Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Sun Valley appeals Crown Ranch case

Dispute over final development phase lingers

Express Staff Writer

The city of Sun Valley last week took an ongoing dispute over the final phase of Crown Ranch subdivision to the Idaho Supreme Court.

The city filed an appeal on Aug. 29 of a 5th District Court decision that overturned the City Council's denial of the proposed fifth and final phase of Crown Ranch subdivision.

"We feel the decision is incorrect and flawed from several view points, therefore the appeal," Sun Valley Mayor Jon Thorson said.

In July, 5th District Judge Barry Wood struck down the council's denial in 2003 of the Crown Ranch application. Wood ruled that the city's action was arbitrary and capricious.

The fifth phase of Crown Ranch subdivision, proposed by Crown Point Development, was planned along Crown Ranch Road in Elkhorn. The plan calls for 13 single-family residential units—ranging from 3,455 to 3,751 square feet—constructed on a 3.3-acre parcel.

Because the court ruled that Crown Point Development met the evaluation standards and met all the necessary requirements, a building permit from the city then might have been issued.

The city has also filed for a stay on development of the parcel until the case is decided by the Supreme Court. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 3 p.m. in the Blaine County Courthouse.

City Attorney Rand Peebles said the court could take a year to decide the appeal.

The appeal addresses nine issues. Specifically, the city requests a decision as to whether the denial of the developer's application was supported by evidence contained in the city's record.

At the heart of the dispute is a lawsuit against the city that was revived in February. The developer filed the suit after the city denied its April 2003 design-review application and request to subdivide the proposed building site.

In May 2003, the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the City Council approve the subdivision.

Subsequently, the City Council in July 2003 upheld two separate appeals—submitted by a Crown Ranch property owner and the homeowner's association—opposing the P&Z's approval of the design of the project. At the same time, council members voted to deny the related subdivision application to establish 13 lots on the parcel.

Crown Ranch then sought relief in court.

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