Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sun Valley Co. proposes 395 units at Gun Club

Housing would come after Gun Club Nine golf course

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Co.'s plans for developing its Gun Club property northeast of Sun Valley Village include nearly 400 housing units, which would be developed after a new 9-hole golf course called the "Gun Club Nine."

The plans were revealed last week after the city of Sun Valley formally accepted two associated Sun Valley Co. applications to develop the Gun Club site under a detailed master plan. A master plan application provides a general framework for recreational and residential development of the area along Trail Creek Road. It is coupled with a design-review application for the Gun Club Nine.

The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission will consider both applications Tuesday, April 11, during a public hearing. The commission will determine whether the Gun Club Land Use Planning Area master plan application can stand alone. The city has identified the site as a significant land area, which requires an approved master plan prior to development.

If the P&Z determines the Gun Club master plan application is linked to other designated "Land Use Planning Areas," it has the discretion to request other master plans before considering the Gun Club submittal and the golf course design-review application.

Land Use Planning Areas are areas the city has determined need special attention.

"It is my feeling at this point that this one can stand alone," said Mark Hofman, Sun Valley community development director.

The city's Master Plan Development Ordinance requires the company to set forth land uses, transportation, sewer, water and open-space issues for the 344-acre area.

The Gun Club master plan application outlines mixed uses for the property including the 9-hole golf course, Nordic skiing, and low- to medium-density residential housing.

Under the city's current zoning regulations, the Gun Club site is zoned for more than 500 units. The application proposes to create 30 single-family house lots, approximately 1 to 2 acres in size, and 365 multi-family residential units located north of the proposed golf course and on both sides of Trail Creek Road. The city's Workforce Housing Ordinance would require an additional 61 units for workforce housing located in or near the area.

"This, in reality, if approved, would in effect rezone these maximum densities to 395," Hofman said.

The master plan calls for relocation of the Gun Club facility as well as the golf clubhouse and Nordic center. The plan outlines the relocation of the golf and Nordic facility to a site approximately 1,000 yards north of the existing location on the east side of Trail Creek Road.

If the commission determines that the master plan application can stand alone, it will also consider the design-review application for the new golf course. The course would start on the north side of Trail Creek Road and climb onto the Gun Club site's ridgelines before descending back toward the road.

"It's pretty low impact," Hofman said.

City staff is reviewing environmental issues pertinent to the golf course, like hillside cuts, runoff drainage and lead levels in the soil. Years of Gun Club activities may have contaminated the surrounding land.

"We don't know the level of (lead from shotgun pellets) yet," Hofman said. He said a soil analysis would be required to determine the extent of soil reconstruction needed.

Designed by Don Knott, the Gun Club Nine will operate as part of Sun Valley Resort golf operations, with priority given to Sun Valley property owners and hotel guests. The general public will be given second priority.

Plans tentatively call for Sun Valley Co. to begin golf course construction in mid-May, with the course scheduled to open in 2008. Single-family residential development is slated to begin in 2007, with the multi-family projects to follow in 2008.

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