Wednesday, August 24, 2005

SV Comp Plan heads to council

P&Z endorses long-awaited document update

Express Staff Writer

The majority of land along Sun Valley's western entrance, known as the "Gateway," should be permanently protected as open space, the Planning and Zoning Commission declared Friday during a public review of the city's 2005 Comprehensive Plan Update.

Following several smaller tweaks to the language in the draft comprehensive plan, the commission voted unanimously to recommend its approval to the City Council, which will begin its review of the document next month.

City staff, planning officials, residents and consultants spent 16 months drafting and altering the update to the plan.

"It's not perfect, but I think it's the best we can do," P&Z Chairman Nils Ribi said. "It was a good process, a long process and we heard an enormous amount of input."

Commissioner Ken Herich said he wasn't "wholeheartedly in support" of the plan, especially with details about the Gateway, but he's "willing to move it on to the City Council level."

If the City Council follows the commissioners recommendations, the Gateway will be zoned for 125 multi-family units while the rest of the land will be set aside as open space, meaning future development will not be an option.

The Cottonwood Parcel, located immediately northeast of the Gateway, is zoned for an additional 350 units.

Ribi was excited about the Gateway, referring to the open space as "one of the most significant changes," the city has seen.

"This is really a hallmark of this plan," he said.

The Gateway "is the signature entrance to the city of Sun Valley and is highly valued by residents and visitors, treasured for its spacious pastures, uncluttered views and agricultural uses," the plan update states. "It is these characteristics which must be protected as development is planned in this area."

Other changes made to the plan in Friday's meeting included the addition of 150 workforce housing units—providing housing for up to 500 people—to the Sun Valley core, and removing a residential tag on a small corner of the Horseman's Center site.

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