Sun Valley P&Z
rejects Sun Villas
By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer
The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning
Commission on Tuesday recommended denial of a proposed massive condominium
project in Elkhorn.
Elkhorn Resort LLC, based in New York
City, had applied for a preliminary subdivision plat and design review for Sun
Villas, a five-story, 63-foot-tall project on a 4.25-acre site on Village Way
uphill from the Elkhorn Hotel site. The project consists of four buildings
totaling about 100,000 square feet.
At the conclusion of its fourth hearing
before the P&Z, the project was turned down by a 3-to-2 vote, primarily on the
grounds that its scale was out of proportion to the surrounding neighborhood, a
criterion included under both subdivision and design review. Architect Michael
Doty presented plans showing a project scaled down from 111 to 105 units, and
with a roof profile more closely matching the slope. However, those changes
satisfied neither a majority of the commission nor the several neighbors and
their representatives who spoke at the public hearing.
Gene Abrams, the owner of a nearby
Sunburst condominium, told the commissioners that they had a duty to protect the
property values of surrounding landowners.
"This does the opposite of that," Abrams
Also at issue was whether the developer
needed to include some commercial space to build large structures in the
Commercial Core district. A draft ordinance caps building height at 44 feet
unless it includes commercial space or affordable housing, in which case the
limit is 62 feet. However, the existing ordinance allows a height of 64 feet.
City Attorney Rand Peebles told the
commissioners that an existing ordinance that appears to limit residential
density to 21 units per acre in the Commercial Core district, by reference to
another ordinance section, probably was misdrafted. He said minutes from the
1999 city council meeting at which the amendment was passed show no intention by
the council members to do that.
Commissioners Mark Pynn and Ken Herich
voted against the motion to recommend denial.
"Are we going to take away somebodyís
right to do something per the zoning ordinances that are already in place just
because we want to see something smaller?" Herich asked.
Pynn said he found it "refreshing" to see
high-density housing proposed for that site.
"This is where it should happen," he said.
The city council in December had enacted a
temporary moratorium on new projects in the Commercial Core zone pending
completion of the new amendments. However, the Sun Villas application was filed
before the moratorium was adopted. The moratorium expired April 19 but was
extended for another 120 days.
The P&Zís rejection of the proposed
subdivision for Sun Villas is only a recommendation that will go before the city
council. Its design review rejection is a final decision.