The fate of a magnificent Sawtooth Valley viewshed will be determined this coming Tuesday, Oct. 1, when the Blaine County commissioners decide whether to allow a homesite to be moved from a discrete location into a scenic expanse.
The property lies about 1.5 miles out Pole Creek Road from Highway 75, just east of Smiley Creek. You enter the scenic vista as you pass a tall hill on your left. The open view northwest through sage and across the valley to the highest peaks of the Sawtooths is stunning.
When the parcel was created in 2000 as part of a three-lot subdivision, a homesite was chosen to ensure it would have minimal impact on the significant scenic values. The homesite, which has not been built upon, is located out and around to the west in a bend at the base of the hill with excellent views of the northern Sawtooths and other Sawtooth Valley mountains.
The public holds a substantial real interest in the property. In 1981 the Forest Service paid $3.9 million ($11.4 million in today’s dollars) to acquire a scenic easement on land that includes the lot in question.
The lot owners want to build a home within the viewshed. Under the county’s subdivision ordinance, the commissioners may approve the homesite relocation if it “does not alter the existing character of the subdivision.”
Would moving the homesite from a discrete location into the viewshed alter the character of the subdivision? For me, the answer is absolutely. The subdivision was designed to protect the land’s scenic values.
Anyone who cares about saving a beautiful Sawtooth Valley viewshed can attend the Tuesday, Oct. 1, public hearing at 1:30 p.m. in Hailey at the Old County Courthouse or email the commissioners.
John Kelley, Sun Valley