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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of October 1 - 7, 2003


Warm Springs Ranch owners discuss plans

Large sections could be
reserved as open space

Express Staff Writer

The owners of Warm Springs Ranch, the 76-acre golf course and restaurant property north of Ketchum, have revealed a tentative set of development plans to an advisory committee first convened last summer, a group of committee members reported this week.

The working plans for the property, presented in September by Ketchum-based architect James Ruscitto, include a boutique hotel, condominiums and townhouses on the parcel of land that is currently occupied by the Warm Springs Ranch Restaurant and adjacent tennis courts, the committee members said.

The committee members—including Christopher Simms of Citizens for Smart Growth, Scott Boettger of Wood River Land Trust and Marsha Ingham of Coalition to Save Warm Springs—also noted that the plans tentatively call for constructing a new Warm Springs Ranch Restaurant and a conference facility on a parcel next to Warm Springs Creek.

The owner of the property, Sun Valley Ventures, also has plans to subdivide a separate 18-acre parcel near Warm Springs Creek, the group said. The majority partners in Sun Valley Ventures, Erwin Mieger and Barbara Young, participated in the September advisory group meeting.

"Mr. Mieger stated very clearly the group’s commitment to place conservation easements on large portions of the property, and to leave the golf course parcel of the property mostly undisturbed," the committee members reported.

The Warm Springs Ranch Advisory Committee consists of concerned citizens and neighbors of the high-profile property, as well as Ketchum merchants and representatives of public-interest organizations such as Citizens for Smart Growth.

Simms and Boettger said they are collaborating on a plan to integrate conservation easements on large sections of the property and to establish limited trail easements to guarantee public access. Wood River Land Trust has advanced a plan to restore riparian areas on the property.

Simms, the acting executive director of Citizens for Smart Growth, praised the tentative development plans. "We are truly being presented with an historic opportunity for the community," he said.

Sun Valley Ventures has not filed a formal application to develop the property. Company representative Henry Dean has said the group will not submit a development proposal to planning authorities until litigation over ownership of the property is resolved.

A rival group, Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant, is seeking to take control of the property, alleging that Sun Valley Ventures violated a contract Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant had secured to buy the ranch for $12 million.



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