Friday, January 4, 2008

County to consider plan for Diamond Dragon Ranch

Public meeting set for Thursday, Jan. 10

Express Staff Writer

Owners of the approximately 1,600-acre property formerly known as the Diamond Dragon Ranch will present plans to subdivide the large acreage at a meeting before the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission next week.

The meeting will be held in the upstairs meeting room of the Old Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10.

Owned by the locally-owned Sun Valley Ranch LLC, the 1,619-acre ranch is one of the southern Wood River Valley's most significant properties. Located just northwest of Timmerman Junction, south of Bellevue, it extends west from state Highway 75 to the banks of the Big Wood River, and includes pasture, wetlands and riparian areas.

Last year, the county approved a separate subdivision of the property on the west side of the river that had been broken off to create one estate lot. That portion of the ranch isn't included in the current application.

Under the developers' plan for the property, which they have renamed the Crystal Creek Ranch, the acreage would be subdivided into 38 residential lots ranging in size from 3.01 acres to 5.16 acres. Their plan also calls for six affordable lots under the county's inclusionary housing ordinance, ranging in size from 1.02 acres to 10.29 acres.

Because the developers have filed their application under the county's cluster-development ordinance, at least 80 percent of the property must be left in an undeveloped state and permanently protected under a conservation easement, Blaine County Regional Planner Jeff Adams said Thursday.

Developers have proposed to protect 1,384 acres in several different tracts, Adams said. He said the different conservation tracts would be separated from each other by six or seven clustered neighborhoods.

"The clusters are strung out through the property," he said.

Though it doesn't provide any detail, the county's agenda for the meeting states that the developers also plan to develop an approximately 1,200-square-foot interpretation center on the property. Adams said the development plan states the center would be open to such public uses as public school outings.

The developers apparently also have plans to build an approximately 25,000-square-foot equestrian center, four guest cabins and an approximately 3,500-square-foot recreation center.

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