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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.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Aug 28 - Sept 3, 2002


P&Z denies Elkhorn demolition project

Developers told to submit 
entire plan for village

"Until we see a master plan, this isn’t going to fly."

KEN HERICH, Sun Valley Planning and Zoning commissioner

Express Staff Writer

In a far-ranging decision that temporarily halts all demolition and reconstruction plans for Elkhorn Village, members of the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday unanimously denied an application by the owners of Elkhorn Resort to raze a section of buildings on the north side of village core.

Landscape architect Kurt Eggers explains aspects of his plan to landscape a new parking lot proposed by CG Elkhorn for the north side of Elkhorn Village. Looking on, from right to left, are architect Woody Bryant and Sun Valley P&Z commissioners Ken Herich, Mark Pynn and Jim McLaughlin. Commissioners Nils Ribi, behind Herich, Phil Usher and Blair Boand, behind Eggers, are obscured. Express photo by David N. Seelig

In rendering the 6-0 vote against the proposed project, the panel issued a mandate to developers CG Elkhorn to submit to the city for approval a detailed master plan of their intended large-scale redevelopment of the village.

"Until we see a master plan, this isn’t going to fly," Commissioner Ken Herich said.

All six members of the panel were unified in determining that they did not want to approve aspects of the redevelopment in a piecemeal fashion, but would consider changes to the village as part of a complete demolition and reconstruction application.

Applicant Woody Bryant, a Sun Valley architect representing resort owners CG Elkhorn, had earlier this month asked the city for approval to demolish the River Rock Steak House, Treat Haus and Elkhorn post office buildings to make space for a new parking lot.

The proposed demolition was identified as the first element of a larger five-phase demolition plan to raze the Elkhorn Hotel, golf shop, tennis courts, swimming pool and an assortment of existing business spaces.

The initial plan to demolish the commercial structures for installation of a new parking lot was required to have the P&Z’s formal Design Review approval because the buildings are attached to two residential buildings that are part of the Elkhorn Village Condominiums.

CG Elkhorn in April showed plans to the P&Z which outlined its intention to tear down the 132-room hotel and parts of the village to install 56 fractional-ownership condominiums, 38 townhouses and an amenities building with an adjacent recreational complex.

Part of the deal hinges on a proposed land swap with the Sun Valley Elkhorn Association, which is tentatively scheduled to be voted on by homeowners next month.

However, the developers have never filed an official application to seek approval of the plan.

With no approved master plan, the applicants Tuesday sought permission to begin the first phase of the demolition work on Sept. 15.

After reviewing the parking lot proposal, commissioners asked project representative Ned Williamson why CG Elkhorn wanted to separate the parking lot project from the larger plan.

"We’re in negotiations to have an agreement with (residents of) the Elkhorn Village Condominiums to have them park in the new lot instead of at the hotel," Williamson said.

Commissioners Nils Ribi and Blair Boand both expressed concern about whether the parking lot was indeed part of the proposed—but not approved—master plan.

Architect Bryant told the panel that the parking lot proposal would "facilitate" the rest of the project. "This is a large complicated project," he said. "We’re just trying to eliminate obstacles along the way."

Of approximately 40 area residents in attendance, several spoke out against the proposed demolition.

Ketchum attorney Barry Luboviski said he thought the proposal went against language in Sun Valley’s Comprehensive Plan that dictated the city should have a second commercial center outside of the main village. "Without the master plan, you can’t develop this (Commercial Center) District," he said.

Resident Judy Gilmartin agreed. "I know that none of us want a hole in the ground for the next 10 years," she said. "Let’s get our ducks in line before we start something."

Elkhorn Village business owner Todd Van Bramer expressed concern for the fate of Elkhorn businesses that have long-term leases. "It sounds like a real open-ended proposition to me," he said.

Following the public’s comments, Commissioners Boand and Phil Usher were the first to express concern about the need for an approved master plan.

In the end, the panel agreed to request that CG Elkhorn submit a master plan application, complete demolition plan and construction schedule before it asks for permission to tear down buildings in the village.

Also key to the discussions Tuesday were comments made by City Attorney Rand Peebles suggesting that CG Elkhorn would not be able to obtain approval for other phases of the demolition without first getting permission from the P&Z.

City officials had previously determined that some of the demolition might be approved administratively by the city building inspector, but Peebles Tuesday said that all of the larger demolition project "would likely come under Design Review purview" of the P&Z.

Despite the unanimous vote denying the demolition, some commissioners did show some conceptual support for the CG Elkhorn plan.

Ribi suggested that changes were warranted, but not incrementally. "This is basically a Band-Aid being put on something that needs a tourniquet," he said.

Herich was more succinct. "I would like to see this thing torn down," he said of the troubled resort.



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