HAYDEN — Members of the Hayden Planning Commission delayed a vote Tuesday night on a series of amendments that are a final step to breaking ground for the 600-acre Hayden Canyon subdivision.
In front of a crowd of about 120 people at Atlas Elementary School, many of whom were opposed to the development on the northern boundary of Hayden along Lancaster Road and Government Way, commissioners heard testimony from representatives of Hayden Canyon and its K-8 charter school, which would start the school year on the property using temporary buildings.
The most recent plans, school board president Joshua Dahlstrom said, is for temporary buildings to be placed this summer on the land donated for the purpose of a school and to have doors open this fall.
The school already has 269 students enrolled and 112 are on a waiting list.
“We’re getting more almost daily,” Dahlstrom said.
But the charter school and the Lakeland Joint School District are at odds because Lakeland thinks the land at Hayden Canyon should be reserved for a public school.
Brian Wallace, Lakeland chief financial officer, said the district believes that under an old agreement the acreage assigned to the charter school was supposed to be used by the Lakeland district for a magnet school. In addition, Wallace said, the district, which must approve the charter school because it lies within the boundaries of the Lakeland district, is opposed to having the charter school operate on land it doesn’t own.
The land for the Hayden Canyon school would be owned by the Institute for Community, a faith-based land company that invests in schools.
“Philosophically, ownership is better than leasing,” Wallace said. “The charter school would be in a better place if it owns the land than if it leases the land.”
Several people spoke for and against the amendments under consideration by the board that included agreements for lot lines, road widening and infrastructure within Hayden Canyon.
Neighbors were concerned with the traffic an 1,800 residential unit subdivision would bring.
Kenny Winston, who lived in California for 49 years before moving to Idaho, said he walks daily on Strahorn Road, which borders Hayden Creek on the east. The development and the motorists it will bring, he said, will jeopardize his safety.
“People, cars, congestion,” he said. “This is going to end up a suburb of California.”
Tracy Tipps, who said she and her husband moved next door to Hayden Creek a few years ago without knowing about the development, will likely have to move if Hayden Canyon is built as planned.
“There was no disclosure to us that Hayden Canyon was literally on our back door,” Tipps said. “It’s not warranted.”
Commissioners chose not to deliberate after the Tuesday night meeting that lasted almost four hours, and delayed a vote until June 5. That meeting will be at Hayden City Hall when commissioners decide whether or not to approve the amendments, which could include giving the charter school a green light to set up a temporary campus.
That is what Tamara Sines-Kermelis is hoping for.
The mother of two said it’s refreshing to see a development that includes a school. It's even better that the Hayden Canyon charter school will have more than 200 acres of open space for school lessons.
“I’d really like to see this go forward,” Sines-Kermelis said.