Friday, December 14, 2012

Land agreement still a work in progress

Sun Valley, county discuss future of public sites

Express Staff Writer

Despite the fact that an expanded area of city impact for the city of Sun Valley was approved in October, Blaine County staff say there’s still work to do regarding certain areas outside the Sun Valley city limits.

Kathy Grotto, planner for Blaine County Land Use and Building Services, said during a county meeting Tuesday that the county and the city are still hashing out a memorandum of understanding that would lay out policies for notifying the city if development is to occur on any of the sites in question.

The first site in question is a large parcel of land on the north side of Trail Creek Road, running along the city limits from west of Trail Creek Cabin to east of the Sun Valley city limits. The other is a parcel of land east of Elkhorn Road out Parker Gulch. All the lands are federally owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM.

County code states that area of city impact is an area adjacent to city limits that can be considered for annexation and development at a later date. The draft memo states that the city wishes to avoid the perception that it wants to annex those public lands, but does want to ensure that the open space is preserved.

Grotto said edits to the draft done by Commissioner Larry Schoen were mostly rejected by the Sun Valley City Council, which wanted the memo to be more detailed and include a policy statement.

Schoen said he eliminated that language from the county’s draft because it was more appropriate for a comprehensive plan.

“It’s not a controlling land-use document,” he said.

Schoen said he would continue to work Sun Valley Community Development Director Mark Hofman, Sun Valley City Councilman Nils Ribi and county Land Use and Building Services Director Tom Bergin to come up with a new document that would be submitted to both boards.

Kate Wutz:

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