Friday, August 18, 2006

Sun Valley forms historic preservation commission

Express Staff Writer

Recognizing the historical significance of the country's first major ski resort, the city of Sun Valley has taken steps to ensure the preservation of its historical buildings.

During a meeting Wednesday, the City Council appointed seven people to its new Historic Preservation Commission and authorized the expenditure of $8,500 to hire a consultant to help it with ordinance language.

The city's comprehensive plan notes several buildings owned by the Sun Valley Co., including the Lodge, Inn and Opera House, as being of historical interest.

Under Idaho law, the owner of a building designated as historic must give 180 days notice before demolishing or remodeling it. During that time, a city's historic preservation commission can negotiate with the owner to find a way to preserve the building.

In an interview, Councilwoman Ann Agnew said the city is taking action with an eye to the long-term future, when Sun Valley Co. may no longer be owned by Earl Holding or his family.

"We're working on a just-in-case basis," she said. "As long as we have Earl, I don't think we have anything to worry about."

At Wednesday's council meeting, City Administrator Virginia Egger said the Planning and Zoning Commission should propose language to the council on possible historic preservation ordinances before Nov. 7, in case a proposed land-use bill called Proposition 2 passes. The ballot initiative would restrict a city's ability to adopt ordinances that might reduce property values.

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