Homeowners file suit against Sun Valley
Group seeks review of
Sagewillow school permit
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
A group of Elkhorn homeowners has filed a
lawsuit against the city of Sun Valley in a bid to overturn the city’s approval
of a new elementary school proposed for the Sagewillow campus east of Elkhorn
Hailey-based attorney Ned Williamson on
Wednesday, April 16, filed a "petition for review" in Fifth District Court in
Hailey, essentially asking the court to set aside the decision by the city to
issue a conditional-use permit to The Community School to build a new school on
the approximately 30-acre site.
The document specifically asks the court
to "set aside the decision of the Sun Valley City Council and (Planning and
Zoning) Commission, in whole or in part, and/or remand for further proceedings
with instructions to (the city)."
Williamson filed the petition on behalf of
a group of homeowners that reside along Arrowleaf Road, which would be the only
access point to and from the new school campus. The group of petitioners
includes Doug and Meredith Carnahan, William and Marjorie Woodward, Steve and
Nancy Wasilewski, William and Mary Jane Elmore, and Oris and Bonnie Kirk.
Williamson said on Monday the petitioners’
primary objections to the approved project are that it would produce
unacceptable levels of traffic and noise along Arrowleaf Road.
"Their position is that there needs to be
an adequate set of conditions addressing traffic and noise," Williamson said.
The petition lists 10 points of legal
contention to the permit issued earlier this year, including one that alleges
the P&Z "erred by finding that the proposed school was a conditional use" for
the Sagewillow property.
The petition also alleges that the city’s
actions were "in excess of the statutory authority of the (P&Z) and City
Council," and were "arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion."
Rand Peebles, Sun Valley city attorney,
said he believes the city’s decisions were fair and should be upheld by the
During numerous public hearings on the
proposed new elementary school in 2002 and 2003, Sun Valley residents were
deeply divided on whether the location of the project was appropriate.
The P&Z approved the project in January
with a long, six-page set of operating conditions for the school and penalties
if the conditions are violated. A group of Elkhorn homeowners appealed the
decision to the Sun Valley City Council, which in March upheld the P&Z’s
decision by a 2-1 vote.
Peebles on Monday said the suit had not
yet been served to city officials. Williamson said the city would be served in
the coming days.
Once served, the city will be allowed 42
days to deliver records of the case to the court, after which the court will
likely consider written and oral arguments from the parties.
Peebles said it is likely the case will
not be resolved for several months. "We might not have a decision until
mid-September," he said.
Lori Labrum, project manager for The
Community School, said Tuesday that school officials had not yet reviewed the
petition and could not comment on whether the project might be delayed. She said
the school would like to break ground on the project this fall "if everything