Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church received unanimous approval from the Sun Valley City Council Thursday, July 20, for a change in zoning that will allow construction of a new stone-and-glass building to replace the existing church.
The council voted to change the zoning of the church property from an Outdoor Recreation to a Public Institution designation based on a recommendation that the zoning change is a more appropriate use in the area. Located on Sun Valley Road near Ketchum, the church appears to be on the eastern edge of Ketchum, but it is actually within the city limits of Sun Valley.
The zoning change brings the site into conformance with the city's 2005 comprehensive plan update and an associated map. The rezone is the first to occur in Sun Valley since the implementation of the comp plan.
The approved rezone comes after the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission approved a design review application and conditional-use permit for the new church. The permit allows construction of a 44-foot-tall building. Maximum allowed height in the Public Institution zone, without a conditional-use permit, is 35 feet.
Little discussion arose at the meeting over the church's plans. City Administrator Virginia Egger advised the City Council of a recommendation to shift the proposed structure to the northeast corner of the site. The recommendation came from the city's consultant, Jeff Winston, principal of Winston Associates, a Colorado-based land-planning firm that is under contract to review Sun Valley's design regulations in commercial districts. Winston raised concerns over the church's plan to place parking along Sun Valley Road at the city's gateway entrance.
"If we have to add another $200,000 because of delays, it is going to put a severe burden on the congregation," Hanley Dawson, a representative for the church, said.
The council suggested the church work with the city's consultant, but decided not to stall construction. Construction is planned in phases to allow part of the existing church to be used while the new church is built. Construction of the new building is slated to begin late this summer.