Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sun Valley to get more ‘impact’

County approves modified land-use-planning map


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County commissioners have given the city of Sun Valley more say in land-use decisions outside city limits, conceptually approving a modified Sun Valley area of city impact on Tuesday, 

According to county code, an area of city impact is an area adjacent to city limits that can be considered for annexation and development at a future date. 

The city originally requested that Blaine County add more than 7,000 acres to its area of city impact—county land over which the city and county have negotiated development ordinances—in order to give the city more of a say over any federal land swaps that could occur on those lands in the future.

However, the city and county agreed this week to increase the city’s area of city impact only slightly and instead compose a memorandum of understanding allowing the city to have preferred commenting rights in case of such a land deal.

Blaine County Planning and Zoning Director Tom Bergin said that the new area of city impact includes a parcel of land on Trail Creek Road northeast of the city limits that has been targeted for potential golf course development. 

It also includes several mining claims out Parker and Keystone gulches near Elkhorn and a few areas of private land south of the city in the McHanville area.

Another area that has been approved for inclusion is an arm of Bureau of Land Management property that straddles Elkhorn Road, meaning motorists and recreationists actually pass out of city limits onto BLM land for a brief stretch before re-entering city limits.

Bergin said the city wanted more of a “working relationship” with the BLM, which the area of city impact will allow.

Sun Valley City Community Development Director Mark Hofman said last year that even though lands in the area of city impact can be annexed into the city, the city has no plans for annexation currently.

The commissioners approved an amended map and text ordinance conceptually on Tuesday, but are awaiting completion of the memorandum of understanding for the areas not included within the area of city impact. Hofman said that the memo could be completed on Thursday and approved by the commissioners at the board’s meeting next week.

Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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