Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Developer unveils plans for Sunshine Parcel

P&Z supports dense development there

Express Staff Writer

A 76-unit residential development, including two five-story buildings and 10 affordable housing units, is on track for construction on a long-vacant lot adjacent to Elkhorn Village.

Sunshine at Elkhorn Springs is the latest in a series of projects being built by CG-Elkhorn, an out-of-state partnership, and local developer the Hennessy Co. to replace the demolished Elkhorn Hotel and the rest of Elkhorn Village. It would be located adjacent to Village Way, just east of Indian Springs condominiums.

Since master plan and design review applications for the project were filed in December 2005, it is not subject to the city's moratorium on commercial development, which was enacted in January.

The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission expressed general approval for the project during a meeting Tuesday, though a decision on the applications was continued to Nov. 14.

The project consists of two buildings containing 32 and 27 units each, four triplexes and one duplex, arranged in a horseshoe pattern around one road and a turn-around. One of the large buildings, 55 feet tall and 235 feet long, is planned for the southern edge of the property across the street from Elkhorn Village. The other, 54 feet tall and 242 feet long, would be adjacent to Indian Springs.

Drawings presented at the meeting showed buildings with wood-and-stucco exteriors whose lines are broken up by many indentations, gables and stepped roofs.

The commissioners reacted favorably to the construction of large buildings on the site, which was zoned commercial years ago in anticipation of businesses developing in proximity to the old Elkhorn Hotel.

"I'm a fan of density down there," Commissioner Ken Herich said. "That's the only way commercial's going to get built."

The commissioners made it clear that they view the current proposal more favorably than they did the previous one for the site, Sun Villas, whose application was withdrawn after encountering opposition from the P&Z.

"I think that this is the best we're seen for a development proposal for this site," Commissioner Phil Usher said.

However, one commissioner, David Brown, expressed reservations on the grounds that the city's comprehensive plan envisions less dense development in the area.

Attorney Barry Luboviski, representing Sunburst condominiums, which are just north of the site, said the new proposal is a big improvement over Sun Villas since the smaller buildings appear low enough to maintain a view to the southeast for Sunburst residents.

Indian Springs resident Darrell Scott, however, had a different view of the matter.

"I really don't think we're going to see anything besides Building A and Building B," he said.

Commission Chairwoman Joan Lamb suggested that the developers consider moving the location of Building B, which is parallel to Indian Springs.

"I look at this site and ask, 'Why are they pushing this enormous building to the edge?'" she said.

Developer David Hennessy agreed to erect story poles at the site by Nov. 7 to give the public and the commissioners a better idea of how large the two buildings would be before the Nov. 14 meeting.

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