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For the week of February 14 through 20, 2001

Major subdivision proposed for Stanley

Citizens concerned about 46-lot project’s scope

Express Staff Writer

The city of Stanley’s small-town, mountain flavor could soon get a sizable jolt from resort-style development.

A Boise developer is proposing to sell 46 lots on 66 acres around Valley Creek and on the adjacent hills. The lots—formed in two subdivisions—would collectively be called the Stanley Sawtooth Estates.

Among the "CEO lots" proposed for development are two on top of the rock bluff across Valley Creek from the Stanley Community Center. Wetlands in the foreground also are within the 66-acre project area. Express photo by Greg Stahl

The developer, Steven Hosac of Hosac Co. Inc., said he believes there will be a healthy market for the lots.

"I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fairly strong market for these lots for people from the Hailey, Sun Valley and Ketchum area as an alternative to Ketchum or as a get-away from Ketchum—maybe as a third home in Stanley," said Hosac, who jokingly calls some of the lots "CEO lots."

He said it’s likely he’ll market the lots in The Wall Street Journal and on a Web site he’ll later put together, though such strategies aren’t finalized.

Among the "CEO lots" are two that are on the top of the rock bluff across Valley Creek from the Stanley Community Center.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) landscape architect Tom Streit said Hosac contacted the Forest Service to suggest a land swap, which never panned out, for the knoll-top lots.

"He specifically showed the Forest Service the top of the rock bluff and told them that’s one of his prime building spots. He told the Forest Service that if they didn’t want it developed, the Forest Service should trade him for it."

The trade proposal proved very time-intensive and complicated, Streit said, and both the Forest Service and Hosac lost interest.

Last week, the Stanley City Council postponed consideration of lot line shifts for the subdivisions and scheduled a public hearing on the matter for Feb. 28. The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at the Stanley Community Building.

Valley Creek runs through Stanley and joins the Salmon River between Stanley and Lower Stanley. The developer plans to build in most of the Valley Creek area and surrounding hills inside the city’s boundaries.

"We cannot stop him," Stanley Mayor Hilda Floyd said, "but he’s going to have a lot of agencies he will have to go through before he can build."

She said the subdivision meets the city’s zoning restrictions and ordinances.

"We really don’t have much in the way of zoning restrictions," she said. "We don’t have a hillside ordinance, but it’s too late to put one in now.

"All we can do is go by our ordinances and our zoning laws, and outside of that, that’s the position the city is taking."

The subdivision is nothing new. It was approved by the city in 1972, but most was never built on, and Hosac only purchased the land this summer.

Of the 46 proposed lots, 28 are in or near the wetlands surrounding Valley Creek. Of the proposed 18 hillside lots, six have already been built on.

Construction by prospective buyers on the wetlands lots may prove difficult.

To build in Valley Creek’s designated wetland areas, approval would be needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and possibly the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, said Fish and Game regional fisheries manager Mike Larkin.

"It’ll have a lot of review," he said. "If there is any development in those wetlands, it would have to be very limited. That flood plain would have to remain quite functional."

Corps of Engineers project manager Robert Flowers said he worked with the developer in the fall to officially designate wetland areas. Flowers said he hasn’t seen the current subdivision proposal but added that if any of it is planned for wetland areas, permits for those areas will be mandatory.

"If the corps gets involved, then the Endangered Species Act will become pivotal in the issuance of any permits," he said.

Valley Creek is habitat for endangered Chinook and sockeye salmon and bull trout.

Despite apparently inevitable complications in wetland areas, Stanley City Clerk Margaret Oveson said the city’s residents are concerned.

"We don’t want Sun Valley-type houses over here," she said. "We don’t want our taxes going up."

Hosac said he will institute a homeowners’ association to govern architectural styles in the subdivision. That’s a proposal that doesn’t sit will with Stanley residents either, Oveson said.

"He wants it to look like a perfect little subdivision. That’s not what Stanley residents want."

The city will not vote on the pending lot line shifts until a meeting on the first Wednesday of March, after the city council has had the opportunity to digest public comments collected at the Feb. 28 public hearing, Floyd said.

"We would like to hear what the citizens of Stanley and residents of the Stanley Basin have to say. What are their concerns and fears?" she asked.

Agencies typically involved in attempting to preserve the Sawtooth Valley and Stanley Basin from aggressive development are not directly involving themselves in the pending development of the subdivision.

The development area is in Stanley’s city limits and is up to Stanley to regulate, Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) and Sawtooth Society officials said last week.

The Sawtooth Society, however, may have found a way to participate indirectly.

"Because of its size, scope and location, [the subdivision] certainly has potential to have impact on Stanley and the surrounding area," Sawtooth Society executive director Bob Hayes said.

Hayes said the society has offered the city up to $2,000 toward hiring a planning consultant.

"You never suffer from too much information," he said.

Floyd said Stanley will probably accept the offer, as long as there aren’t any strings attached.

"We don’t want any hidden agenda from the society or the SNRA," she said.

If everything falls into place, Hosac said he will begin improving the subdivisions’ roads, an access bridge and utilities this spring and begin marketing the lots sometime this summer.


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