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For the week of May 23 through May 29, 2001

Blotting out Elkhorn’s sun

Sunpointe could become ‘Shadowpoint’

Express Staff Writer

Even though opponents were hoping to see it denied, the subdivision application for Crown Ranch Subdivision Phase IV was tabled by the Sun Valley planning and zoning commission Tuesday.

In delaying a decision, the commission asked representatives of the development company, Crown Point Development to consider changing their plan from eight units to six, and to provide the commission with details of Crown Point’s building plans beyond Phase IV.

Only two residents spoke up during the public hearing part of the meeting — one for and one against the development. However, the commission has been flooded with letters from neighbors opposing Crown Ranch.

One of the letters came from Pierre and Dorothy Dreyfus. "The entire [current] development is an eyesore as it stands," they wrote. "Further buildings that are proposed destroy the landscape and are totally unacceptable."

Jon C. Thorson agreed. "The architectural design for the townhouses is a perfect example of a bad neighbor," he said in a letter. "As planned, the two- and three-story townhouses, sitting atop the hill, will rake the skyline and offend the eye of everyone in Elkhorn who looks in its direction."

Ronald A. Gargano, a real estate developer who lives directly behind the Crown Ranch property, wrote that he objects to roof lines intersecting with ridgeline views.

"Sun Valley is a beautiful community," he wrote. "There are few obstructions to the views and few buildings, which destroy the character of the countryside and the mountainous terrain. Permitting construction which appears to be ‘mountain top’ development is inconsistent with the community’s values."

Frederic and Jean Mabbatt wrote that the project’s "high, vertical design of the units would be painfully visible against the skyline as one drives along Elkhorn Road from the Village to the Ranch and from many of the south facing homes in the valley."

The city had the developer put "story poles" on the property to show the height of the eight different proposed units. These are easily seen from the intersection of Elkhorn Road and Morning Star Road.

During a site tour in the middle of the commission’s meeting Tuesday, a collection of developers, commissioners, city staff and opponents got a feel for the property and intended development.

The view from the site includes Baldy, Griffin Butte and the Boulder mountains. One person on the tour remarked that it was the best view in Elkhorn.

Below the site lies just about every residence in Elkhorn, including Sunpointe.

It was clear that during the summer, the sun’s path would be above the roofs of the proposed development. In winter, the sun, which now clears the ridgeline, would be obscured if the proposed development goes up.

Once the developer informs the commission it is ready to proceed, Crown Ranch Phase IV will be put on the commission’s agenda again.


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