Friday, July 1, 2005

P&Z endorses project's master plan ordinance

Sun Valley wants to see developers' complete blueprints

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday, June 28, to recommend a process that requires developers to submit a master plan for large projects prior to development.

"(The Master Plan Development Ordinance) is good planning, conceptual planning, resort planning, for the good of the community," City Administrator Virginia Egger said.

The commission, except absent commissioners Phil Usher and Ken Herich, voted unanimously in favor of the proposed Master Plan Development Ordinance. The commission's recommendation now moves to the Sun Valley City Council for review and a final vote.

The ordinance would establish a process for the application, review and approval of master plan developments for large or phased projects located in the city.

The ordinance would apply to all zones in the city and would require a detailed review process. The review process would include meetings with the city's planning director and public hearings before the P&Z and the City Council.

Applicants would also be required to submit applications providing information about the concept of the development.

"For lands subject to the Master Plan Development Ordinance, we expect to see narrative and graphic presentations that describe the development in general," Egger said.

Information such as general land-use plans, square-footage ranges and phasing would be required.

Timing of the ordinance is particularly important in light of Sun Valley Co.'s intent to submit a long-term master plan for development of numerous high-profile areas. The company unveiled plans last year to develop portions of 2,600 acres of land it owns in the city, but it was soon apparent that the city had no way to ensure the plan would be followed.

"I have said on several occasions we need a way to bind the city and the company to something," said Wally Huffman, general manager of Sun Valley Co. "This is a major step in that direction."

Anticipation of future projects and past applications fueled the need to establish a formal master plan approval process.

In July 2004, the commission approved a master plan for the Elkhorn Springs development, located on the site of the former Elkhorn Resort.

Considerations of the Elkhorn Springs master plan led to months of deliberation because the commission lacked an established process to review and approve a conceptual plan to build a multi-use development.

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