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For the week of May 28 - June 3, 2003


Crown Ranch proposal receives city P&Z nod

"Itís like taking a guy with a 36-inch waist and putting him in a 32-inch pair of pants. You could do it, but it isnít very pretty."

ó Nils Ribi, P&Z commissioner

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Planning and Zoning commissioners Tuesday, May 27, narrowly approved plans to build 13 new townhouses on an approximately 3.3-acre parcel at Crown Ranch subdivision in Elkhorn.

With P&Z Chairman Jim McLaughlin absent, acting chairman Mark Pynn broke two 2-2 tie votes to advance the proposal, which would constitute Phase 5 of the development of Crown Ranch.

First, Pynn broke a tie vote on whether the city should issue design-review approval of the plan. Minutes later, he broke the second tie vote on whether the P&Z should recommend to the Sun Valley City Council that it approve a preliminary plat of the proposed 13-lot subdivision.

Commissioners Nils Ribi and Blair Boand opposed the plans, citing concerns about the bulk, mass and overall impacts of the buildings.

"Itís like taking a guy with a 36-inch waist and putting him in a 32-inch pair of pants," Ribi said. "You could do it, but it isnít very pretty."

However, Commissioners Ken Herich and Phil Usher approved of the plans. "Anything up on that hill is going to have an impact," Herich said, noting that the project proposes a much lower density than its RM-2 (multiple-family, residential) zoning allows.

At issue is an application by Lane and Kristin Monroe, principals of Sun Valley-based Crown Point Development, to subdivide a 3.29-acre parcel at Crown Ranch into 13 individual lots that will each be the site of a multiple-level townhouse. The townhouses would be located between a bend in Crown Ranch Road, which branches off the southern section of Morningstar Road.

The application for preliminary plat approval seeks to establish 13 lots that range in size from .12 acres to .30 acres.

Contingent upon the approval of the subdivision, the developers proposed to build several different models of homes with living areas that range from approximately 3,450 square feet to 3,800 square feet.

The approved buildings are proposed not to exceed a height of 35 feet.

The plans approved by the P&Z were revised from a set of plans formally proposed last month. The new set of plans includes a cul-de-sac on the north side of the development and a pedestrian walkway adjacent to the residences.

The approved design plan also calls for a set of landscaped retaining walls on the east side of the project, adjacent to the proposed extension of Crown Ranch Road.

Doug King, a resident of Crown Ranch, urged commissioners to deny the project. "The project is inappropriately massive and claustrophobic, and creates a top-heavy effect that will be a bane to Sun Valley-Elkhorn," he said.

Commissioners Boand and Ribi asked that the project be amended to make the buildings smaller or more spaced apart.

J. Evan Robertson, attorney for the developers, argued that a mandate to decrease the size of the residential development would in effect be a "downzone" of the property.



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