Expanding Star Valley's Business Corridor Necessary, Says General Plan's Draft

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Star Valley will one day triple in size and continue commercial development along Highway 260 by adding a five-mile business corridor east of town, according to a draft of the general plan.

The corridor, along with additional business development in town is necessary to diversify the economy and continue growth, said Town Clerk Sarah Luckie.

"It expands our town and gives us a possible area to develop," Luckie said. "Right now there is not a lot of business along the highway."

Along with commercial growth, the town plans to set aside land behind the commercial corridor for homes on large lots. This area will help protect the rural and independent lifestyle the town is based upon.

"In keeping with this community's desire to maintain a rural atmosphere, the majority of the designated growth area has been set aside for rural residential development," the draft states.

Currently, the town covers 24 square miles, but the draft plans for the town to expand to 79 square miles. Consultant Peter Armenta, community development director for Central Arizona Association of Governments, said 79 square miles is just a planning number and "not nailed down."

"The area is where they would like to see growth occur, whether they annex it is another thing," Armenta said. "It is more for planning and they are not necessarily going to do it."

A general plan is a document that covers multiple areas of town development, such as land, environmental factors and water use for the next 20 years. It outlines town conditions, guiding principals and future use.

Star Valley's plan has been in the works for the last two years as a board of more than 10 community members worked to figure out the best way for the town to develop.

Approval of the general plan has been halted until an independent water survey is completed by LFR, Inc. The plan was originally scheduled for public review in early August, but has been pushed back possibly until December, pending the water survey, Armenta said.

Once CAAG receives the data, it could take a month to analyze it and finish the plan.

The general plan was pieced together based on the town's guiding principles, these include:

  • Retaining the small town atmosphere and feel
  • Accommodating a maximum of 4,000 residents
  • Concentrating on low-density residential
  • Developing commercial use along Highway 260
  • Minimizing industrial use on the highway

Armenta said the town councilors had a general idea of what they wanted included in the plan and what they did not.

The town does not want to see big box retailers move in and take over the landscape. Independently opened businesses are favored.

"They would rather see an Ace Hardware over a Home Depot type structure," Armenta said. A medical and office complex are also desired in that zone.

The corridor sits about four miles east of town and straddles both sides of the highway.

"These locations will be advantageous in capturing business from highway traffic and would offer convenient access and avoid increasing traffic in residential areas," the draft states.

The business corridor will be a major component in growth and in furthering the town's development. A commercial section generates sales tax revenue and provides additional jobs for the town, Armenta said.

"They would like to see more people stay here permanently," he said, creating a balance between second homeowners and permanent residents.

The town does not want to expand beyond 4,000 residents. Population projections by CAAG put the number of residents at 4,800 in 2025.

Armenta said that number came up in a public meeting from a resident who looked at similar towns and determined that was a desirable number for the amount of land and water available.

"That number (4,000) is what they would like to see," Armenta said. "They will have to look at the amount of available water" before they can say how many residents the town can support.

In phase three of the Roundup's coverage of Star Valley's general plan, we will look at circulation and community development.

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