Friday, October 3, 2014

Golf lodges design appeal denied

Sun Valley City Council decides law was upheld during P&Z deliberations

Express Staff Writer

This rendering shows the front of the proposed townhomes on Senabi Lane. Courtesy photo

     An appeal of a July 24 Sun Valley Planning and Zoning decision was denied Tuesday by the City Council, which concluded that protocol was followed in the approval of design review for two new townhomes in Elkhorn Springs.

     Donald Timmons, board member for the Elkhorn Springs Golf Lodge Association and homeowner, sent the appeal letter to Community Development Director Mark Hofman on Aug. 1. He contended that the commissioners’ decision to approve a design review for the townhomes on Senabi Lane did not give “adequate weight” to the homeowners association’s disapproval and did not grant enough time before the hearing date to contact all residents affected. Timmons also argued that the Elkhorn Springs master plan should grant power to the homeowners board in approving new unit designs.

     Applicant Mike Brunelle, with developer Dave Hennessy of Elkhorn Springs LLC, sought approval to build an 8,144-square-foot paired home—two attached residential townhome units—in accordance with the area’s master plan, which supports a commercial center and multi-family residential use.

     Timmons said the paired home’s proposed design doesn’t match adjacent units. He said the planned 10-home community has six homes to date, and those homeowners were promised design harmony between existing and future buildings. He claims two male Planning and Zoning commissioners approved the design due to personal tastes and affinity for the design, without considering the homeowners’ negative assessments. Lastly, Timmons said the master plan presents an illogical quandary because one section states the board has no architectural control while another states that the board should work to maintain environmental harmony throughout the development.

     Timmons and his wife are longtime second-home owners in Elkhorn Springs, and he said he’s been generally impressed by the local architecture’s quality and design.

     “In none of them have we seen an incompatible and non-harmonious design as is being suggested in our small, planned community,” he wrote.

     Timmons was joined at the Tuesday appeal by several golf lodges association members who were against the design-review decision.

     The council unanimously decided that the P&Z did not “abuse its discretion.”

     Council President Keith Saks said the council was taking the role of appellate court in this situation and the architectural design of the townhomes was incongruous with its decision making. He added that the quantity of letters speaking out against the project doesn’t invalidate the P&Z’s affirmative ruling.

     Councilwoman Michelle Griffith told Timmons and homeowners at the meeting that it’s difficult to contact every resident in a community with so many second-home owners. She said re-evaluating the notice process, with that in mind, could be something the council considers at a later date.

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