Friday, October 22, 2004

Sun Valley plans its future

Mayor asking citizens to help complete update of comprehensive plan

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley officials are again calling upon citizens to help shape the city?s future.

Mayor Jon Thorson announced this week that he will convene a special meeting at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Limelight Room of the Sun Valley Inn, to take public comment on key aspects of an update of the Sun Valley Comprehensive Plan.

At the meeting, Thorson and members of a 12-member citizen committee charged with guiding the update process will solicit comments on a list of proposed actions city government should employ over the next decade.

The so-called ?action items? under consideration are essentially tasks and strategies the city would set forth as the means to reach a set of goals outlined in the comprehensive plan update.

The updated Sun Valley Comprehensive Plan will be the guiding land-use planning document for the city for at least the next 10 years. The document is used by city officials to guide new legislation and at times to interpret existing ordinances.

?Ultimately, the vision for our city?s future is in the community?s hands,? Thorson said. ?The action items create a work plan for the city to make sure development is thoughtful and in keeping with the ambience of our community.?

The mayor added: ?We know that some changes are required to our existing codes to retain the beauty of Sun Valley and to meet the increasing need for good ? solutions to the primary growth impacts we will face in the future.?

A draft list of action items has been proposed by the comprehensive plan steering committee and is scheduled to be finalized by the end of this week.

City officials said the proposed action items that will be presented next week will include changes to land-use policies, recommendations for zoning designations, specific plans for high-profile land parcels, changes to building-design requirements and strategies for preserving historic structures and open space.

Areas of the city designated as possible targets for specific planning supervision include the open parcels on both sides of Sun Valley Road?including Penny Hill and the Sun Valley Horseman?s Center?Ruud Mountain and the land around Sun Valley City Hall.

Thorson said the comprehensive plan update seeks to integrate the city?s vision for growth with a proposed long-term master development plan put forth this year by Sun Valley Resort, the city?s largest land owner.

?The committee has worked with Sun Valley Resort representatives in an effort to more fully understand the resort?s long-range vision plan and to support, where appropriate, the land-use planning of the resort,? the mayor noted.

The meeting next Wednesday is the fourth public meeting designed to include the public in the comprehensive plan update. Additional meetings to review the plan will be conducted in 2005.

City officials are planning to complete the document by March, when it will be submitted for approval to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council.

How to participate

Sun Valley planners and citizens will gather at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Limelight Room of the Sun Valley Inn, to determine what policies the city should seek to implement through an update of its comprehensive plan. Mayor Jon Thorson has invited all citizens to participate.

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