Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sun Valley planners endorse historic district


By MEGAN THOMAS
Express Staff Writer

Plans for historic preservation in Sun Valley received a boost from city planners last week.

The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission approved a recommendation to establish a historic protection district for the Sun Valley Village area. The district includes the Sun Valley Lodge, Challenger Inn, outdoor ice rink, pools and the Sun Valley Opera House.

One of the brilliant things Sun Valley Resort founder Averell Harriman did was establish a building program, said Commissioner John Gaeddert. "To me, this speaks fairly loudly as to why this historic district should be established."

The P&Z voted to recommend the city establish a historic district at the village core Thursday, Oct. 19, in response to a recommendation made by the city's Historic Preservation Commission. The commission has been charged with evaluating properties of historic value within the city using national criteria.

Under a district, demolition and exterior changes to historic buildings would be subject to review of the Historic Preservation Commission. Current regulations allow for any structure, including the barn or the Sun Valley Lodge, to be demolished without a public hearing. If historic districts were approved by the City Council, the proposed demolitions of buildings within a district would require a public hearing and review. The district designation doesn't prohibit demolition or renovation. Rather, it means such changes would be subject to review.

The decision to establish only one historic district came after the commission convened Tuesday, Oct. 17, to discuss their previous recommendation made Friday, Oct. 13, that three other historic districts be established. The commission had recently decided districts were needed for the red barn, Trail Creek Cabin, the Horseman's Center and the Sun Valley Lake dam.

After a review, City Attorney Adam King informed the group that adding other districts constituted a material change to their recommendation made last month to establish a historic protection district only for the Sun Valley Village area.

According to King, the only potential district that could be considered at the time, due to notice requirements under Idaho Code, was the Sun Valley Village area. The recommendation to include three new historic districts will likely come forward at a later date.

The City Council must pass an ordinance to institute the recommendation.






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