Friday, November 17, 2006

Neighbors: Sunshine Parcel project is too big

Sun Valley P&Z postpones review to Jan. 23, 2007

Express Staff Writer

In a meeting reminiscent of what potential Sunshine Parcel developers have faced in the past, Sun Valley residents expressed dismay Tuesday, Nov. 14, over the mass and scale of the latest proposed project.

Following a site review requested by the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission—with "story poles" in place to allow a visual assessment of the size of the buildings—neighbors were provided the opportunity to voice concerns at City Hall Tuesday morning.

The homeowners association of Indian Springs, the condominiums located directly west of the proposed building site in Elkhorn Village, voted Friday, Nov. 10, to request the P&Z deny the subdivision proposal, which was filed by developer CG Elkhorn for GBS Development LLC.

The buildings in the proposed project are "so massive it doesn't fit into the existing neighborhood," Indian Springs resident Bob Hawley said.

Hawley's objection was echoed throughout the meeting.

John O'Connor, former Sun Valley-Elkhorn Association board member, said the mountain view currently seen from Indian Springs will be replaced with a massive 242-foot-long wall. O'Connor compared the project to the construction of a "small city." Many residents in attendance said the 40-foot view corridor between the two largest proposed buildings is not sufficient.

The P&Z is assessing a sunlight study conducted by the developers, but it appears large shadows could be cast on existing properties by the proposed structures.

Sun Valley Fire Chief Jeff Carnes composed a letter to the P&Z voicing concerns that went beyond aesthetics. In it, Carnes suggested a redesign to include a road loop that would allow greater access for fire trucks. One building in Indian Springs would not be accessible at all to fire trucks, and equipment would have to be "carried in by hand," Carnes said. Carnes was also worried there might not be sufficient water supply.

The 4.3-acre property has been the focus of community debate in the past. In 2003, the P&Z struck down a 63-foot, 105-unit residential complex, primarily on the grounds that its mass and scale were not in proportion with the surrounding neighborhood.

The current project consists of two multi-story buildings, four triplex units and one paired home for a total of 76 units. Mark Kiner, architect for BSB design, testified that Building 1 of the project would be within 23 feet of the Indian Springs condominiums. The parking garage for the building would be 63 feet high and a focus of the sunlight study.

Prior to the next public meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, Community Development Director Mark Hofman suggested a private meeting with the developer would provide an opportunity for the objections to be addressed.

City Administrator Virginia Egger reiterated this sentiment, stating "I do believe we will talk about mass and scale seriously."

Egger also noted the developers have not submitted a plan for workforce housing, a city requirement.

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