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For the week of  October 10 - 16, 2001


P&Z denies Crown Ranch proposal

Steep hills, looming buildings cited as problems

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday to recommend denial of applications for subdivision and preliminary plat for the proposed Crown Ranch Subdivision Phase IV.

Having come to the P&Z with a revised design that would have decreased the number of townhouses from eight to seven and added a turnaround for fire access, the developers still left unsettled the question of visual impact.

"This is virtually the same project as we saw in May. The plan is not significantly changed," Commissioner Nils Ribi said.

He asked the developers if they had considered the community’s concern about "skylining," which is the visual impact of rooftops appearing higher than a ridge line.

Commissioner Blair Boand was concerned about how the townhouses would look from Elkhorn Road, already knowing how the townhouses in the first three phases look from Morning Star Road.

"When you stand down there, these buildings are so close to the road and so vertical," he said.

Commissioner David Brown said the city’s concern was that its comprehensive plan tries to steer building on steep slopes.

Ribi said he agreed with Boand and Blair.

"We’re charged with how a project fits with the city and is it harmonious with the surrounding community and view corridor. What can we do to mitigate this highly visible site?" he asked.

Commissioner Ken Herich was the dissenting voice.

He said he believed the zoning of the property overrides consideration of a project harmonizing with the surrounding community or building on steep hillsides.

It is zoned RM-2, or multiple family dwelling district, which provides for residential apartment, condominium and/or townhouse dwellings.

Up to 21 units per acre are allowed, and the proposed subdivision is 1.59 acres.

Herich said, "Anything we put there will make someone unhappy. Anything on the property will be on a steep hillside. I’d vote for it."

In the end, the P&Z voted against recommending the project’s subdivision and preliminary plat applications, with the exception of Herich.

The applications, however, are not dead. They will be put on the City Council’s November or December agenda.

The council can choose to accept or reject the P&Z’s recommendations.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.