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For the week of November 21 - 27, 2001


Public comment was all against Triumph Springs

Express Staff Writer

No one had an encouraging word for the proposed Triumph Springs development at the Sun Valley City Council meeting Thursday.

Not Tom Praggastis, a former Sun Valley mayor. Not Joyce Ball, a 30-year resident of the valley. Not Len Harlig, a former Blaine County commissioner. Not Karen Reinheimer, whose grandparents owned the Lane Ranch. Not Rod Tatsuno, a 32-year resident of the valley. Not Bill Nagel, of the Weyyakin Homeowners Association.

No one.

Praggastis told the council that the annexation agreement the city made with the developers of the Lane Ranch, which includes the Triumph Springs property, is "all the further you need to go."

In the agreement, he said, there are two key points. One states that all the land that was going to be developed was zoned residential. The other states that all the land that was to remain undeveloped was zoned outdoor/recreational.

That agreement, he said, was made in good faith and "should not be revisited and stepped on."

"We would like them to live with the deal they made in 1986."

Harlig told the council about his experience as a county commissioner.

"The first thing visitors ask me is ‘How have you managed to keep your hillsides clear?’ " he said.

He then told the council how two men had threatened him for his fight to keep development off hillsides, and how the same two men later told him how wrong they were because open hillsides only increased the value of property in the valley.

"This development should not be put forward," Harlig said.

Retired engineer Martin Huebner told the council that Triumph Springs would be "like building a pizza stand at the Pearly Gates."

Given five minutes to respond by Mayor Dave Wilson, Peter O’Neill, one of the developers of Triumph Springs, said, "These are always difficult times," referring to the meetings and the "mistruths, untruths and revisionist history" reported in the media.

He told the council that he and his partners had never given up the development rights of the Triumph Springs property, nor did they propose "to touch wetlands" on the property, nor cause visual impact on Weyyakin.

"Developers are not bulletproof," O’Neill said. "We deal with NIMBYism (not-in-my-back-yard) and the drawbridge syndrome."

He said he could deal with these things, but what he couldn’t deal with were attacks on his personal integrity and that of his team.


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.