Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sun Valley Planning & Zoning commissioners take a visit

Development potential sought for land near Dollar

Express Staff Writer

If a request now before the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission is approved, an 18-acre parcel of open land near Dollar Mountain could eventually be developed with single-family homes.

On Thursday, July 28, the P&Z discussed an application by the Sun Valley Elkhorn Association for changes to the future land-use map in the city's comprehensive plan.

The area in question is a currently undeveloped 18-acre parcel, about half of which is designated in the comp plan as recreational use, with the remainder envisioned as open space. The association's proposed amendment would redesignate the 18 acres to low-density residential, which would allow single-family homes. The association is not asking for a rezone at this time.

However, Mark Hofman, the city's community development director, said, "If you don't have the comprehensive plan synchronized from the beginning, it starts to get difficult [to rezone]."

The question for the P&Z is whether it envisions a different land use on the area, potentially with homes and roads.

P&Z members conducted a site visit Thursday to the association's land near Skyline Drive and Skyline Spur, just northeast of Dollar Mountain subdivision. On the north and east, land is designated as open space in the comp plan.

The timing for the application coincides with another, separate application from Sun Valley Co. The company is seeking text amendments and revisions to the future-land use map in the comp plan as they apply to its land. Part of that land is Prospector Hill.

Sun Valley Co. may eventually build a road system on its Prospector Hill land. If the Sun Valley Elkhorn Association opts for development on its landlocked property, it would need to link to a road system. Access through Sun Valley Co. property on Prospector Hill is a possible scenario.

"If they're going to be planned, we're thinking they should be planned together," Hofman said in an interview.

The company, however, has no obligation to provide access to another road system, nor is road design an issue currently before the P&Z.

But if the association decides to build homes there, roads need to be taken into account.

"Obviously, access is the issue," Hofman told commissioners. "There are no roads that serve this property right now. If it were to be developed ... access would be important."

Sun Valley Elkhorn Association General Manager Marlene Lowry said preserving open space is a function of the board, but preserving homeowners' investment also is a consideration.

"They believe another function of theirs is to protect potential value for all owners, future potential value," she said. "So when we saw that Sun Valley Co. was working in this area and that there was a possibility that that land could be landlocked for future tennis courts or pools or residential use, they discussed it and decided it was probably appropriate they take this action."

The P&Z took no action at its Thursday meeting. The commissioners will take up the issue again at their Aug. 18 meeting.

"Going out today, we're much better prepared," said Commissioner John O'Connor.

The matter will go to the City Council after the P&Z issues its recommendation for approval or denial.

Rebecca Meany:

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