local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs



Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

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 February 26 - March 4, 2003


Sun Valley eyes commercial zone changes

P&Z schedules public hearing 
on March 11

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Planning and Zoning commissioners Tuesday showed strong support for a set of proposed changes to the city’s Commercial Core zoning district.

In their first full-fledged consideration of changes to the regulations that govern land use in Elkhorn Village and Sun Valley Village, commissioners Tuesday indicated they will likely propose to the City Council that the city take measures to ensure that the two commercial centers maintain provisions for small businesses.

"We cannot exclude commercial," Commissioner Nils Ribi said. "We need to have it. Because the comprehensive plan says it needs to be there, and the zoning law says it needs to be there."

The two-hour workshop was conducted in response to a December directive by the City Council that the P&Z conduct a review of the language governing the CC zoning district and hold a public hearing on the matter.

Sun Valley City Council members on Dec. 19 approved a 120-day moratorium on the processing of new applications for development projects in Elkhorn Village and Sun Valley Village.

The moratorium proposal was put forth by city staff in response to a potential surge in development applications for CC-zoned lands that propose only residential uses—rather than the intended mix of residential and commercial uses.

Commissioners Tuesday considered numerous proposed changes to the CC district regulations, including:

  • Setting the maximum allowable density of multiple-family dwellings at 21 units per acre, unless 20 percent of the units are designated as deed-restricted affordable housing, in which case increased density would be allowed.

  • Requiring new multi-family dwelling developments on parcels greater than four acres to provide a minimum of 100 square feet of usable floor area dedicated to retail or service businesses.

  • Restricting the height of new developments to 44 feet (the maximum in the city’s RM-1 and RM-2 residential districts), while maintaining the current 64-foot height limit for hotels with 60 rooms or more.

Commissioners essentially agreed that they want to encourage developments in the CC zones that have greater density and a diversity of housing types, including affordable housing.

However, P&Z members struggled to some extent in determining the amount of commercial space that should be required.

Community Development Director Jack Cloud noted that the establishment of commercial space would not guarantee that it would be used. "You can’t make them rent it out," he said. "There’s some reliance on the marketplace to chip in here."

Commissioners concurred that they would like to consider the 21-unit-per-acre maximum, but also establish a 30-unit-per-acre maximum for smaller units of 1,200-square-feet or less. In addition, they agreed to consider establishing a "density bonus" that would allow additional units if an approved amount of affordable housing was built.

Commissioner Mark Pynn said a considerable amount of commercial space would be needed to establish the foundation for a viable business district. "It takes commercial to build commercial," he said.

Ribi suggested setting the requirements for construction of commercial space at 200 square feet per multi-family dwelling and 140 square feet for smaller, studio units.

Wayne Roth, a planning consultant for Elkhorn Resort owner CG-Elkhorn, told commissioners that his associates have not determined how many residential units they plan to build on the 11-acre resort site once the existing buildings are torn down. However, he said the number would be "way under" the proposed maximums.

Roth noted that CG-Elkhorn is currently developing a master plan for the site that includes a mix of residential and commercial uses. He said the group is "talking to a grocery store that wants 2,000 square feet" of space, and is looking at developing between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet of commercial space on the entire site.

He said CG-Elkhorn may be interested in developing a small hotel, but may not develop a restaurant. "It’s going to be tough for us to build a restaurant and hope they’ll come," he said.

Commissioners agreed to hold a special follow-up workshop with Roth and other CG-Elkhorn consultants Tuesday, March 4, at 9 a.m. to discuss the proposed changes.

The P&Z will conduct a public hearing on a set of refined changes on Tuesday, March 11.

Ski Reports


Mountain Jobs

Formula Sports

Idaho Conservation League



Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

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.