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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 24 - 30, 2002

  News

Crown Ranch passes SV council review

Visual impact of development mitigated


By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley City Council approved the preliminary plat of Crown Ranch Subdivision Phase IV, but not until the developers agreed to a couple of concessions.

The developers, Lane and Kristin Monroe, agreed to remove one of the seven units and draw two of the remaining units back from a hillside.

The council held a public hearing on the application on April 17 after the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission forwarded the plat to the council with its approval on March 12.

The developers have faced public criticism of their project ever since they presented their plans to the P&Z at the end of May 2001.

At that time, nearby residents in Elkhorn complained that the units would be "painfully" visible against the skyline.

The already developed Crown Ranch phases I through III overlook residents on Morning Star Road and its intersection with Elkhorn Road.

Sunpointe residents objected to the proposed fourth phase because it would obscure their view of southern ridgelines and mountain peaks.

At the meeting Wednesday, Sunpointe resident Lynn Bockemohle told the council that she spoke for half of her neighbors.

"Our complaint is building on the ridgelines. I have seen the story poles across our gorgeous view. When are you going to stop people from building on ridgelines?" she asked.

Story poles are poles developers put up to show city officials the heights of the buildings they are proposing.

Peggy Tierney, president of the Sunpointe Homeowners Association, told council members that she opposed developments "obliterating the hillsides."

Soon, she said, "youíll see nothing, and development will shadow existing buildings."

As part of the meeting Wednesday, the council paid a visit to the site to view the story poles and locations of the proposed townhomes.

When everyone returned to the council chambers to continue discussions and hear public comment, it was Councilwoman Ann Agnew who brought up the idea of pulling two units back from the ridgeline.

"These two units are big structures and youíve put them in the most sensitive part of the site," she said.

She suggested that a unit be removed and the two townhomes most visible from the roads below be pulled back from the hillside.

She said the problem with the development was that it was "this many, this large, and this visible a site."

Mayor Dave Wilson said that the units for phase IV were larger than those in phases I through III and therefore "loomed larger" on the hillside, especially the two out on a point of the hillside that Agnew indicated.

"Those two donít appear sensitive to the site and to the community," he said.

Evan Robertson, an attorney for the developers, reminded the council that the proposed subdivision did not violate the zoning ordinance and that the property was zoned for high-density multi-family dwellings.

In fact, he said, the density and building heights were lower than what was allowed by the ordinance.

He then told the council that his clients wanted "a vote, up or down, on what you see before you."

Wilson responded, "You donít want an amended site, but an up or down vote?"

"Up or down," Robertson said.

Councilman Lud Renick said he thought "thatís a brutal way to go."

"I would like to approve it with modifications, and let the chips fall where they may," he said.

The "up or down" vote was averted after a short conference between Robertson and the Monroes, and the application was tabled until Friday, April 19.

The revised application of six townhomes, with the two most visible buildings pulled back from the hillside, was approved that day.

 


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.