‘Road to nowhere’ denied
Sun Valley rejects plan for Triumph
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Another chapter in the long saga of
Triumph Springs was logged last week, when Sun Valley City Council members
rejected a controversial request to build a road into the hillside property.
The decision was rendered Thursday, July
15, after an attorney for developer Lane Ranch Partnership appealed to the
council to permit a private access road to its Outdoor-Recreation zoned land on
the southwest side of Dollar Mountain.
The proceedings were highlighted by a set
of succinct comments from council members declaring their firm opposition to the
proposed road. Council President Ann Agnew said she would not support a plan to
build the road without first knowing what purpose it would serve.
"To me, this is a road to nowhere," Agnew
She added: "There is access to this
property. It’s called Elkhorn Road."
Councilman Blair Boand said the road would
almost certainly require large degrees of cutting into hillsides that are
protected by the city’s so-called "Hillside Ordinance."
Lane Ranch attorney Gary Slette argued
that the landowners have the right to access to their property without proposing
a specific land-use application.
"Is the city telling us we are not allowed
to have vehicular access to the property for permitted uses?" he asked.
The debate over the use of the 166-acre
Triumph Springs property has endured for some three years, starting with a 2001
application by Lane Ranch Partnership to rezone a portion of the site.
The 2001 application was made to
accommodate the development of a new Triumph Springs subdivision, which would
include seven new residential lots. It included a proposal to build an access
road into the area.
After the city denied the application,
attorneys for Lane Ranch in January 2002 filed an application to build a road
that was strikingly similar to the first road proposed.
City planners eventually deemed the Lane
Ranch road application deficient.
Meanwhile, the developers filed a lawsuit
against the city alleging the city’s decision to deny the proposed subdivision
was an "unlawful taking." The suit demanded compensation of more than $10
Six of seven counts listed in the lawsuit
were essentially dismissed last year by the Idaho 5th District Court, in Hailey.
However, because one count was not dismissed the case was not absolutely
In October 2003, attorneys for Lane Ranch
Partnership renewed their road request.
Evan Robertson, an attorney for Lane Ranch
Partnership, argued in a letter to the city that the partnership was considering
non-residential development of the property, possibly for cross-country skiing
facilities or a commercial equestrian facility.
Last February, Community Development
Director Jack Cloud determined the developers should first gain approval of an
appropriate development application before being allowed to build an access
The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning
Commission last April upheld Cloud’s determination.
In appealing the matter to the council,
Slette—assuring city officials that the move was not "contentious"—asked the
council to reverse Cloud’s decision and approve the access road.
Agnew said she did not understand why the
development partnership would need a road into the open-space at Triumph Springs
without concurrently proposing a specific plan to use or develop the site.
The appeal was denied—rather abruptly—with
a 4-0 vote against Lane Ranch Partnership.
The original Triumph Springs
development proposal issued by Lane Ranch Partnership in 2001 called for
seven residential lots and an access road to the property from Elkhorn Road. A
new proposal called for a road in the same location. The Outdoor-Recreation
zoned site is located immediately north of Elkhorn Road, across from Lane Ranch