For the week of August 19 thru August 25, 1998  

Sun Valley eyes land near new hospital

Owners request annexation

Express Staff Writer

Construction of the county’s new hospital south of Ketchum has prompted a proposed 50-unit development across State Highway 75 to house hospital employees.

Two owners of a combined 34.8 acres of land in the River’s Edge Ranch subdivision, just south of Lane Ranch, have asked the Sun Valley City Council to consider annexing their land to the city.

David Watson and Robert Sherwood each have submitted letters to the mayor and council that described their intentions. The issue will be discussed at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Sun Valley City Council meeting at Sun Valley City Hall.

"Basically, we believe the highest and best use of that property may not be that for which it is currently zoned in the county," wrote Watson.

Watson owns three lots, totaling 17 acres, and Sherwood owns two lots, totaling 17.8 acres. The land is zoned for one home per lot.

Two other lots make up the seven-lot subdivision. One lot is owned by the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Land, and one is owned by Tom Hormel. Neither has asked for annexation.

Watson believes the entire character of the area across from the new hospital will change, and wants to develop his land to mirror its needs.

"It’s a super site," said Doug Clemens, a land-use planner who helped design a proposed development plan for the Watson’s three lots, in an interview. "It’s in the trees, by the river."

Clemens’ proposal, in addition to its 50 units of housing, would donate two acres for a women’s center and a child-care center.

"We’ve planned to accommodate the people who will be working at the hospital," he said.

Clemens said mixing what he called "high-end" and "low-end" housing is an essential part of the plan. He said 34 of the proposed housing units would be "entry-level" housing, meaning they would be priced significantly less than the others.

Clemens contended the city of Sun Valley is better equipped than the county to handle such density in terms of services.

Interviewed about the proposal, Sun Valley city administrator Bob Van Nort said, in addition, Sun Valley offers the landowners the increased market value associated with the city.

Van Nort said what the mayor and council will have to consider would be the effects of extending the city’s domain down the highway. The entrance to the proposed development would be directly across from Dean Tire on Highway 75.

Van Nort said the council will have to look at whether city services would be stretched too thin, especially in terms of its water supply.

Currently, the city uses eight million gallons of water per day, with a reserve of two million gallons. The council will have to consider whether there would be enough water left for the development of other areas of Sun Valley if this particular project were built, Van Nort said.

Dick Fenton, a real estate agent representing Bob Sherwood, the other applicant for annexation, told the Idaho Mountain Express his client’s 17.8 acres would not be part of Clemens’ proposed development. Fenton said, however, the land was for sale, and that annexation would offer more options to the potential buyer.


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