The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved Thursday, April 12, a conditional use permit for indoor recreation facilities in Sun Valley Co.'s proposed Nordic and Golf Center.
The conditional use permit and the commission's approval of the building design are contingent on the City Council's approval of a zoning map amendment. The rezone is necessary for the project to move forward. It would change just over 25 acres from Single Family-Residential and Outdoor-Recreation zoning to Recreation zoning.
The rezone would be consistent with the master plan for the Gun Club Land Use Planning Area, where the facility is located, said Community Development Director Mark Hofman.
The golf center would service both the existing 18-hole course and the nine-hole Gun Club 9, currently under construction. In the future, Sun Valley Co. plans to add another nine holes, bringing the total to 36 holes of golf in the Trail Creek area.
The facility would be approximately 53,600 square feet. The main level would include food service, a lounge and bar area with a fireplaces, a golf pro shop, clubhouse locker rooms, storage and administrative offices. The lower level would feature a Nordic repair and rental area that opens up to the snow, an indoor golf range and 136 spaces for golf cart storage. Upstairs, there would be two apartments, each about 734 square feet.
There is also an outside patio that looks toward the putting green and features a bar area and outdoor fireplace.
Onsite improvements include a Himalayas putting green (considered the gold standard in putting greens), a reconfigured driving range, a croquet course, a bocce ball court and additional parking.
Lighting for the facility, including the height of the poles and the fixtures to be used, were approved along with the design review application. However, the specifics could change after lights have been installed.
"Their (Sun Valley Co.'s) interest is the same as ours," Hofman said. "It's more of a collaboration than anything."
The lighting has to be bright enough in the parking lot to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians. It also has to be minimally invasive to adhere to the "Dark Sky Ordinance" adopted by Sun Valley city in 2004. The ordinance limits the types of exterior lighting permitted on commercial and residential properties.
"There are insurance industry standards, but there is no hard-fast rule (when it comes to the amount of lighting required)," Hofman said. "We will find a balance."
As it stands, the approved parking lot lights are the same height and hold the same fixtures as the lights used at Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge.
Light originating inside the facility and emanating out to the surrounding area was also discussed. Sun Valley Co. General Manager Wally Huffman said automatic curtains will be installed and will close during nighttime events to minimize light pollution.
Huffman also said he does not foresee regular nighttime use for the Nordic and Golf Center. Commission Chair Joan Lamb said that it is difficult to infer what future nighttime use of the facility might entail.
"With the possibility of a new hotel in the area, who knows? Years from now there may be dinner parties outside every night," Lamb said.
The City Council will take action on the proposed rezone, potentially the final step in the approval process, on Thursday, April 19, at 3 p.m.