Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sun Valley P&Z mulls annexation

Proposal calls for 12 lots near Lane Ranch

Express Staff Writer

This graphic shows rough plans for the proposed annexation site on state Highway 75. Graphic courtesy of Ben Young Landscape Architect

    The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission last week began discussions on a proposed annexation that would allow for development of 12 single-family-lots in an area called Lane Meadows.
    The P&Z reviewed the application Thursday, Feb. 13, but did not render a decision.
    Scott Thomson of Evergreen Ventures is the applicant for the planned project at 12671 and 12673 state Highway 75, south of Ketchum. John Gaeddert, vice president of the Corporation for Land Planning and Engineering, is leading the process of trying to annex the property from Blaine County into the city.
    “The city has included us within the area of city impact, which is a prerequisite for annexation under the city’s code,” Gaeddert said.

The site has already been annexed into the Sun Valley Water and Sewer District.

    Gaeddert said the property under consideration is already surrounded by Sun Valley city property, and has already been annexed into the Sun Valley Water and Sewer District. As a result, the water line is connected to the Lane Ranch subdivision, which aids in the area’s firefighting water flow.
    The application process will also involve considering how the site would fit within the city’s comprehensive plan land-use map. Gaeddert is trying to get the site classified as low-density residential, the same classification Blaine County has given to the land.
    Neighborhood resident Tim Logan criticized the proposed annexation, saying he has safety concerns and does not like the varying levels of setbacks, the distance between the property lines and the buildings.
    “What bothers me is the inconsistencies I’ve seen in these setbacks,” Logan said. “On the east side you have 60 feet, on south side you have 40 feet. On the north side there are 15- and 20-foot setbacks. I believe these inconsistencies take away from the compatibility with Lane Ranch. Lane Ranch is probably the finest subdivision in Sun Valley.”
      Logan added that he is also concerned with the safety of pedestrians and bike-path users. Consequently, he asked that there be six lots instead of 12.
     “How will they get from Elkhorn to the bike trail?” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a safety issue. They have to get on Highway 75 to get on Elkhorn, so it’s a huge safety issue. Maybe it wouldn’t be as big of an issue with fewer lots.”
    Thomson responded by saying that the setback dimensions were made in order to accommodate the view corridors.
    “The fact that we have setbacks that are far in excess of the minimums is simply an accommodation to neighbors that we are not required by city code to do,” Thomson said. “Just because one setback is 60 feet doesn’t mean that all of our setbacks need to be 60 feet. It’s site-specific.”
    Thomson added that the proposal could have called for 10 percent-larger lot sizes, but felt that would not be a “quality design.”

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