Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Developer files suit over Weyyakin decision

Express Staff Writer

The developer for the last remaining development rights in the Weyyakin subdivision believes the Sun Valley City Council abused its power of discretion.

Developers for the housing development, located just north of Elkhorn Road and east of state Highway 75, challenged the City Council's decision to remand the project to the Planning and Zoning Commission for further review. The developer appealed the council decision in a petition for judicial review filed June 21 in 5th District Court in Hailey.

The council remanded the project to the P&Z in April for further review, with specific direction to either reduce the density or the mass and scale of the project. The subdivision has been phased-in since the late 1970s.

At issue is the subdivision's final phase, proposed by Robert Smelick of Idaho-based Stilwyn Inc. The company applied to develop single-family homes on the southeastern portion of the existing subdivision, west of Weyyakin Drive and north of Elkhorn Road. The development's fourth phase called for 19 new homes on an 8.8-acre parcel. The homes would be clustered around three separate cul-de-sacs adjacent to Weyyakin Drive.

Council members rejected the Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendation to approve the preliminary plat application for the last phase.

The decision came after a series of city meetings and a site visit, during which neighbors expressed concern over the impacts of the proposed development. Issues raised include the mass and scale of the homes, impacts on view corridors and the proposed construction timeline.

The council directed the P&Z to either reduce the density of all the clusters or reduce the mass and scale of the buildings. Specifically, the council asked for a reduction of the mass and scale on the second floors of the homes.

The developer appealed the council's decision to remand, rather than sustain, modify or reject the commission's recommendation.

"We are hoping we can get it resolved with the city," said Jim Laski, the attorney representing Stilwyn Inc.

The appeal contained further explanation.

"The instructions set forth in the remand decision are arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion as they essentially revisit a design review approval which was not properly before the council," it states.

The developer is asking for review of the council decision and for recovery of its costs and attorney fees.

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