,” Panabaker admitted, “if I had to buy a house here today, I couldn’t afford to buy a house here. My grandkids couldn’t afford to buy a house here.”

The annexation passed unanimously.