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For the week of February 26 - March 4, 2003


Sun Valley outlines plan to use 5-acre parcel

City to hold public hearing on 
plan March 19

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley city officials last week revealed a tentative plan to use the city’s 5-acre open space parcel along Sun Valley Road for special events in warm-weather months.

At a regular meeting Thursday of the Sun Valley City Council, Mayor David Wilson and City Administrator Dan Pincetich presented a proposal to use the site to host summertime outdoor events such as the Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival and the annual Sun Valley Center Wine Auction.

Council members Thursday agreed unanimously to convene a special public hearing on the proposal Wednesday, March 19, at 3 p.m. in Sun Valley City Hall. The hearing will precede a regular meeting of the council at 4 p.m.

Pincetich said the plan would be implemented on an interim basis before any decisions were made about the long-term future of the parcel. "It’s purposely designed not to restrict the future options you would have for this property," he said.

Pincetich proposed that all events take place in an approximately one-acre "activity area" on the site that would be set back 200 feet from Sun Valley Road. The designated area could host arts and music events in temporary tents, as well as open-air events such as antique fairs, he said.

He stressed that large-scale musical events would not be permitted.

Pincetich said the plan—at this time—calls for no permanent structures on the site. "It’s simply for what I call ‘tent uses,’" he said.

Permanent bathrooms and a post-and-rail fence along Sun Valley Road could be installed at a later date, Pincetich noted. "We could develop these things as we see demand develop for the site," he said.

Wilson said the plan was put forth in part because of a recent report on the need for new arts facilities in the Wood River Valley. Conducted by New York City-based arts consultant Webb Management Services, the report indicated that the Sun Valley community has a considerable need for a seasonal site for outdoor arts and cultural events.

Wilson and Pincetich both noted that hosting events on the site could boost the city’s somewhat stagnant income from local-option taxes. Pincetich said the city’s tax revenues have been negatively affected by the loss of several annual events in recent years.

The city’s 5-acre parcel is located on the north side of Sun Valley Road, adjacent to Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Ketchum.

The parcel last year was the proposed site for a community arts complex, but the plan was dropped after the Webb study determined that such a facility was not needed. A considerable number of Sun Valley residents opposed the plan and expressed a desire to see the site left as pristine open space.

As part of the plan proposed Thursday, the front area of the property would be reserved for so-called "public art," such as the elephant sculptures now on the site. Wilson directed Councilman Lud Renick and Councilwoman Ann Agnew to develop a city policy for the display of art objects on city property.

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