Sun Valley Co. is seeking approval to build a new 9-hole golf course at its Gun Club property northeast of Sun Valley Village and hopes the facility will open for play in 2008.
Company officials confirmed this week they have submitted for approval to the city of Sun Valley an application to develop the "Gun Club Nine," a course designed to complement the resort's existing 18-hole golf course.
Application materials submitted to the city of Sun Valley were not immediately made available for review. Draft designs produced by the resort's Colorado-based planning consultant, Design Workshop, call for the course starting on the north side of Trail Creek Road and climbing onto the Gun Club site's ridgelines before descending back toward the road.
The Gun Club site, the main parcel of which covers approximately 74 acres, is in the city of Sun Valley, meaning that any plans to develop the area must be approved in accordance with city regulations.
Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co. director of marketing and public relations, said Wally Huffman, the company's general manager, has made developing the new golf course a high priority.
"He is working very hard on getting the Gun Club Nine off the ground," Sibbach said. "He expects to start work on it this year, possibly in May."
Sibbach said the company hopes the new 9-hole course will be finished and ready for play in approximately two years, by the summer of 2008.
In addition, Sibbach said, Huffman is pursuing a plan to allow Sun Valley Co. to develop an additional 9-hole golf course farther east along Trail Creek Road, near Trail Creek Cabin.
That plan tentatively calls for Sun Valley Co. to trade some of its vacant land near the River Run base of Bald Mountain for U.S. Forest Service land near Trail Creek Cabin. Sibbach said the trade being considered by Sun Valley Co. would likely propose trading wetlands at River Run for some relatively flat Sawtooth National Forest acreage to facilitate the golf course plan.
Public access and trails in the Trail Creek Cabin area, including access to Proctor Mountain, would be maintained, Sibbach said.
"It seems like it would be a pretty good win-win situation for everybody," Sibbach said.
Kurt Nelson, the Sawtooth National Forest Ketchum district ranger, said some preliminary discussions about the land trade have taken place but no formal proposal to complete the trade has been made. He said Sun Valley Co. appeared to be considering a trade for less than 50 acres of land near Trail Creek Cabin.
Nelson said any formal proposal to trade public land for private land would trigger a formal review process.
"It's a fairly lengthy process and it's got full public involvement and disclosure."
Nelson said he expects to receive a formal land-trade proposal in the near future but could not comment on the feasibility of such a plan until the proposal is made.
Draft plans for both 9-hole golf courses were presented to the public in April 2004, when Sun Valley Co. put forth a long-term master development plan for all of its properties in the Sun Valley-Ketchum area,
Company officials have said since then that developing more golf facilities at Sun Valley Resort is one of the priorities of the master plan, largely because demands for tee times are not always met by the existing 18-hole course.
Sun Valley Co.'s draft plan for the Gun Club site, as expressed through the long-term master plan, ultimately calls for developing a mixture of single-family and condominium-style residential units in selected areas. The Gun Club would likely be moved to the northeast, farther out Trail Creek Road.
Elements of Sun Valley Co.'s master plan call for not pursuing maximum allowed densities in some areas in exchange for the city embracing the company's broader vision for the resort. In developing an update of the Sun Valley Comprehensive Plan last year, the city expressed an interest in cooperating with the resort.
Sun Valley city planners have indicated the Gun Club proposal will likely be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission in April.