21-01-27 Prospector Hill Sun Valley 9 Roland (copy)

The Prospector Hill area of Sun Valley lies directly to the east of Dollar Mountain, sloping south and east from Sun Valley City Hall. The city of Sun Valley is rezoning about 70 acres of the hillside area.

Sun Valley City Council members gave final approval last week to a Sun Valley Co. application to rezone approximately 75 acres of land at the base of Dollar Mountain and to the east of the ski area.

Council members voted 3-0 on Thursday, Feb. 4, to approve the second reading and waive the third reading of an ordinance to change the zoning of the Prospector Hill area to a variety of designations that allow for a limited mix of multi-family residential and single-family residential development. In completing three readings, the council approved the ordinance to officially change the city’s zoning map. Councilman Brad DuFur recused himself from the proceedings.

Prospector Hill ranges south and east from Sun Valley City Hall across an open slope that climbs along the east side of Elkhorn Road. The approved ordinance rezones about 70 acres of Prospector Hill and approximately five acres at the southwest corner of the intersection of Elkhorn and Dollar roads, including the Dollar Mountain parking lot. The land at issue was in the Open Recreation zoning district.

The ordinance stipulates that the rezone specifically match the 2015 update of the Sun Valley Comprehensive Plan and correspond to the plan’s suggested maximum density of 112 housing units on the entirety of the area. Sun Valley Co. officials have stated that no specific development plans for the Prospector area have been drafted. Development plans for the rezoned areas—and the specifics therein—would go through the city’s established approval processes.

Approximately 40 acres will be rezoned Single-Family Residential, approximately 17 acres will be Multi-Family Residential, about two acres will be Service Commercial, 2.5 acres will be Public/Institutional and some 14 acres will be zoned Open Space.

The rezone application was made last fall as a planned step for the Prospector area in a long series of public discussions and actions related to Sun Valley Co.’s long-term development plans. It also correlates to a city plan to remove parcels zoned Open Recreation from that zone, which it no longer uses and is phasing out.

In public discussions and workshops leading to the 2015 update of the comprehensive plan, the city and Sun Valley Co. ultimately agreed to shift development density from the “Gateway” area along Sun Valley Road—which includes the resort’s Horseman’s Center and Penny Hill—to Prospector Hill. In the deal, Sun Valley Co. agreed to trade previously allowed development rights in the Gateway to Prospector to protect the Gateway area with an Open Space zoning designation.

The rezone brings the Prospector lands into compliance with a city land-use map and vision adopted as part of the 2015 update of the comprehensive plan, the guiding land-use document for the city. The 2015 update of the comprehensive plan outlines a potential maximum of 112 units for the Prospector area, including 32 single-family and 60 multi-family units on the east side of Elkhorn Road, and 20 multi-family units on the site at the base of Dollar Mountain.

In the approval process, Sun Valley Co. President and General Manager Tim Silva said the company is committed to observing the outlined maximum densities—now specified in conditions attached to the ordinance—but does not now have a specific development plan.

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