Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Show some fortitude on hillside ordinance

Guest opinion by Doug King


Doug King is a member of Sun Valley Citizens for Hillside Protection.

Recent Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission (Commissioner Nils Ribi notably excepted) approval of Phase V, Crown Ranch violates every fiber of our Hillside Ordinance. The provisions of the Sun Valley Hillside Ordinance are crystal clear: "Protect the natural, scenic character and aesthetic value of the City of Sun Valley from the impact of inappropriate development on hillsides, ridges, ridge tops, knolls, saddles and summits."

The proposed 11-home Crown Ranch Phase V project will tower 20 feet over the ridgeline and into clear sight of Twin and Willow Creeks. It will be seen from most any vantage point within Elkhorn and will create a permanent blight on our skylines, as Phase IV demonstrates. The houses will obliterate the saddle and ridge views from the north and south. The northern crown knoll will be defaced with an elevated 90 plus-foot diameter, downward sloping, black-topped cul-de-sac resembling a helicopter landing pad. For residents within The Camp, The Ranch, Sun Pointe and surrounding neighborhoods, the sea-wall of housing is out-of-character with an environment where skylines and mountain vistas are intended to go unobstructed for all to enjoy. The very tenets of our new Hillside Ordinance were already established in the 1994 Comprehensive Plan of Sun Valley and its Finding of Fact #44, which directs this city with regard to "the Upper Ranch" (Crown Ranch) "located on a ridge-line" to "make sure ... to minimize impacts on topography and adjacent development."

Developer profit motives, which ignore the rights and expectations of our citizenry, their Hillside Ordinance, Zoning Title and Comprehensive Plan foundation cannot go unchecked by elected City officials. A clear message must be delivered that the Sun Valley Hillside Ordinance is our "mandated capital" which is to be doled out generously for present and future generations of Sun Valley homeowners and taxpayers.

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