Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cold Springs zoning plan misguided


By DAVID WOODWARD

I am very concerned by the recent approval by the Blaine County commissioners to significantly expand allowable building densities on the triangle south of the St. Luke’s hospital stoplight between Highway 75 and Broadway Run. Despite objections by virtually everyone attending the meeting, and recommendations by their own P&Z Commission to decrease zoning densities in this area, the commissioners approved a plan that could create a high-density development of up to 580 homes and a population of about 1,300 residents in the rural mid-valley region between Ketchum and Hailey.

Increased densities would significantly degrade an important scenic and wildlife corridor and gateway to Ketchum, and violate virtually every precept of modern urban planning. Creating high-density development in an area untethered to the critical infrastructure necessary to support such development, including schools, fire, police, water, sewer and basic retail service, makes no sense. These types of projects should be concentrated in the cities of Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue.

Under the original underlying zoning laws, the 46 acres in question could be developed with a density of one unit per acre, or 46 single-family units. Under the approved change, average building density could be as high as 12.6 units per acre, a density much greater than what one would find in the Woodside area south of Hailey. As one point of reference, the Meadows Mobile Home Park, just south of the area, is zoned for 5.4 units per acre.

Of the 580 potential units, less than 120 would be deed-restricted community housing units. The balance would be market-rate housing.

I am also unclear as to the true objective of creating high-density housing in this triangle, other than making numerous concessions to the development community to encourage the construction of a few community deed-restricted housing units. In addition to higher densities, the proposal would reduce the percentage of units per acre that need to be designated for community housing, reduce off-street parking requirements and offer to the developers existing open space along the Blaine County Recreation District trail, thereby reducing the open space requirements for new development. This is not the best approach to increasing the number of community housing units in the Wood River Valley or to improving the overall quality of living in the area.

This area is already proximate to a number of mobile-home parks providing affordable housing to lower-income residents. I am fully supportive of these existing developments. I drive by every day and see vibrant communities in these parks. They serve an import purpose in providing lower-cost housing for local residents. 

To implement the new zoning plan as approved by the commissioners would be a step backward in long-term land-use planning for the Wood River Valley and is completely inappropriate with the rural character of the surrounding region.

David Woodward lives in Ketchum.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



-->
 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.