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For the week of  October 31 - November 6, 2001


Development concerns may decide Sun Valley election

Express Staff Writer

Anyone who has sat through meetings of the Sun Valley City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission in the last year might guess that the city’s residents like the way their city looks, except for a couple of subdivisions.

Residents have packed meetings to object to the development of the Bluff Parcel and Triumph Springs, and the further development of the Crown Ranch Subdivision.

They complained these projects would ruin the appearance of Sun Valley by eating up open space and allowing development to crawl up hillsides and rest on ridges.

Whether the issues of open space and hillside development will be the deciding factor for voters on Nov. 6, or some other factor like incumbency and experience, is unknown.

Two council seats are up for election this year.

Susan Bailey is running against Kevin Laird, the incumbent, for Council Seat 3.

Ann Agnew is challenging Linda O’Shea, the incumbent, for Council Seat 4.

A summary of what the candidates have said about hillside development and open space follows:

Bailey says the city needs a strong hillside ordinance that would assure "steep hillsides remain untouched."

As for open space, she thinks "the city must be certain the Sun Valley Company master development plan includes some empty land that is approved along with new buildings because the majority of open space belongs to the resort."

Laird has not said if he is in favor of a hillside ordinance.

On the issue of open space, he thinks "the key to retaining open space" is for the city and the public to work with the Sun Valley Co. as it develops its master plan.

He characterizes Sun Valley Co. as "the last major land owner."

Agnew favors controlling hillside development. "A hillside ordinance is my proposed first step to controlling hillside development and will keep projects such as Triumph Springs from ever being considered," she said.

She says that since most open space in Sun Valley is zoned Outdoor Recreational, any development of it would require a Conditional Use Permit or a change in zoning.

She said CUPs and zone changes "puts control of development in the hands of the P&Z Commission and the City Council. I am committed to preserving our hillsides and open space."

O’Shea says she will immediately create a hillside ordinance "that underwrites and codifies the vision and goals of the comprehensive plan."

"I will actively seek and encourage development plans that preserve open space and protect hillside views and that maximize use of existing zoning densities."

Sun Valley City Hall will be open for the election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The council chambers will be the polling place.

Voters may register on Election Day, but they must provide proof of residency and a photo I.D.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.