Friday, November 10, 2006

Diamond Dragon owners eye 39-unit development

Majority of 1,660-acre ranch south of Bellevue would be preserved

Express Staff Writer

Owners of the Diamond Dragon Ranch have plans to develop a 39-unit subdivision on a portion of the 1,660-acre property south of Bellevue.

Known as Crystal Creek, the upscale development would be clustered to protect and preserve more than 1,000 acres of the ranch, which is crisscrossed with creeks and dotted with large cottonwood trees providing habitat for a variety of bird species.

Homeowners would jointly own the remainder of the ranch.

"That offering, the common ownership and use of a 1,600-acre ranch, is fairly unique," said The Kirk Group's Bob Kantor, a partner in the project.

The applicants, Sun Valley LLC, plan to rehabilitate the landscape and restore creeks that have been damaged by cattle.

"In many ways, (the development) is kind of the model of the (county's) 2025 vision," Kantor said.

Representatives of Crystal Creek met with the Blaine County Commission on Tuesday to discuss community housing options in the development. In June, commissioners passed an "inclusionary housing" ordinance requiring all future subdivisions in Blaine County to include 20 percent community housing.

"The new ordinance requires calls for a pre-application conference so the developer can touch base with the County Commission and (the Blaine-Ketchum) Housing Authority to see if they're going in the right direction in their provision of community housing," Commissioner Sarah Michael said.

Michael said it appears the applicants want to place their community housing on-site, which is one of the available options.

"We're happy to accept the development of community houses, whether on-site or off," she added.

An official hearing on the proposed development has yet to be set.

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