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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 March 19 - 25, 2003


Broadford subdivision plan receives basic thumbs up

Express Staff Writer

Though it bred feelings of regret for the natural area that will be lost, a proposed subdivision on Broadford Road met with little opposition during a Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Thursday.

The applicant is Nick Vanoff Presents Inc., a corporation owned by a part-time Sun Valley family. They propose to develop the Bend of the River Ranch on the east side of Broadford Road just north of the Star Bridge, creating 10 lots on 75 of the site’s 412 acres. The entire property straddles the road and includes considerable wetlands and vegetation between it and the Big Wood River. That part would remain undeveloped for now.

A 12-acre parcel of land just south of the bridge would be donated to the Wood River Land Trust to remain as open space. The property is habitat for deer, elk and moose.

"We’re proud of this subdivision," attorney Barry Luboviski told the P&Z commissioners. "The idea is to try to maintain the rural atmosphere down here. I think it’s by far the best thing you’ve seen on Broadford Road."

Containing lots ranging in size from 5 to 8.4 acres, the proposed development did not provoke the intense opposition that the proposed Orchards Planned Unit Development did last year. Rejected by the county commissioners, that development would have created 21 lots on 21 acres on a site just to the north.

Both, however, raised concerns among residents that their charming corner of the county is rapidly being converted from rural to suburban.

"You’re taking away the very reason why we all came here and want to live in the area," said Bill Gehrke. "If you’re going to take something away from me, give me something back."

Gehrke suggested the construction of bike and horse trails from the subdivision’s border to Bellevue. The developer proposes to build a bike path along the property parallel to Broadford Road, and a five-foot-wide bark bike and horse trail along the subdivision’s one proposed road, which would form a loop and connect to Broadford Road at two places.

The application proposes to improve Broadford Road along the property from its existing width there of between 20 and 26 feet to the county standard of 26 feet. Luboviski suggested that the road be engineered to a speed limit of only 25 mph, to help maintain its rural character.

"It would be a big shame for this road to become an alternative to Highway 75," Commissioner Judy Harrison agreed.

Citizens for Smart Growth Executive Director Anjie Saunders commended the proposed subdivision, but said it and others could be even better if they contained cluster development, rather than large lots.

"We’re just chopping up the land here," she said. "We know there are wiser and more prudent options for development."

Saunders acknowledged that doing so would require improvements to the county’s PUD ordinance.

"It’s a disaster and it should be way up on our list of things to tend to," agreed Commissioner Susan Orb.

Saunders also suggested that the county create a master plan for a trail system all along Broadford Road.

The area’s tranquility is broached in perhaps only one major respect—its location under the flight path to Friedman Memorial Airport. Luboviski said that drawback will be made very clear to prospective buyers. He said the developer will sell an avigation easement to the airport, which promises not to interfere with use of the air space and includes a covenant that subdivision residents will not sue even if airport traffic increases.

Due to the area’s high water table, South Central District Health has required the developer to conduct a nutrient pathogen study in relation to septic systems. The study is under review by the Department of Environmental Quality. A second hearing on the subdivision application is awaiting completion of that review, but will probably take place in May.


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