Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Sun Valley leaders to discuss ?Gateway?

City to hold public meetings to gather input

Express Staff Writer

The future configuration of the pastoral lands along Sun Valley?s signature western entrance, known as the ?Gateway,? will be discussed this week. The city of Sun Valley will evaluate various scenarios for development and open space during four meetings. Photo by Willy Cook

The open vistas along Sun Valley's signature western entrance, known as the "Gateway," will be up for discussion this week. The city of Sun Valley will hold four public meetings to consider various alternatives to find the best land-use scenario for the area along Sun Valley Road.

"The purpose of the exercise is to come up with a more detailed plan for the entry corridor along Sun Valley Road," said Jeff Winston, principal of Colorado-based Winston Associates.

Under discussion are the open lands on the east and west sides along Sun Valley Road, which include private property and the city's five-acre parcel. The city contracted with Winston in March 2006 for $48,350 to design a better configuration for the city's gateway lands. Now, the city wants public input on Winston's proposed uses of the lands. Opinions will be gathered during four meetings over two days.

"We hope people will drop in and give us some constructive suggestions as to what to do differently," Winston said.

During approval of the city's 2005 comprehensive plan last year, considerable public discussion centered on the gateway lands. Upon approval, the council emphasized that the update served as the jumping off point for further, in-depth land planning.

Winston will present various land-use-planning scenarios for the gateway property using three-dimensional computer models. During his visit, the models will be manipulated and updated according to the comments received.

"At the moment, we have concentrated development to the south, and left Penny Hill pretty much open. That will be a question for everyone to wrestle with," Winston said.

The scenarios include the city's official plan, which designates an undisturbed corridor of open-space land stretching on the west side of Sun Valley Road to the Saddle Road intersection. The designation of Penny Hill as open space required the city to distribute 125 units of medium-density development rights proposed for around the hill to lands elsewhere in the area.

"In the comprehensive plan, it allocates 125 homes to the area, but it didn't get very specific as to where the homes should be located," Winston said.

Under the comprehensive plan, development is designated behind the Sun Valley red barn and the city's five-acre parcel. Sun Valley Resort owns the development rights and most of the gateway land.

"It just won't look the same with a barn surrounded by housing," Winston said.

Another alternative brings development closer to Ketchum onto the city's five-acre parcel. "So we have the edge of town move a little north," Winston said.

All are hypothetical situations, which Winston hopes to refine into a final land-use plan. He will likely present a final plan to the city in the next two months.

Gateway Meetings

Sun Valley will hold four public meetings this week, facilitated by a consultant, to evaluate scenarios for the city's gateway lands. Citizens are invited to all meetings.

• Aug. 2: City Council & P&Z Workshop, 9 a.m., Sun Valley City Hall.

• Aug. 2 : Public Workshop, 3 p.m., Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church.

• Aug. 3: Public Workshop, 9 a.m., Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church.

• Aug. 3 : City Council & P&Z Workshop, 1 p.m., Sun Valley City Hall.

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