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300 Main planned unit development (PUD) final plat review

300 Main Planned Unit Development (PUD) Final Plat Review

The application of interest to VARD at this meeting was the final plat review for a project named 300 Main.  300 Main is a mixed-use PUD proposed for approximately 7 acres south of Broulim's, along Highway 33.  The developer has proposed a pedestrian-oriented design with extensive landscaping and a mixture of retail, office space and condominiums.  Mark Rockefeller, managing partner for TC Horizon LLC, developer of the project, presented the application.

The project had been recommended for approval by the city P&Z and the developer had reworked the timeline and phasing of the project at their request.  In addition, the developer had met with the city design review committee and had come up with mitigation for the eight large, mature golden willows that had been on the property but were removed prior to the filing of the development application.  The mitigation will consist of planting 72 4-inch caliper trees on the property.  VARD is very pleased to see this mitigation and that it will be part of the final plat.

The project is along Highway 33 but what improvements can and should be made by the developer along the highway right-of-way were uncertain at the time of the hearing because Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) hasn’t yet put together a plan for the improvements to Main Street/Highway 33.  The concept designing for the improvements will begin this month and construction is slated to begin in 2011.

As part of the applicant’s presentation, Mr. Rockefeller said that the project has been proposed in four phases and that he had hoped that all four phases would be complete within two years.  However he stated that the real estate market is undergoing “an adjustment” and that the phases would be completed as market conditions dictate.  One issue that Mr. Rockefeller raised very strongly was the reluctance of Broulim’s to grant an easement for connectivity between the two pieces of property.  Mr. Rockefeller also expressed a desire for Broulim’s to help pay for the cost of dealing with runoff from both pieces of property by running it through the 300 Main property. Currently, the runoff from the Broulim’s parking lot is collected right next to the 300 Main property line.  The city council said they would write Broulim’s a letter encouraging them to consider the connection between the two developments.   

The city council passed the final plat unanimously on the following conditions:

          an approval of final improvements by the public works department

          the final plat will show three additional easements – one to the north (going towards Broulim’s) and three to the West (to connect to a future road).

          the developer will work in conjunction with the city planning committee for Main Street improvements, which works with Idaho Transportation Department. 

VARD is pleased to see the high quality of this mixed-use development at this downtown location.  300 Main, in conjunction with the Colter Building under construction on Main Street and new business development on Little Avenue, bodes well for a Driggs that is lively, economically-vibrant and attractive to pedestrians.  However, the history of this piece of property should not be forgotten and VARD maintains that this project could have been even better if the historical home and mature trees had been preserved and incorporated into the design rather than destroyed.  They were a visual landmark beloved by many within the community and considered to be the gateway to the town.  VARD hopes that in the future developers will recognize the importance of incorporating such sites of community importance into new development.  We believe that this would only increase public support for a project and add to its appeal and sense of place.   

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