Sun Valley mandates affordable housing
Council adopts changes
to commercial zoning
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
In a bold legislative move, Sun Valley
City Council members Thursday, Aug. 14, formally adopted a sweeping set of
changes to the city zoning code, one of which will mandate the construction of
affordable housing as a part of some new developments.
With only a handful of residents looking
on, the panel voted 4-0 to approve a new city ordinance amending the regulations
that govern the city’s Commercial Center zoning district.
In broad terms, the amendments will
require that affordable housing and commercial space be developed as part of new
projects in the city’s two commercial-zoned village centers. The CC district
comprises approximately 85 acres of land in Sun Valley Village and central
The changes approved by the council will
require that a minimum of 5 percent of the gross floor area of new hotel and
residential projects in the district be developed as deed-restricted community
housing—affordable housing units that would have to be approved by the city.
As an alternative, the new regulations
provide for developers to build 4 percent of the total floor area of the project
as on-site community housing and 2 percent as off-site community housing.
The amendments also require that
developments in the district must dedicate a minimum of 3 percent of the gross
floor area of each project—except for parking structures—to commercial space for
Addressing concerns that new commercial
space in Elkhorn Village might go unused, Sun Valley Fire Chief Jeff Carnes—who
once owned a business in Elkhorn—said he believes the village can become a
viable commercial center. "If you have a good product at a good price, you’re
going to have customers," he told the council.
In addition, the new ordinance provides
density bonuses to developers who build 15 percent of the project floor area as
community housing. An additional density bonus is provided for the construction
of so-called compact dwelling units—units comprising 1,200 square feet or less
of interior living space.
An existing 64-foot height limit for
buildings in the CC district was not altered by the city.
The city’s review of the CC zoning
district was initiated last year. Council members last December enabled a
120-day moratorium on new applications for development projects in Elkhorn
Village and Sun Valley Village.
The moratorium proposal was put forth by
city staff in response to a potential surge in development applications for
CC-zoned lands that propose only residential uses—rather than the intended mix
of residential and commercial uses.
A second 120-day moratorium was passed in
April and expired on Saturday, Aug. 16, just two days after the new ordinance
The proceedings to develop the proposed
amendments were conducted with an abundance of comments from representatives of
development partnership CG-Elkhorn, which is preparing a plan to redevelop 11
acres of land that once included Elkhorn Resort. The closure of the moratorium
has opened the door for CG-Elkhorn to submit an application to redevelop the
Representatives from Sun Valley Co., which
owns the majority of the land in the CC zoning district, did not comment
publicly during numerous meetings on the proposed amendments.
Sun Valley Co. general manager Wally
Huffman announced last Wednesday that the company in September will present a
50-year master plan of its property holdings in Sun Valley and Ketchum. Huffman
has said the plan will likely include a new hotel in Sun Valley Village.