On January 21st at 2pm the Sun Valley City Council will be holding a public hearing on a proposed rezone of the open hillside across from Dollar Mountain, aka Prospector Hill. While the city is framing this as a necessary update to its Comprehensive Plan, in reality it amounts to little more than a giveaway to the property’s owner, the Sun Valley Company.

The redrawn zoning map would allow a towering wall of townhouses, condos, and single-family residences to be built on one of the most prominent sites in the north valley. It would permit up to eighty trophy homes on the highest reaches of the property, mostly above any existing structures. The sprawling mass looming over the town would be reminiscent of Park City or even the suburbs of the Boise foothills. There is simply no precedent in the Wood River Valley for a project of this size and scale on such a location. Think Crown Ranch on steroids.

The Sun Valley Company is using its undeveloped gateway parcel as leverage to strongarm the city on Prospector Hill. It’s an intimidation tactic the Council should resist. The SVC does not own the zoning rights on its property, and the city has an objective to steer development in a direction that is consistent with its own vision. At the very least it should offer a revised zoning map that preserves more open space and concentrates development lower on the site and closer to Elkhorn Road. This is precisely what the city’s own Hillside Ordinance is designed to do.

If you are interested in preserving the area’s rural character, send your comments to cdcounter@sunvalleyidaho.gov, or attend the City Council meeting on the 21st virtually via Zoom—just follow the directions on the city’s website at sunvalley.idaho/gov.

Ryan Ose

Ketchum

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