Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Decision nears on Crystal Creek plan

County P&Z to continue review March 27

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission was unable to come to a decision on the 1,620-acre Crystal Creek Ranch development proposal last week.

The large south-valley project is the first development application to be processed under ordinances approved as part of the Blaine County 2025 process. That's making the P&Z's deliberation process longer as commissioners become used to the new ordinances, Blaine County Regional Planner Jeff Adams said.

Adams said he expects the P&Z will arrive at a preliminary recommendation on the proposal at its next meeting.

"I think they'll get through it," he said.

That meeting is set for Thursday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey.

The Crystal Creek Ranch property would be subdivided into 38 residential lots ranging in size from 3.01 acres to 5.16 acres. The lots would be spread out in 11 clusters.

The proposal also calls for much of the ranch, 1,384 acres to be exact, to be protected as a permanent conservation tract.

One aspect of the developers' plan for the property generated a lengthy discussion during a P&Z meeting in January. The issue related to the county's cluster development guidelines. While the regulations generally require an 1,800-foot separation between clusters, exceptions are allowed in select circumstances.

As part of their application, the Crystal Creek Ranch developers have asked the county to allow them to bunch all 11 of the clusters on 250 acres near the northern half of the property. Under county ordinances, developers can ask for as little as a 400-foot separation between clusters to protect natural resources and for other reasons.

Once the P&Z makes its recommendation on the development, the application will be forwarded to the Blaine County Commission for consideration.

Crystal Creek Ranch, formerly known as the Diamond Dragon Ranch, is in the Bellevue Triangle northwest of Timmerman Junction.

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