Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Supreme Court upholds Lane Ranch road approval

City of Sun Valley loses appeal

Express Staff Writer

After nearly six years of battling with the city of Sun Valley, developer Lane Ranch Partnership has again received support for an application to build a private road near the southwestern flanks of Dollar Mountain. This time, the support came in the form of an Idaho Supreme Court decision that was rendered just before the new year.

The issue first arose in 2002 when Lane Ranch submitted an application to build a private road to access its hillside Triumph Springs property, located immediately north of Elkhorn Road, across from the Lane Ranch subdivision.

The application was denied by the community development director and appeals were subsequently denied by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.

The decisions were largely based on a belief by city officials that the project necessitated both a design review process and a subdivision application. City officials, in essence, wanted to know what the road was for, and did not want to approve a "road to nowhere."

However, an appeal to the 5th District Court in 2006 proved otherwise, as it was determined that the proposed road was not currently associated with a subdivision, nor was it legal to require a design review.

This led to the appeal by the city to the state Supreme Court, which affirmed the district court's decision and awarded Lane Ranch Partnership $17,000 in costs and attorney's fees, said Gary Slette, attorney for the plaintiff.

Slette stated in an e-mail that the court remanded the application to the city and that is has to be considered under Title 7 of the city code, which governs applications for private roads. Therefore, according to Slette, the developer will have to go through the appropriate review process before any consideration is given to actual construction.

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