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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of August 7 - 13, 2002


SV aims to control hillside development

Express Staff Writer

In response to complaints that too many homes are being developed in plain view on the city’s pristine hillsides, Sun Valley city officials have developed a rough draft of an ordinance to limit and regulate construction on steep slopes and ridgelines.

The so-called "Mountain Overlay Ordinance" was first presented to members of the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission on July 16, and after a first set of revisions was made the panel looked at the proposed ordinance for a second time last week.

The proposed ordinance—which was drafted in part as a response to objections earlier this year by some residents that development in the Crown Ranch subdivision would destroy views—will be reviewed by P&Z commissioners a third time on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at Sun Valley City Hall.

In its second draft—excluding changes made last week—the proposed ordinance states that "the hillside, ridgeline and ridge top terrain of certain areas of the city provides a unique and substantial character to the area," and notes that "development of the hillside areas may definitely affect in a negative manner the visual and environmental character of the community."

The draft document states that one of the intents of the ordinance is "to direct development away from steep slopes and ridgelines, as well as to minimize hillside visibility of potential development."

Furthermore, it states that the purpose of the ordinance is to:

· Minimize the impact of development of the natural terrain by permitting only minimal grading in some areas and protecting natural landmarks and prominent natural features.

· Protect property and minimize erosion and destruction of the landscape from "improper cuts and fills."

· Protect the scenic character of Sun Valley.

The proposed ordinance suggests that development will not be allowed on specific sites that have more than a 20 percent slope on half the land and more than 20 to 30 percent slope on the remaining half.

Building-height maximums and lot-coverage limits have not been firmly established.

Other conditions outlined in the proposal include requirements for storm-drainage and erosion-control plans, plus regulations for grading, cutting into or filling sloped areas.

"Slopes greater than 30 percent shall remain undisturbed," the proposed ordinance states.

The document notes that applications for subdivisions, new construction and road construction would be subject to the new requirements in the ordinance.

City officials tentatively plan to submit a final version of the proposed ordinance to the Sun Valley City Council before the end of the year.



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