21-08-11 Sun Valley Hillside Building 1 Roland.jpg (copy)

The city of Sun Valley is considering making changes to its hillside development regulations that would allow staff or the Planning and Zoning Commission to approve limited development on steep sections of some lots.

The Sun Valley City Council is scheduled Thursday to consider and likely vote on proposed changes to city code that would allow limited development on steep areas of some uneven or hillside lots.

City Council members on Aug. 5 offered general support for the changes and voted to review the proposal again at their next monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 2. The meeting starts at 4 p.m. in City Hall.

The changes proposed by city staff would allow the city—either through review by planning staff or, in some required cases, the Planning and Zoning Commission—to approve encroachment into parts of lots that exceed 25% in grade. The proposed amendments to city code do not guarantee a right to encroach onto steeper slopes, city staff have stated.

Existing regulations expressly prohibit development on or encroachment into land areas with 25% slope or greater. The city’s hillside regulations have largely been credited with preserving natural views and the natural features of hillsides and other sloping or prominent land areas.

If the amendments to the code are approved by the City Council, the city would have the ability to approve the encroachments in limited cases if the development is in line with the “intent and purpose” of the city’s existing hillside development regulations, city documents state.

City planning staff have stated that the primary reason for the proposed changes is to create a review process for the allowances, instead of the city having to review and grant code variance requests from landowners to permit what it deems to be reasonable development.

Community Development Director Brittany Skelton told the City Council on Aug. 5 that the changes would allow the city to permit “routine development” in specific cases instead of having to grant variances—something it has done more frequently in recent years.

To change the code, the City Council must approve and conduct three readings of the revised ordinance. Council members can opt to waive the second and third readings to adopt the ordinance after one vote.

The mayor and City Council are scheduled to conduct a public hearing on the proposal at the Thursday meeting. Public comments are limited to three minutes.

Interested parties can also submit written comments to the city clerk at nflannigan@sunvalleyidaho.gov.

Load comments