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Current News & Issues: Wilderness


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The following article appeared in the Challis Messenger Online for July 23, 2004.


Hosac proposed land exchange with City of Stanley

By Anna Means

The Stanley City Council heard a pitch at their regular meeting July 14 to swap their land on the hill above town for some acreage in the Valley Creek bottoms.

Steve Hosac submitted a proposal to trade 24.18 acres owned by The Hosac Company, Inc. (THC) for 18.15 acres the city owns up on the hill by the city park, school, chapel and airport. He suggested this trade would give the city prime recreational development land while his company could accommodate the needs of the community.

The city’s property was part of a 40-acre parcel granted to Stanley by the BLM. The major string attached to the gift was a deed restriction that the property could only be used for recreation. The city park was built, but a remaining 18 acres have lay fallow for years. The only way that acreage can be developed is for the city to trade it for land of equal or greater recreational value.

Hosac suggested the land on the hill could be considered surplus property since it would cost too much to expand the park and would never be a tourist draw because it is out of sight, too far from the commercial district and not within easy walking distance of town.

Conversely, the Valley Creek land owned by THC is close to the community building and could easily be developed into a recreational area. Another benefit, he said, is that there are geothermal and water rights to some of the land.

If the exchange went through, THC would offer four hilltop acres for sale to the LDS Church. The church has been looking for a building site for years. Because the land isn’t presently on the tax rolls, the city wouldn’t be losing any ad valorem base. Plus, the area is zoned municipal and churches are an approved use in that category.

THC would also develop 20-25 residential units (minimum 20,000 square foot lots) that could expand the property rolls for the city. If a need could be demonstrated, THC would build one or more four-plex condominium units as affordable housing, either for sale or rent, for full time residents.

Any development, he said, would not interfere with the school, chapel or city park.

Hosac said the Valley Creek land could be turned into a family oriented recreation area that he believed was badly needed. He suggested it could be called Valley Creek Recreational Nature Area and have picnic areas, pedestrian paths, ponds (for fishing and wading), nature study areas and viewing platforms. Because there are geothermal rights, the city could also build a public hot water spa.

He envisioned paths from Mountain Village, the Community Building and the Elk Meadows property that might eventually be obtained from the Forest Service to accommodate seasonal housing, an RV park and All Season Events Center.

Hosac said if the trade goes through, the city would eventually have to relocate its buildings on the hill. But, before anything could be initiated, appraisals of both properties would have to be completed.

The council agreed to pursue appraisal of its property while also setting up time for public input.

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