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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of October 23 - 29, 2002


Elkhorn demolition 
back on the table

SV Council sends application back to P&Z

Express Staff Writer

The owners of the recently closed Elkhorn Resort will get a second opportunity next month to initiate a plan to demolish the site’s 132-unit hotel and several other buildings in the adjacent village.

Sun Valley City Council members Thursday voted unanimously to remand back to the city Planning and Zoning Commission an application by resort owner CG-Elkhorn to implement the first phase of a plan to convert the site into a condominium and townhouse complex.

In rendering the 4-0 vote to send the matter back to the P&Z, the panel issued instructions to CG-Elkhorn representatives to withdraw their standing plans to start redeveloping the site and submit an amended Design Review application that proposes only a detailed plan to demolish the resort.

The public hearing on the matter Thursday was convened to have the council consider an appeal by CG-Elkhorn of an Aug. 27 decision by the P&Z to deny the first phase of the redevelopment plan. The developer at that time had sought permission from the city to tear down the former River Rock Steak House restaurant and Treat Haus snack shop to build a parking lot that would eventually serve a new 94-unit residential development.

However, City Attorney Rand Peebles recommended that the council not act on the appeal, and instead allow the ownership group an opportunity to amend its application and bring it back to the P&Z. Council members, with concurrence from CG-Elkhorn attorney Ned Williamson, scheduled a new P&Z hearing on a new demolition proposal for Tuesday, Nov. 12.

"There was confusion in the applicant’s mind as to what they needed to do," Peebles said in making the recommendation.

Peebles noted that by submitting a revised plan focused only on the demolition of the resort, CG-Elkhorn would be relieved of any confusion as to whether or not it needed to concurrently submit a complete master plan for the redevelopment of the site. "This way, there is no need for a master plan at this moment, because there won’t be any construction," he said.

The city attorney added that any demolition work at the site would be contingent upon CG-Elkhorn posting a bond to protect the city’s interests should the project be stopped or abandoned. "It will require a bond, so that it doesn’t just sit with gaping holes," he said.

The city had previously told CG-Elkhorn that it would need to post a $500,000 bond if given permission to proceed with the proposed demolition. The developer originally proposed to start demolition Sept. 15.

Greg DeStefano, a leading manager of the CG-Elkhorn project, told council members that he supported the city’s move to allow the company another hearing before the P&Z. He urged city officials to schedule the hearing without delay. "We’d like to do it as soon as we can," he said.

Jack Cloud, Sun Valley community development director, said Tuesday that the CG-Elkhorn appeal has not been officially withdrawn, and could be brought back before the council if the company chooses.

"They will go back to P&Z, and if they are happy with the results, then I would imagine that they would withdraw the appeal," he said.

Cloud noted that the city has not backed away from previous determinations that a master plan would have to be submitted by CG-Elkhorn prior to any redevelopment.

DeStefano and CG-Elkhorn objected immediately to the Aug. 27 decision by the P&Z, arguing that the city had no formal provision for the submission of a master plan.

P&Z commissioners on Sept. 10 reaffirmed their Aug. 27 decision, and their position that they did not want demolition to proceed if piecemeal redevelopment were going to occur in the absence of a master plan.

Attorney Williamson on Sept. 10 sent a letter to Cloud on behalf of CG-Elkhorn, informing him that the developer was launching a formal appeal.

In a follow-up letter Sept. 17, Williamson wrote to city officials that his clients were indeed confused about the P&Z’s demand for a master plan, and wanted clarification about the procedure for submitting such a plan.

Peebles on Thursday said the city may request redevelopment of the site be permitted under a Conditional Use Permit, with design of specific buildings and developments reviewed in the formal Design Review process.



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