Friday, June 15, 2007

Symphony center moves onward and upward

Sun Valley P&Z recommends allowing 70? height

Express Staff Writer

Image courtesy of FTL Design Engineering Studio This computer-generated graphic illustrates the inside of the proposed Sun Valley Music Pavilion. The 45,000-square-foot structure would feature 1,500 seats as well as a surrounding elevated park for an additional 3,000 spectators.

Sun Valley Co. and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony have passed the first legal hurdle toward building their proposed music pavilion.

On Thursday, June 14, the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission approved a change to city ordinance that would add performing arts centers to structures allowed to be up to 70 feet tall. Maximum height for most other buildings in the city's commercial zone is 64 feet. Under existing regulations, only hotels are granted an exception.

The P&Z's action was in the form of a recommendation that must go before the City Council for final approval.

The 64-foot standard is significant because it is the height of the Sun Valley Lodge—the traditional centerpiece of the area. New hotels are allowed to exceed the limit through alternative compliance measures.

Alternative compliance allows flexibility if city officials determine the structure is compatible with the natural terrain and with buildings on nearby properties. The ordinance states that structures adjacent to Sun Valley Lodge "shall respect the height, massing, and historical context of the Lodge."

"The key word is 'respects' and this is a highly subjective term," Community Development Director Mark Hofman said. "But the idea is we don't want everything at the resort to look like the lodge—times change."

The estimated $10 million, 45,000-square-foot structure, proposed for location on an open field next to the resort's ice rink, would have a hard shell over the stage and canopy over the seating area. The facility would host free concerts performed by the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

The City Council will meet at 9 a.m. on July 5 to consider the recommended change.

At 9 a.m. on June 28, the P&Z will discuss and take public comment on the four development applications filed by Sun Valley Co. for the project.

The anticipated completion date is Aug. 1, 2008.

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