Star Valley Planning Commission Approves Downtown Rezoning

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The Star Valley town council will have the final word next week on the rezoning of a piece of property that could change the face of downtown.

Developers are asking for a rezoning of the land -- known as the Freegard property -- in order to build Windmill Village.

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The development in the works for this 15.33-acre property in the heart of Star Valley will feature nine separate structures, among them a three-story hotel, a new town hall building, office and retail space, and a post office.

If passed, the rezoning will change the 15.33-acre property from residential to commercial in a Planned Area Development (PAD) zone. A PAD is an amendment to the zone regulations that allows for flexibility in the types of buildings that would be allowed on the property.

The development in the works for the property will feature nine separate structures, among them a three-story hotel, a new town hall building, office and retail space, and a post office.

The rezoning must be approved before construction on the project can begin.

Mayor Chuck Heron said the town is excited to get this development underway.

Star Valley's Planning and Zoning Commission met Tuesday with developers to discuss the updated version of the site plans and to ask questions of the development team consisting of architect Sal Ramel and developers Paul Thomas, Wes Lawrence and John Martin.

Gila County Planning and Zoning Manager Terry Smith gave a presentation about the project and explained to commission members the stipulations that would come with the zoning change.

The type of commercial zoning requested for the property, he said, "allows for a three-story hotel and gasoline service station.

PAD has the flexibility that would allow the commission and the council to expand uses. Each proposed use will still be regulated and evaluated by the town."

He suggested that the commission review the zoning request and approve it, if they agreed with the plans.

The commission followed his recommendation and unanimously approved the rezoning recommendation to the council.

Developers addressed some concerns that commission members had about the project.

Ramel assured commission members that the development will feature low-key lighting, much like the lighting that the City of Scottsdale employs.

He said that noise from the hotel will be kept at a minimum because the hotel's pool and balconies will be situated facing Highway 260.

The development will also include full-grown evergreen trees in its landscaping, to help mask the noise for nearby residents, he said.

Thomas said that developers will get approval from the fire department about the specifications of the buildings and the three-story hotel in particular.

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